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Model Behavior

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“We’re going to be late!”

Korra sat up in her bed. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and turned to look at her clock. She peered at it for a few seconds before registering the time. She airbent her sheets off of her and lunged off of the couch.

“We’re going to be late,” she shouted. Korra grabbed her bag by the end of the couch before rushing out of the living room towards the bathroom.

“I just said that,” Bolin yelled back. He hopped into the living room, trying to tie his left shoe while making his way over to his backpack sitting next to a table. “Mako is going to kill us.”

“I told you we shouldn’t have tried hard cactus lemonade last night,” she called from the bathroom. A few seconds later, she emerged, dressed in her water tribe clothing, and furiously brushing her teeth. “Man, I’m starving.”

“Mako probably picked us up some tea.” Bolin crammed all of his books and papers into his bag before rushing over to the apartment door. “You can leave your bag here. We won’t mind.”

“No can do,” Korra mumbled around her toothbrush. She side stepped back into the bathroom and spat out the toothpaste. “Staying with Tenzin and Pema tonight,” she explained while rushing out of the bathroom. Bolin handed Korra her backpack. She slipped it on over her shoulders before finger-combing her hair.

“You know,” Bolin said slowly, “the school offered you your own place to live since-”

“Since I’m the Avatar, I know.” She rolled her eyes. She placed a hand on Bolin’s shoulder. He instantly stopped gathering up his items and looked at her. “I don’t want everything in life to be given to me on a silver platter,” she admitted quietly. “It’s enough that the White Lotus Board is giving me a full scholarship to come here. I’ll find my own place in due time.”

Korra and Bolin jostled each other as they raced towards the front door. She flung it open and winced as it hit the opposite wall. She peeled the door back, kissed her finger tips, and then place it on the dented wall. The dent lined up with the doorknob and cracks stretched out from the center, indicating that this wasn’t the first time she had pulled the door open too hard.

“Do you have a job?” Bolin asked as he pulled out his keys and locked the door.

“Well, no.”

“Then how will you find your own place to stay?”

“I’ll think of something.” Korra pulled out her cell phone and sent Mako a quick text message. She powered down her phone so she wouldn’t receive, or read, one of his usual nagging responses about being late. “Now stop asking me these dumb questions because they’re going to make us more late.”

Bolin and Korra took the stairs of the apartment building two at a time. They sprinted through the parking lot and dodged all of the cars pulling out of the parking spaces. Once they reached the front of the building, they stopped upon watching the last bus, also known as the late bus, leave with a group of students to the Republic School. “I don’t think we’ll make it in time,” he panted.

“We could if we just had some transportation,” Korra said with a half smile. She raised her fingers to her lips and blew very hard. “Naga, come here girl.”

---

Mako drummed his fingers on his desk and shook his head. He reached out and pushed an art pencil a few inches to the left, lining it up along with two other pencils sitting on the tray of his easel. He blew away a small piece of lint from his drawing paper before smiling in content.

“Hello class,” Pema called out as she rushed into the room. Her hair was pulled back into a sleek bun, but a few strands stuck out in a few different directions. Light grey bags lined her bottom eye lids. She collapsed into her seat and blew her bangs out of her face. “Is everyone here?”

Movement out the window caught Mako’s eyes. He turned his head and watched as Korra and Bolin sprinted towards the building. He groaned and rolled his eyes. The school bell clanged, indicating the start of class. “Three…two…one…” he counted.

A loud knock came from the doorway. Mako frowned. They never knock first. He turned and noticed a beautiful woman enter the room. Her green eyes scanned the room before landing on him. They brightened a bit as she smiled before shifting her gaze over towards Pema. Her smile grew as she walked over and gave Pema a big hug.

“Class, this is our model for the year, Asami Sato,” Pema introduced as the pulled apart. “For this term, we will be focusing on the human form-”

“We’re here!” Korra shouted as she burst into the room. A few steps behind her was Bolin, who placed both of his hands on his knees and took in deep breaths. “Sorry for being late.”

“Again,” Pema said sternly. She sighed before pointing to the two empty seats left in the room, beside Mako. He shot them a disapproving look as they shuffled to their seats. “Like I was saying, we will be focusing on the human form and what better way to get inspired by using a live model.”

A quiet murmur rang throughout the room. Korra started to fiddle with her pencil. She pursed her top lip and rested the pencil on top of it, acting like it was her moustache. She turned towards Bolin and stoked her chin, taking on a pensive look.

Bolin laughed out loud as Korra punched him in the arm. She turned and smiled at Pema who was rolling her eyes. It was then she took notice of Asami.

Hmmm, she thought. Makeup, nice clothes, perfect hair, and everything looks to be in its right place. No stain or spot in sight. She must be a priss.

“Today, just start sketching,” Pema instructed. She reached down in her purse and pulled out a motherhood magazine. “It doesn’t have to look like Asami or anything. Just create what inspires you.”

Asami took a seat on the stool in the center of the room. She crossed one leg over the other, which caused her skirt to ride up just a bit. A few of the boys let out a soft whistled. Mako was too busy drawing to even take note. Asami shook her head at the noise before relaxing her body and staring straight ahead at the wall.

“Look at that,” Korra demanded in a hushed whispered. She had tucked her pencil behind her ear and was leaning back on her stool. Her arms were tightly crossed over her chest.

“Look at what?” Bolin asked. He held his chin in his left hand and was drawing with his right. Korra snickered when she noticed small doodles of Pabu, his pet fire ferret, and Opal Beifong. She was a freshman he had gotten to know over the summer since they attend the school’s summer camp led by her mother.

“Her. Asami,” she explained. “All of the guys are practically drooling over her.” She pointed to a few of the guys across the room. They were talking to each other, and those in Asami’s line of sight, winked at her. She ignored them. “What does she have that I don’t have?” Bolin scratched his head in thought. “If you value your life, you won’t answer that.”

“What’s the problem?”

“She could get a boyfriend in two seconds,” Korra huffed. She started to draw spirals on her canvas. “I have a lot of guy friends, but no one is interested in getting to know the real me.”

“Maybe they’re intimidated?” he suggested. “With you being the avatar and all?”

“And maybe, they’re just stupid,” she shot back.

“Won’t answer what question?” Mako asked out of the corner of his mouth. Korra rolled her eyes. Sometimes he could be so focused in something that he ends up very behind in their conversations.

“What Asami, the model, has that Korra doesn’t,” Bolin explained.

“Class.”

“Seriously?” Korra said. She picked up her pencil and drew a quick drawing of Mako on her canvas. She then drew a large black x on top of it.

“We’re in class, now,” Bolin said.

“No, he’s talking about manners and all that junk,” Korra answered with an eye roll. She heard a light snicker come from across the room. She leaned over to the side of her canvas and looked around. Asami rubbed her nose with the back of her hand before getting back into position.

“I rest my case,” Mako said with a smirk.

She punched him in the arm but started to chuckle nonetheless. “Thanks for your support,” she said sarcastically.

“Hey, you’re my best friend. I have to tell you the truth,” he laughed. He then started to focus again on his drawing. Throughout the class, Korra and Bolin drew sketches on their canvas and played a few games of tic-tac-toe and dots.

Asami Sato. What is so alluring about her? Okay, so she has indescribably green eyes, and silky long hair. I can do that. Maybe it’s the makeup? Nah. I have no idea how that stuff works.

Asami watched from the corner of the room. After about a half hour of sitting in one position, she stretched and moved into a new position that had her leaning forward on the stool, her legs crossed, elbow resting upright on her knee, and her chin sitting in her hand. From time to time Mako would look up from his canvas and over at Asami. She smiled whenever their eyes locked. He smiled back before focusing on his work once more. After a while, she found her gaze shifting over to the dark girl sitting next to Mako.

She seems like the life of the party, Asami thought as she watched her throw her head back and laugh. She would be a great sense of humor and light to my life. Asami quickly shifted her gaze when she noticed the girl looking at her. Get a grip, Sato. You aren’t essentially in their conversation. You almost blew it when you laughed at her joke. Asami looked at the girl out of her peripheral and noticed the girl sticking her pencil into the ponytail at the crown of her head before leaning over towards Mako’s canvas. Still, she seems like a great person to be around. She would be an amazing friend to have.

The hour was soon up and the bell rang. Pema jumped, startled by the sound. She lifted her head up from her desk and wiped the drool off of her chin.

“Okay, class is dimissed,” she called out. Asami hopped off of the stool, grabbed her purse, and walked over towards Pema’s desk before they started to chat quietly.

“Time for a post-breakfast pre-lunch snack,” Bolin as he rubbed his stomach.

“Sounds good to me,” Korra said while stretching. “All that tic-tac-toe playing took a lot out of me. I’m up for some noodles. How about you two? My treat.” She grabbed her pack from the floor before rushing over to the door.

“Hold up, you guys,” Mako called out as he cleaned up his area. Korra and Bolin groaned but waited by the door. He placed his canvas into his cubby before grabbing his backpack. Across the room, Asami said goodbye to Pema before heading towards the door. The tip of her shoe got caught underneath a stool. As she stripped, she dropped her bag, sending the contents everywhere.

Korra laughed heartily from the doorway. “Looks like she isn’t so perfect,” she said. Asami felt her cheeks redden a bit as she dropped to the floor to pick up her items. Mako rushed over and started to help her clean up. He paused when he noticed a Future Industries notepad resting halfway out of her bag. He slipped it back in before handing her a few of her last items.

“Thanks, I appreciate it,” Asami said while brushing off her knees. She slung her purse over her shoulder before flashing him a bright smile.

“No problem,” Mako said while taping her lightly in the arm.

“I’m Asami,” she said while holding out her hand.

“I know. Pema introduced you to us at the start of class,” he answered with a shrug. “I’m Mako.” He grabbed her hand and shook it firmly.

“So, what type of bender are you?” she asked.

“Fire.” Mako held up his hand. He snapped his fingers and a small flame ignited over his pointer finger. Asami’s eyes widened in fascination as she watched the element appear out of nowhere.

“That’s pretty neat. I’ve always been interested in bending,” she admitted. “It is great that the city created a place for you all to develop your abilities.”

“Oh, you don’t attend-”

“No. I’m a non-bender,” Asami said.

“No wonder I haven’t seen you around before.” Mako nodded in understanding.

“What year are you?”

“Oh, I’m a senior,” he answered. Korra cleared her throat loudly. Mako turned in her direction and noticed her holding up her cell phone and tapping the screen. “Hey, my friends and I are about to go for a snack. Would you like to join us?”

“At ten am?” Asami asked while looking at her watch. Mako noticed all of the diamonds around the ring of it. He quickly shifted his gaze as she looked back at him.

“Yeah, it’s kind of our thing,” he said. “I’ll introduce you.” Asami followed a few steps behind Mako as they walked up. Korra was looking intently at her phone. As they approached, she briefly looked up at the two of them before focusing on her phone once more.

“Guys, this is Asami,” Mako said.

“Yeah, the model,” Korra said roughly. She didn’t look up from her phone. Bolin brushed past her and quickly wrapped Asami in a hug. She laughed a bit before patting him lightly on the back.

“Nice to meet you,” he said while placing her back on the ground. “I’m Bolin,” he explained before turning to point at Korra, who was frowning at her phone, “and the one pouting over there is Korra.”

“I’m not pouting, I’m annoyed,” she insisted before slipping her phone into her pocket. “We won’t be getting much gym time today for practice.”

“Korra is a junior and Bolin is a sophomore,” Mako explained.

“Practice?” Asami repeated.

“We’re on the pro-bending team here.”

“I love pro-bending,” she exclaimed.

“You should come and watch us practice one day,” Bolin suggested.

“I’d love that.”

“Awesome, you can be our fan and wear all of our gear to help show people which team rules,” Bolin said while punching a fist in the air. “You could be our human mascot, since Pabu is already our mascot.”

“Our team is called the fire ferrets,” Mako explained when Asami gave him a confused look.

“So, how are you all friends?” she asked.

“Bolin is my brother, and Korra and I met during the freshmen-sophomore mixer back when she first came to Republic City.”

“I know you,” Asami said while pointing over at Korra. “You’re the avatar.” She held her hand out. Korra looked at it and then back up at her before raising an eyebrow. Asami slowly dropped her hand as Mako glared at Korra.

“Aren’t we getting something to eat?” Korra asked.

“Let’s go. We can show Asami around.” Bolin draped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close.

“We don’t need a tag along,” she insisted.

“You go ahead,” Asami said quietly. “I need to make a quick phone call anyway.”

“We’ll meet you downstairs,” Mako said. Asami nodded before giving a small wave. She dug her cell phone out of her purse. She pressed a button, held her phone up to her ear, and then turned away as it started to ring.

Bolin and Korra raced each other down the stairs towards the lobby of the art building. They were chatting animatedly about their last pro-bending match as Mako followed slowly behind them.

“What was that all about?” Mako demanded.

“We don’t need a tag-along or a Mako groupie,” Korra instantly shot back. “You sure do move quickly.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I don’t know, why don’t you ask your new girlfriend?” Korra demanded. Mako looked at her in confusion. She rolled her eyes and huffed. “Asami. Little miss perfect.”

“She’s not my girlfriend,” Mako said with a groan. “Why do you hate all of my new friends?”

“Not all of your friends,” she denied.

“Just the girls,” Bolin piped up. Korra and Mako glared at him. He quickly ducked his head before taking a few steps away.

"You always act so jealous,” Mako continued. “We just met. She’s nice. We’re not dating. I just think we’d be good friends,” he explained.

“I am not jealous,” she snapped. After a second she relaxed and rubbed her arm. She looked down at the ground shyly. “You’re an amazing friend, my best friend.”

“What about me?” Bolin asked quietly.

“You’re my sparring buddy,” Korra answered while punching him playfully on the arm.

“Works for me,” he answered happily. She ruffled his hair and gave him a side hug. Mako squirmed uncomfortably as she and Bolin looked up at him with slight puppy dog eyes. He felt his anger and annoyance instantly fade.

“You’ve always been there for me. I just don’t want you to suddenly disappear,” she admitted.

“I’m sorry; I wasn’t eavesdropping. You were just kind of…loud,” Asami said as she descended the stairs. “Plus the acoustics causes voices to carry. It is all in the structure of the stairwell with the roof being a dome.” She reached the bottom stair and leaned against the railing. “I’m not interested in Mako.”

“You’re not?” Korra and Bolin asked.

“Why not?” Mako demanded.

Korra slapped him on the arm.

“I’m too busy with a lot of things going on right now. I wouldn’t have enough time to pay attention to someone that important,” Asami answered. She cleared her throat as she slipped a Future Industries notepad into her purse. “It does get lonely, though. I’m kind of new to the area. I just want to make some friends.” She looked at the three benders. “I want all of you to be my friends,” she said more to Korra.

Korra raised an eyebrow. “How can we be so sure that you can keep up with us?” she asked. Although her words had an edge, there was a look of playfulness in her blue eyes.

“How hard can it be?” Asami shrugged.

“That sounds like a challenge,” she responded. She and Bolin shared a smile. “Follow me,” she instructed.

“Does she always move this quickly??” Asami asked in a hushed tone as she followed. She had to widen her stride a bit as Korra lead the group out of the art building and onto the grounds.

“I’ve never really seen her walk anywhere,” Mako answered.

“Patience isn’t her forte,” Bolin added.

The small group walked right up to a food cart. Korra mumbled something to the chef before handing him a few yuans. She bounced on the balls of her feet and rubbed her hands together. Asami tightened her grip on her purse as she felt a wave of uneasiness and a little bit of fear wash over her as a putrid smell entered her nose.

“For your initiation, Ms. Sato, you must eat the Southern Water Tribe delicacy,” Korra announced as she turned around, “pickled sea urchin noodles.” In her hands was a small white bowl filled to the brim with dark brown noodles. Little black dots were sprinkled in the noodles and a light red sauce was slathered on top. “You don’t have to eat all of it. Just keep it down for thirty seconds.”

Asami tried to smile as she received the bowl and a pair of chopsticks. Mako looked frightened, Bolin frowned as he pinched his nose and Korra, well, she just looked smug. She had her arms crossed over her chest and all of her weight shifted to one foot so that her hip popped out.

She and Asami locked eyes. She wants me to fail, Asami thought while looking down at the bowl. Her hands shook as she picked up a few of the noodles with her chopsticks. I won’t give her the satisfaction.

Korra’s eyes widened in shock as Asami opened her mouthed and slurped a large helping of the noodles. She chewed a few times before slowly swallowing. Korra’s look of astonishment quickly merged back into a smirk as she lifted her phone and set a timer for thirty seconds.

This is so disgusting. But it is a delicacy, I’m assuming from where she’s from, so it would be rude to spit it out. Calm down, Sato. Don’t think of the taste. Just force yourself to keep it down. Relax your stomach muscles. Breathe slowly through the nose. Try not to swallow so you don’t get the after taste. Just relax. Oh, my stomach isn’t listening. Okay, what relaxes me: the sound of a formula one racer charging down the track, the smell of motor, tinkering with a carburetor, and drawing up sketches for new inventions.

Asami’s thoughts were interrupted as a loud beeping was emitted from Korra’s phone.

“Dang,” Bolin muttered.

“That’s impressive,” Mako admitted.

“Okay, she can hang,” Korra said quickly while taking the bowl and chopsticks out of Asami’s hands. She then handed the raven haired woman a napkin.

“That’s it?” Asami asked before wiping her face.

“Yeah,” Korra said slowly. “To be honest, I didn’t think you’d actually do it,” she admitted sheepishly. “These two never had the guts to try when I would explain the dish.”

Excuse me? I ate this vile food to be polite and try to make friends and it was all a lie? What kind of a friendship is that? “You two never had to do this?” she asked slowly.

“Nope.” Korra threw an arm around her shoulders. “They were too chicken, but you have guts. Welcome to the group.”

It’s a friendship I want.

Chapter Text

“So, how did you become a model?” Korra asked around a mouthful of sandwich. She was seated at her usual table in the Four Elements, Republic’s school cafeteria aptly named after the famous restaurant in all Four Nations. She lifted her empty bottle of soda in the air. Across the room at the ice cream counter, Bolin caught the movement and nodded.

Korra, Mako, and Bolin were eating a late dinner after their pro-bending practice. Mako, who was able to receive Asami’s phone number (much to Korra’s annoyance), had kept in communication with her throughout the day while they were in their classes. He found out whenever she would model for the art classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, she would be on campus for a majority of the day up until around dinner time. So, he invited her to join them which she greatly accepted.

“I’m not a model,” Asami dismissed. She smiled up at Bolin as he took his seat. Korra smile-thanked him as he placed her soda on the table in front of her. “Well, not in the actual sense. I just do this to pass the time when I’m not working. It pays well but I’m not in it for the money.”

“Where do you work?” Mako questioned. He folded up a napkin and placed it onto his empty tray. He leaned back in his seat and crossed a leg over the other.

“Oh, in the city,” she said with a shrug. “Nothing too fancy. That job, though, helps pay for my apartment. I really like it.”

“How old are you?” Bolin asked around a mouthful of ice cream. Asami handed him a napkin. She wrenched her arm back in shock when she noticed a black nose pop up from under the table. A small pink tongue stretched out and licked the ice cream off of his chin. “Knock it off, Pabu. We don’t want you to get caught,” he muttered.

“Eighteen,” Asami answered, shaking her head at how foolish she acted.

“Where do you go to school?” Mako wondered.

“Republic Institute of Technology Academy for Girls,” she listed off. Korra scoffed. Asami looked over at her with a raised eyebrow. The Avatar ignored her gaze while taking another big bite out of her sandwich. She quickly chased it down with her soda. “We call it RITA for short.”

“Wow, you must be very smart,” Bolin complimented her.

Asami shrugged and waved away the notion. “I just enjoy science. Always have. My dad kind of got me into it.”

“Are you related to Hiroshi Sato, by any chance?”

She felt the corner of her eye twitch. Shoot! How could I have been so careless? She cleared her throat twice before offering up a small smile. “No, it is a very common last name.”

“Are you sure?” Korra interjected. Asami turned to look at her. The Avatar was staring hard at her, her blue eyes squinted. “I mean your dad is a well-known engineer and you are going to a school for science and technology. Seems a little fishy to me.”

“Well, no one asked you,” she shot back. Bolin swallowed a large mouthful of ice cream in one gulp. Mako, who was moving a glass of juice to his lips looked at her in surprise. He inadvertently started to pour the drink into his lap and on the chair than into his mouth. He jumped before starting to clean up the mess.

Korra, on the other hand, didn’t even flinch. She dropped her sandwich onto her plate and peered closely at Asami. She gave her a once over, starting from her roots down to the points of her shoes. Asami didn’t shift or waver under gaze. In fact, she glanced back with confidence.

“You know, you look familiar,” Korra finally said after the moment of silence.

“I have one of those faces,” Asami muttered. Korra narrowed her eyes even more. A second later, recognition lit up in her eyes. Before Asami could say or do anything, Bolin interrupted their stare down with a loud yell. Mako laughed heartily as he watched his brother grab his head with both hands and whimper about brain freeze.

Asami broke her gaze and started to laugh herself. Korra slumped back in her seat and tapped her chin.

---

The next day, Korra had the morning free of class. After waking up in Tenzin’s and Pema’s house, thanks to three rambunctious children jumping on top of her, she changed into a tight fitting tank top and some long sweat pants. She grabbed her mp3 player and slipped on some tennis shoes before rushing out of the house.

Playing her music on loudly, she place her ear buds into her ear and started her run. Moving swiftly and like the wind, she avoided dog walkers, mothers running with strollers, and the usual “I want to keep my summer weight” crowd. Korra ran all the way to Avatar Park and only stopped as she neared LookOut Point.

The LookOut Point was split from Avatar Park by a roadway stretching through it, but it was stil considered part of the park nonetheless. LookOut Point was a place in Avatar Park that overlooked the bay, Avatar Aang’s giant stature, and Air Temple Island. During most of the school year, Tenzin and Pema along with their children resided in faculty housing set up by Republic School for the Gifted to stay close to their work. During the other parts of the year, like summer vacation, they would go back to Air Temple Island and reside there.

After slowing down her breathing, Korra started to practice her bending. She let out loud grunts and yells as she moved through all of her formations. Gradually, she worked up a sweat, which she also used for practice. She shot the stream of sweat over at various onlookers who shot her glares and disgusted looks the louder and noisier she got.

Asami jogged into Avatar Park. She didn’t follow the lined path that runner’s usually took, but cut through exactly through the center at a diagonal. She liked to change up her routine with different terrains and scenery. As she ran around a giant tree, she spotted Korra in the distance. She slowed her pace a bit as she watched her shoot air at the bay and caused a wave of water to rush up and crash against the fencing of LookOut Point.

“Korra,” Asami called out. When she noticed the Avatar hadn’t stopped her practice, she crossed the park with large steps. She reached out and tapped Korra on her muscular arm. The next second, she felt a tight grip on her wrist and her body weight shift as Korra grabbed a hold of her and threw her over her shoulder towards the ground.

Asami planted her feet on the ground, her back bending low as Korra continued to grip her wrist. She twisted around and then swung her leg out, hitting the Avatar on her ankles and swiping her feet out from underneath her.

Korra quickly jumped back up to her feet. She brushed off her clothes before glaring at Asami. The glare quickly faded when she noticed the raven haired girl was wearing a black sports bra with matching black shorts. Her hair was pulled back in a low ponytail and her skin glistened with sweat.

“Looks like we had the same idea this morning,” Asami said as she straightened up. “Morning workouts help clear my head and get me ready for the day.”

“Whatever,” Korra muttered. She ran a hand through her hair and shifted her gaze. After a moment of silence, Korra surprisingly found herself asking, “Where’d you learn how to do that?”

“Oh, I’ve taken self defense courses since I was six,” she admitted. “It was my dad’s idea.”

Korra nodded once. She gazed at Asami one more time before pivoting on her heel. “I have to go.” She was about to resume a jog, but stopped once Asami grabbed her by the elbow and held her back. “What are you-” she quickly stopped as a satomobile roared by. She felt her adrenaline began to pump rapidly. “That was close.”

“Satomobile X92,” Asami muttered as she watched the car race by. “Great acceleration and gas mileage, but terrible handling.”

“How do you know that?” she asked.

“I designed it.” Korra turned and noticed that Asami had bit her lip, hard. The raven haired girl slowly shook her head and let out a slow breath.

“You designed that?” the Avatar asked. She looked back at the car before it disappeared around a corner. “That?”

“Well, I helped,” she answered slowly. Asami shrugged before running a hand through her hair. “I just entered a contest. I didn’t think I would win. It was just something I came up with when working on my car.”

“You fix cars?”Korra’s eyes widened in surprise.

Asami placed her hands into the pockets of the back of her shorts. She slowly twisted from side to side as she smiled shyly. “And I race some new models from time to time.” She winced. “At my school,” she quickly added.

“You race cars?” Korra asked. “What else is there to you?”

“My friends know a lot about me,” Asami said cooly. “Mako and Bolin sure seemed interested.”

“When did they ask?” she demanded. “I was with you guys at dinner yesterday.”

“We got into the topic when we hung out last night.” Asami glanced at Korra with a raised eyebrow. “We missed you at the bowling arena.” She crossed her arms over her chest.

“You went bowling without me?”

“We invited you.” Asami crossed her arms and cocked her head to the side. Korra turned away and began stretching from side to side. “Come to think of it, I asked for your number from Bolin and I texted you numerous times. Let me guess, you either didn’t recognize the number or your phone was off,” she said coyly.

“I don’t keep my phone on when I’m sleeping.”

“Do you always go to sleep around eight o’clock?” Asami asked. “What are you, six?”

“Are you implying something?” Korra demanded.

“Yes, you’re avoiding me,” she said bluntly. “I know it may be strange for you to have another girl in the group. You must be used to acting like a guy all the time and being tough, but every girl needs a girl friend to talk to.” She placed a hand on Korra’s shoulder and gave it a soft squeeze. “Guys don’t understand a lot of the things that goes on in girl world.”

Korra slowly relaxed underneath Asami’s gaze. She straightened back up and sighed hard, casing Asami’s hair to move a bit in the wind. “You’re right. Mako is my best friend but I’ve haven’t been able to tell him about-” She instantly stopped talking and bit the inside of her cheek.

“About who?” Asami asked gently.

“It’s a what, actually,” Korra admitted quietly. She looked down at her feet and Asami noticed her light blue eyes turning a slight shade darker.

“What’s wrong?” Asami asked with concern. Korra bit her bottom lip before lifting her head and staring at her. “I won’t say anything to anyone else. Real friends don’t do that sort of thing.” Korra regarded her. “I like you, Korra. When I watched you in class the other day you made everything feel okay.”

“What are you talking about?” Korra asked. Asami dropped her hand from her shoulder before taking a small step back.

“I don’t know if I should tell you,” she said teasingly. “I only trust those closest to me with that information.”

“Well, maybe we could start off slow?” Korra asked. Asami felt herself smile widely as the words sunk in. “I guess it won’t hurt me. Let’s grab a tea sometime. That is what girl friends do, right?” Asami couldn’t help but chuckle at the face Korra made when she used the term “girl friend”. It was clear she was not used to the term or the idea of having one.

“That depends, are you actually going to try and be my friend this time?” Asami asked. She held up her hand and pulled all of her fingers to her palm except for her pinkie. “For real?”

“Friends don’t have to try. I either like your or I don’t,” Korra said. Asami nodded once before slowly dropping her hand. “You’re lucky enough to be on my good side for right now. I’ve never seen anyone tackle those pickled sea urchin noodles just to show me up.” Asami widened her eyes in shock. “Yea, I notice you were trying to impress me. Not a bad way to get my attention.”

“So…”Asami lifted her hand again, her pinkie standing straight up in the air.

“I’m not shaking pinkies,” Korra said with a sneer. She raised an eyebrow before spitting on her hand. She then held it out in front of her, a few drips slid off of her hand onto the ground.

“Fine.” Asami shrugged. She then licked her right hand and then placed it into Korra’s before squeezing it tightly. They pumped their hands up and down once. Asami started to pull her hand away but Korra tightened her grip. “What?”

“Did you actually like the noodles I made you eat the other day?” she asked.

“Not at all,” Asami deadpanned. “They tasted horrible.”

Korra threw her head back and laughed. Asami felt warmth spread over her body as she heard the familiar laugh that caught her attention the other day. “Okay, since you’re honest, I’ll give this a shot. Whatever this is.”

“It’s a start of a fantastic friendship,” Asami insisted.

“Whatever you say.”

Asami was so happy that she couldn’t help but blurt out, “Why don’t we celebrate by going out for dinner?”

“A little eager aren’t we?” Korra asked before chuckling. “Anyway, I can’t. I promised to watch Tenzin’s and Pema’s children tonight.”

“The head of Republic? How do you know him?”

“He’s looked out for me since I was a kid in the Southern Water Tribe.” Korra smile softly at the memory. Asami could tell that she thought fondly of Tenzin and his family. “Originally it was because I’m the Avatar but I think he grew to care.” Korra shook her head as if she were trying to get rid of gnat-flies from hovering near her face. “Anyway, his kids are pretty sweet. You should know, you seemed chummy with Pema the other day.”

“She knows my dad,” Asami said. She quickly looked away as Korra raised an eyebrow.

“Who’s your dad?” she asked lightly.

“No one important.” A loud clock chime rang over the city. Asami looked down at her watch and cursed softly as she noticed the time. “I have to finish my jog and then head off to work. I’ll catch you later in class tomorrow?” she asked before jogging a small circle around Korra and heading off in the direction she came from.

“See ya,” Korra called out. She then noticed Opal Beifong walking in her direction, a book grasped tightly in her hands. “Hey Opal!”

Opal paused. She looked up from her book to see who was calling out to her. She gave a big wave before rushing up to the Avatar. “Hey Korra, what’s up?”

“Do you still read those fashion magazines?” Korra asked nonchalantly.

“Yeah, all the time.”

“Great, bring one to school tomorrow for me.”

Opal let out a squeal of excitement. She dropped her book and grabbed Korra on her upper arms. “Are you finally getting interested in all things girl?” she asked. “I could really use a shopping buddy.”

“No,” Korra quickly denied. “I just need to check something.”

“What’s in it for me?” Opal placed her hands on her hips. “Every time you ask me for a favor, I deliver, but when I ask you, you don’t fulfill it until months later.”

“You bring me the magazine and I will give you any three Bolin related facts you want,” Korra smiled knowingly. Opal felt her cheeks flush as she thought over the suggestion. “Plus, you can sit next to him at lunch tomorrow.”

“Deal!”

Chapter Text

Wednesday morning, Korra quickly got dressed and left Opal’s dorm room with her overnight bag and school books. She reminded the young girl that she was to sit with her friends at lunch, before hurrying off.

Naga, who was kept in the school dorms’ storage shed, let out a soft whine as Korra opened the door. She scrambled to her feet and rush over to her own before giving her a big lick on the cheek.

“Morning, girl. How did you sleep?” Korra asked while handing her polar bear dog a treat. Naga whined once more before devouring her food. “I know. You’re getting tired of being cooped up everywhere. They don’t allow pets in the dorms or off-campus apartments and housing and you’re kind of hard to hide.” Naga nuzzled Korra’s neck. “Don’t worry. I’ll find us a place big enough where you can run around freely. I promise.” Korra then climbed up onto Naga’s back.

Naga walked out of the storage shed and turned around so that Korra could close and lock the door. “Now, let’s go to school.” She dug her knees into the polar-bear dog’s sides and grabbed onto her collar before bracing herself.

Korra felt her eyes beginning to tear up as she felt the wind whipping at her face as they raced down the street. She waved cheerfully to everyone she passed as they made their way towards the school. Naga slipped down an alleyway between a bakery café and a bookstore. Korra leaned over a little bit in the saddle and swiped a croissant off of a tray from the open window.

“Whoa, girl!” Korra called out and pulled on the reigns as Naga emerged from the other side of the alleyway. Naga slid across the ground before coming to a stop in front of a parked red and black car. “Nice reflexes. We almost ran into it.”

“It wouldn’t have been too much of an issue if you did,” Asami said as she walked up. She was twirling a key ring on her finger while carrying a coffee cup in the other hand. Korra noticed her clothes matching the car. Her black hair was pulled back with a pair of red sunglasses. She was wearing a red leather jacket, black top, black pants, and black shoes. “It’s a rental as mine’s in the shop.”

“Pretty nice, but it can’t beat Naga.” Korra affectionately rubbed the top of Naga’s head. “Isn’t that right girl?”

“A polar-bear dog?” Asami looked at her with fascination. “I hear they’re hard to train.”

“They are. She is the only tamed one.” Naga turned her head and sniffed at Asami. She then started to walk over. “No, Naga. Leave her alone.”

“Oh, it’s fine.” Asami reached her hand out, the back of her hand facing up. Naga pressed her cold nose to it and sniffed before barking happily. “She’s very sweet.” Asami scratched Naga behind her ears. “Heading to school?” she asked.

“Yep.” Korra nodded. She then smiled slyly. “Want to race?”

“You’re on,” Asami said with confidence.

“Go!” Korra dug her knees into Naga’s side. She gripped the reigns tightly and held on tight as she felt her body being pulled back from the force of Naga pulling forward. Korra looked over her shoulder and smirked as Asami slowly climbed into her car.

A few seconds later she heard the loud sound of an engine roaring. Korra looked to her left and felt her eyes widen in shock, in spite of the air biting at her face, when she noticed Asami on the road next to her. She was moving the gear shift and pressing the pedals with ease. Her movement was so simple and fluid that it was as if she didn’t think she was in a race but enjoying a simple drive.

Asami looked over to her right and sent Korra a wink. Korra clenched her jaw and urged Naga to run faster. The roar of the satomobile’s engine alerted Korra that Asami was still in close distance. As the school came into view, Korra had Naga run even faster. She pulled hard on the reins as Naga stepped onto campus.

Asami drove up into the adjacent parking lot. She swung the steering wheel around and caused her car to turn and skid straight into a parallel guest parking space. She cut the engine and stepped out of the car. After fluffing up her hair, she walked around and swiped her newly acquired guest pass across a grey box on the meter. “How did you do that?” Korra asked as she slid off of Naga’s back. “No one has ever come close to beating Naga.”

“I just know cars,” Asami said with a shrug. She slipped her car keys into her pocket as she followed Korra to the stables on campus .Korra handed Naga’s reigns to a stable hand before burying her face in Naga’s neck.

“Have fun with the horse-mules, Naga.” Korra hugged her tightly. “I’ll get you later.” Naga licked her on the cheek before bumping her with her nose.

“How did you get Naga?” Asami asked.

“That’s a long story,” Korra answered. She stretched her arms above her head before placing her hands behind her neck.

“Is it long enough for us to walk to the art room?” she wondered as they started towards the art building. Korra had to walk a bit faster than normal to keep up with Asami’s wide steps

“Longer actually.”

“This is nice,” Asami said before taking a sip of her coffee. She then tossed it over her shoulder and it landed neatly into a trash can. “Us just talking. You finally giving me a chance.”

“I don’t know about finally,” Korra snickered. “It was only two days. I’ve iced out a few people before for much longer.”

“Figuratively or literally?”

“Both.” Asami burst out laughing. “I don’t know. There’s just something about you.”

“My charm?” Asami lifted her sunglasses off of her head and placed one of the arms into the corner of her lips before smiling big and winking.

“No, your annoying persistence,” Korra said with an eyeroll. Asami laughed once more before putting her sunglasses back on her head. “I didn’t know if I would be able to handle it for that long.”

“Well, I’m used to getting what I want,” Asami said coyly.

“Korra,” Opal said while running up to them. “I brought it.” She reached into her backpack and pulled out a pink magazine.

“Oh, thanks.” Korra snatched it out of her hands and quickly flipped it open.

Asami bent down and looked at the cover. “Are you interested in fashion?” she asked with an amused tone.

“Nope. You are.” Korra flipped open to a page before holding it up into Asami’s face. Asami’s cheeks started to turn a bright red as she stared at herself in the magazine. She was seated on the hood of a satomobile, her legs crossed indiant style, and her elbows resting on her knees. She was wearing a red fedora that covered her right eye at an angle. “Is there anything else you’re hiding, Asami Sato?”

“I told you, modeling is a hobby.” Asami grabbed the magazine from Korra’s hands before giving it back to Opal. “This kind of stuff I only did a few times.” She then cocked her head to the side. “How did you know I was in this spread?”

“I may have picked it up when I was at the vet with Naga for her checkup a few months ago,” Korra said rubbing the back of her neck. “I can only take so much of medical magazines.”

“Sato?” Opal repeated. “Are you related to-“

“No, I’m not,” Asami quickly denied.

“It would be a shame if someone were to deal with the backlash from what he did,” she continued.

“Yeah, it’d be a shame.” Asami said while shifting her gaze to the ground.

“So, I think you owe me for lying,” Korra said. Asami looked over at the Avatar with a raised eyebrow. “I mean, friends shouldn’t lie to each other.”

She called me her friend! Asami thought happily. “Name it. Whatever you want,” she said with a big smile.

“Those will be your last words,” Opal joked.

---

“Asami texted me this morning while we were in science about you two planning to hang out soon,” Mako said as he placed his tray down before taking a seat. Asami claimed the chair next to him and started to pick at her food.

“She’s not so bad,” Korra said with a shrug. She polished off a bowl of ice cream before setting it on her tray. She then picked up a small contrainer of grapes and started to chow down. Asami rolled her eyes but smiled anyway.

“Hey, so the gym is being used today, but every team in the upcoming tournament is to meet in Earth Hall tonight,” Bolin said while taking his seat. “I just passed Tahno outside of the cafeteria telling his teammates.”

“Earth Hall?” Asami repeated.

“People are assigned to their dorms based on the bending they can do,” Mako explained. “There’s Earth Hall, Air Hall, Water Hall, and Fire Hall. Then there are the apartments. Co-ed and co-bending floors but people usually end up becoming friends with their own type so they usually room together.”

“Didn’t you stay with Tenzin and his family?” Asami asked. “Mako also told me you stayed with him and Bolin the other day. Do you not have a place to stay?”

“Shhhh,” Mako and Bolin hissed as Korra slapped a hand over Asami’s mouth. The three of them quickly looked over their shoulders to make sure none of the faculty members heard them. Korra slowly pulled her hand away and started laughing when she noticed Asami’s red lipstick smudged off of the right corner of her lips.

“The school offered Korra a place to stay along with her full-ride but she declined,” Mako explained quietly. “She’s convinced everyone that she has her own place in the city that she’s paying for.”

“So you couch surf?” Asami asked.

“Until I find my own place,” Korra clarified. She stacked up her empty plates on her tray before leaning back in her seat. She pulled one leg up and wrapped her arms around it. “I mainly stay with Mako and Bolin or Opal in Air Hall. That’s why Naga is either in the stables, or in the backyards of the dorms and apartments. She just can’t be inside because animals aren’t allowed inside.” She gave Bolin a pointed look. He missed it since he was leaning underneath the table feeding Pabu a bit of his food. “No one has a problem with her being outside, but, she can’t be outside all the time; especially since it’s not cold enough yet for her to sleep comfortably. If anyone finds out that I’m breaking the rule, I’ll be kicked out.”

“And let us not forget we could be in trouble too,” Mako pointed out.

“Mako follows all of the rules,” Korra said with an eye roll. “He wants to become a police officer.”

“But, do you really need to go to school?” Asami asked.

“My parents say I need an education to fall back on.” Korra looked across the cafeteria and spotted Opal in the line, picking out her food. She was talking to a few of her classmates. “Opal, pop a squat,” Korra called across the room. Opal said something to her friends before giving a small wave. She paid for her food before making her way across the cafeteria to Korra’s table. She dropped her tray and slid into the last empty seat.

“Hey guys,” she said happily. Opal cleared her throat before turning towards Bolin. “How are you doing, Bolin?”

Bolin, who was shoveling fried rice into his mouth, paused. He swallowed his food before turning towards her. “Oh, I’m doing fine,” he said slowly. “How about you?” his voice cracked a bit.

“Never better.” Opal smiled. She picked up her fork and started to pick at her macaroni. “My mom asks about you a lot. She says you were one of her favorite campers.”

“Does your mom work here?” Asami asked before taking a bite of her sandwich.

“My mom and my aunt.” Opal nodded. “My mom is a philosophy teacher and my aunt is the gym teacher.”

“So, now that we’re all becoming so close, let’s compare schedules,” Bolin said excitedly. Mako, Bolin, Korra, and Asami all reached into their pockets and pulled out

“Okay so we have classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but pro-bending and clubs and other stuff at night,” Korra said around a mouthful of noodles. “Plus, I have my meetings and meditation with Tenzin.”

“Right and I have class on Tuesdays and Thursdays along with modeling for your art classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and work,” Asami listed off.

“So, it’s looking like the weekends are the best times to hang out,” Mako concluded.

“Or we could grab some breakfast before classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,” Bolin suggested.

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Asami said happily. “I still want to see you all pro-bending.”

“We have a tournament coming up so we’ll get you some tickets,” Mako offered.

“How about I take you all out next weekend? I know a great nightclub.”

“Oh, I want to go.” Opal’s eyes shined in excitement. She turned to Korra and tugged on her arm. “Please let me go with you guys.”

“You’re not old enough,” Korra said gently.

“Neither is Bolin,” Opal shot back. “And neither are you, now that I think about it.”

“I’m the Avatar, they just have to deal with it.” Korra then smiled at the younger girl. “Why don’t you two do something together and we can meet back at our place afterwards for a post-party party?” she suggested.

Opal immediately blushed. “Sounds great,” she said quietly. Bolin rubbed the back of his neck and started to turn red as well.

“Me too,” Bolin quickly answered. He slapped himself on the forehead as Opal giggled into her hand. Mako snorted as Korra playfully rolled her eyes. Asami smiled as she looked around the table at her new group.

I’m friends with these people. I actually have friends. There are actually people who like to be with me.

“Don’t you need to answer that?” Korra asked while pointing at Asami’s pocket.

Asami blinked and listened for a second. It was then she heard her phone was ringing. She dug into her pocket and pulled out her cell phone. She glanced at the caller i.d. – “Dad”.

“No. Not right now,” Asami said while hitting the END button.

Chapter Text

"Hey Sato!"

Asami mumbled to herself. She slowly closed the book she was reading and placed it onto her desk. She rubbed her temples before looking up at the girl standing in front of her. "How may I help you, Rika?"

"What did you get on the chemistry test?" she asked. Rika looked over her shoulder and gave a small jerk of her head. Two other girls quickly rushed up to her side. One had her hair up in pigtails and the other had her hair pulled back into a simple bun. The smirked down at Asami. Rika's eyes quickly shot over to the paper that Asami was slowly pulling towards her. She grabbed it and ripped it out of her hands. "Of course, you got a perfect score. Again! You just keep ruining the curve for the rest of us, don't you?"

"Oh, I'm sure Asami had a hard time too," the girl with pigtails said. "I saw her finishing at the last minute."

"But Manami," the girl with the bun said louder than she needed to. Asami folded her hands in her lap and lowered her head a bit. "We don't have a rich father to buy us our grades."

"He doesn't buy my grades," Asami insisted.

"You're right, Kiyoko," Rika smirked. "You're father spends all of his time sitting in jail to help." She crumbled up the test paper before throwing it at Asami. It bounced off of her forehead and rolled to the floor. The three girls laughed hysterically. "Why are you even in school? Are you too bored with your running your super fancy company?" Asami packed up her bags and started to get up out of her seat. Her cell phone rang, indicating that she had a new text.

"Excuse me," Asami said while picking up her phone.

"Who would be texting you? You don't have any friends." Kiyoko sneered. She reached out to try and grab the cell phone. Asami pulled her hand back while slowly moving the book off of her desk. It dropped and landed square on Kiyoko's foot. She screeched in pain as Asami powered on her phone. She quickly put in her PIN and then opened her messages.

She had one message from Mako, two from Bolin, and then one from Korra. Asami couldn't help but smile as she read them.

Mako: -10:16 AM- Are you free tonight? We have practice if you want to watch. 7pm in the gym.

Bolin: -10:20 AM- Mako said you're coming to see us practice tonight. Can't wait. Idea: You and Pabu can make posters for us to spread the word about our tournament.

Bolin: -10:22 AM- Better idea. I will make you matching shirts. Walking billboards.

UNKNOWN: -10:30 AM- Its Korra. I need help with science and you want to hang. Let's trade. Coffee after practice, tonight?

"What are you smiling at?" Rika demanded. She snatched Asami's phone from her hand and quickly scrolled through the messages. Her jaw dropped in shock after a few seconds. Manami and Kiyoko crowded around and read the messages over her shoulder. "You know Mako of the Fire Ferrets at Republic?"

"You know the Avatar?" Manami demanded.

"Yes, she's my friend. They're my friends."

"Since when?"

"Will you introduce me?" Kiyoko questioned. Rika slapped her on the arm. She frowned before looking away from her harsh glare.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Asami asked coyly. She snatched her phone back and saved Korra's name to her contacts. She then dialed the number and held the phone up to her ear. She picked her book up off of the floor and placed it into her bag before slipping it over her shoulder. "Hey Korra, are you busy?"

"Not really," Korra answered. Her voice was labored. "I'm just taking Naga for a walk. Well, it's more like she's taking me for a walk."

"Would you like to go for a coffee right now?" Asami asked. She looked over at Rika and gave her a wink. Rika frowned and crossed her arms over her chest. "You can tell me about what you need help in."

"Don't you have class?" Korra wondered. Rika must have heard because her frown instantly turned into a sneer.

"Professor Utada won't let you leave," she taunted. Her smile widened as the teacher walked into the room. Asami placed her phone, speaker down, into her shoulder. The teacher placed her briefcase on her desk and faced the class.

"Hello, I see you all received your papers," she called out. "We will get started in just a second. Anyone who got a 90 or higher on the test is allowed to leave as we will be using this period as review."

Asami couldn't help but snicker. "My schedule just cleared up a bit." She placed her phone back on her ear before pushing her chair in. "Let's meet at Avatar Park."

"I'm already here. Forget the coffee. Let's just stay in the park." Korra's breathing slowed to a normal pace. Asami smiled when she heard Naga in the background. "I'll wait for you. Are you driving?"

"No, I'll walk." Asami gave Rika a quick wave, who in turn rolled her eyes and put up the finger. The engineer quirked an eyebrow and chuckled before exiting the room.

"Bummer, I was hoping for another race."

"I will beat you next time," she insisted.

"Keep dreaming."

Asami relaxed the minute she stepped out of her school. She had a little spring in her step as she made her way over to Avatar Park. She spotted Korra across the way, playing with Naga. Asami smiled as she watched the Avatar wrestle around with her polar-bear dog, trying to pull a tennis ball out of her mouth. The engineer flipped her hair over her shoulder before speeding up her pace.

"Looks like you made it okay," Korra called out. She threw a tennis ball as hard as she could across the park. Naga's tailed wagged happily as she watched it before running after the object. "What are you wearing?" she questioned as Asami drew closer.

"My school has a uniform," Asami said while looking down at her clothes. She was wearing a black blazer over top a white shirt with a black vest, along with a blue plaid skirt, and brown shoes.

"I don't think I'd be able to handle that," Korra commented. "I can barely handle it when Tenzin makes me wear traditional air nation robes when I study with him." A few seconds later Naga ran back over and dropped the ball into Korra's hand. "You want to throw? It looks like she already likes you."

"I'm good, thanks." Asami walked over to a nearby tree and placed her bag onto the ground. She then slowly lowered herself until she was sitting on the bag. She moved her legs to the side and leaned all of her weight onto her left hand.

"I'm sorry for my reaction." Korra plopped down next to her on the grass. She threw the ball again but then airbent it so that it flew further. "You usually look so well put together."

"Thank you for noticing." Asami smiled.

"Well, models usually look obnoxiously good," she quickly added.

"I'll skip over the obnoxious part and focus on the fact that you think I look good." Korra laughed loudly. She propped up her foot on the ground and rested her arm on it. "So, what's up with science?"

"Simple, I don't get it." Korra pulled a blade of grass out of the ground. She stuck it in between her lips and then leaned back so that her head and upper body was resting against the bark of the tree.

"Didn't you just start a few weeks ago?" Asami questioned.

"Exactly." She held up a finger in the air. "I don't get it that I'm behind already. If I didn't put this Gen Ed requirement off for so long I wouldn't have to worry about it." She dropped her hand back into her lap. "If all classes were like our bending classes or towards our concentration then I wouldn't be in this mess, and what is so funny?"

During Korra's rant, Asami had tried to hold back her laughter, but the more she continued the harder it was to stay quiet. Eventually she just had to let it all out, and started to shriek with laughter. "Nothing," Asami said as she calmed down. "It's just you kind of acted like Bolin, going on and on from one topic to the other." She cleared her throat. "I see what you're doing, though."

"What am I doing?" Korra asked. Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"Did Mako put you up to this?" Asami wondered. "To try and get us all to finally hang out?"

Korra reached over and ran her hand through Naga's fur. A small clump of hair came out into her palm. She held it in front of Asami's face and waved it from left to right. "Consider this me waving a white flag." Asami squealed when Korra tossed the fur into her face. "You said you wanted me to really try, so here I am."

"What about your snarkiness?" Asami asked quietly. Korra looked closely at her and noticed her sudden apprehension. She started to fidget with the end of her skirt. Her green eyes looked a shade duller than they were a few moments ago.

"It's a part of my charm," Korra said with a wink. Asami smiled at the reference, her eyes glowing brightly again.. She had roughly said those words a few days ago when they were initially getting along. "Plus, you kind of surprise me with your responses."

"I'm not a priss," Asami said with a warning tone, "I can handle myself." She punched Korra lightly in the arm.

"I'm getting the idea," Korra snorted.

"Shoot!" Asami tapped the watch on her wrist. "Time really got away from me. I have to head back for my next class."

"I'll walk you back," Korra offered while getting to her feet. She clicked her tongue twice. Naga lifted her head and looked up at her owner before climbing to her feet. The Avatar turned and held out her hand to help pull Asami to her feet. She frowned when she noticed the taller woman looking at her with wide eyes.

"You don't have to," Asami said quickly. She took a hold of Korra's hand and stood up. She then stooped down and grabbed her bag. "It's okay. I can make it back myself."

"Oh, it's no problem." Korra shrugged. "It is on my way." Asami held her gaze with the Avatar. Korra half smirked as a response but continued to stare back. Not even when Naga walked over and tapped her nose on her owner's cheek. Korra just reached up and rubbed the little bit of mucus off of her cheek with her wrist.

After a few more moments, Asami sighed hard. Korra's smile widened. "There's no changing your mind, is there?" she asked.

"Nope," Korra answered quickly. She grabbed a hold of Naga's reigns and had her follow them. "You would have learned that soon enough."

Asami chuckled a bit. The two walked back to RITA, talking quietly about pro-bending and the recent topics covered in Korra's science class. It wasn't much longer until they were back on campus.

"Why don't we have a study session on Sunday at my apartment?" Asami suggested. "Mako, Bolin, and Opal can come too."

"You're going to get tired of us very quickly," Korra warned.

"I doubt that. I like spending time with you guys. It's better than he-" Asami quickly cut stopped talking. She shifted her gaze to behind Korra's shoulder. She tensed up when she noticed Rika, Manami, and Kiyoko walking in her direction. A second later, Rika locked eyes with her and quickly changed the direction she was walking in.

"Better than here?" Korra filled in the blank. "Why? What's wrong?"

"Nothing, I just hate being alone," Asami muttered. She forced a smile before reaching over to pet Naga. Anyway, I have to get to class. I'll text you later."

"Why would you be alone? Are you okay?" Korra asked.

"Hey Sato," Rika called out.

"Oh spirits," Asami muttered. Korra looked at Asami and then over to the trio of girls walking towards her. She quickly took a few steps back, reached into her pocket, pulled out a brush, and started to brush Naga's fur.

"How was your free period?" Rika questioned.

"Fine," Asami said shortly. Korra looked over at Rika and frowned but didn't say anything.

"Did you go run off and cry to daddy about what we said?" Manami taunted.

"You know I haven't spoken to my father in years."

"I don't blame you," Kiyoko snickered. "To have such a failure for a father, I wouldn't be able to take a second glance at him."

"I mean, is there anything lower than silver bracelets?" Rika held her arms out and mimed that they were chained together.

"Hey," Korra barked. Naga winced at the harsh tone. She threw the brush to the ground, walked up, and stood in between Asami and Rika. Given her height, she normally wouldn't be much of a threat, but her glare and the way her muscles bulged caused Rika to quickly take a few steps back. "Leave her alone," she ordered.

"Just because you're the Avatar, doesn't mean you scare us." Rika looked in between Korra and Asami before smiling brightly at Korra. "Sato makes it seem like you two are such great friends. You know, you're not really friends until it is Facebook official."

Without a word, Korra pulled out her phone. She unlocked it with her pin and rapidly pressed a few buttons. A second later, Asami's phone rang with a new notification. She reached into her bag and pulled out her phone. She looked up at Korra, who missed it because she was smirking at Rika, before accepting her friend request. She then dropped her phone back into her bag.

Rika bit the inside of her cheek. "If you're such good friends, I'm sure you two share stories and secrets? What has she told you?" Korra raised an eyebrow as if challenging her to continue to speak. "Has she mentioned anything about who her father is and what he did?"

"Don't listen to her, Korra," Asami muttered. Korra looked back over her shoulder. Asami tightened her grip on her bag before looking down at the ground. Korra then looked back at Rika. In a split second, their eyes locked and Korra noticed the girl had little beads of sweat on her forehead. The Avatar smirked.

"A pretty girl like her doesn't seem like much trouble," Korra said with a half-smile. Rika flushed. A ghost of a smile appeared on her face as she ran a hand through her hair. "I have a surprise for you." Korra lifted two fingers to her lips and blew hard. A sharp whistle filled the air. Naga rushed over and growled loudly. Kiyoko and Manami screamed and jumped behind Rika.

"We'll see you later, Sato," Rika said. She turned on her heel and started to walk away but after a few steps she broke into a full run with Kiyoko and Manami hot on her heels.

"That explains a lot," Korra muttered as she crossed her arms over her chest. She shook her head slowly as she watched their retreating backs.

"What do you mean?" Asami asked.

"You don't deserve that." She smiled brightly and gave Naga a big hug around her neck. She quickly climbed up onto her bag and slipped into the saddle. "They don't know you."

"You do the same thing," Asami pointed out.

"Yeah, but when I do it I know what I'm talking about," Korra answered. Asami rolled her eyes but couldn't fight the smile that was fighting to take control of her lips. Korra shrugged. "I'm sorry. If I had known I wouldn't have made half the comments I have."

"What comments?" she asked, her head tilting to the side in confusion.

"Yeah," Korra said slowly while rubbing the back of her neck. "Some I may have said behind your back," she admitted.

"It's okay-"

"No, it's not. I know we've only been hanging out for about two weeks now, but I've never had malicious intent behind what I say," Korra said with a shrug. Asami looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "Don't get me wrong, I meant the snarkiness," she joked.

"You're a breath of fresh air, Korra," Asami said with a laugh.

"That would explain why I'm an airbender." Korra said with a half-smile. This caused Asami to laugh even harder. She quickly sobered up when she noticed the pensive look on Korra's face. Asami followed her line of sight to a poster about pro-bending hanging up on the billboard.

"What's wrong?"

"I'm just thinking," Korra muttered. "Mako told me that we may not be able to participate in the upcoming pro-bending tournament because of the entry fee. It's pretty expensive. We haven't told Bolin yet, but we don't think we can afford it."

"Oh, I'm sorry."

"Things would be easier if we could just get some funding," Korra sighed.

Asami perked up a little bit. She dug into her bag and pulled out her wallet. She flipped to the card section and looked at the gold Future Industries card that glittered underneath the sunlight. "Like a sponsor?" she asked.

"Yeah, but who would sponsor us?" Korra asked.

"I think I may know some place," Asami said while closing her wallet with a snap.

"Being secretive again, aren't we?" She leaned forward a bit in the saddle before giving her a smile. "When am I going to find out the truth from you about your super secret double life?"

"You'll just have to wait and see." Asami held up a finger as her phone started to ring. She pulled it out of her bag and looked at the caller id – "Future Industries". Asami bit her lip before looking up at Korra. "I have to take this. I'll see you at practice tonight."

"And art tomorrow and then the nightclub," Korra listed off.

"Don't forget studying on Sunday," Asami reminded her. She chuckled when Korra made a disgusted face. "I didn't think you'd be excited to go clubbing."

"The Avatar needs to get out every once in a while."

"Good to know. We can get ready at my place, if you want," Asami suggested. as she pressed the ANSWER button on the phone. She put the phone up on her ear.

"Sounds good." Korra nodded.

Asami gave a small wave before heading up towards the school. "Text me when you get back?" she mouthed.

"Yes, mom," Korra said in a light voice. Asami choked back a laugh before turning her attention to her phone.

Rika scoffed. She was sitting at a bench, watching Korra and Asami talking before they parted ways. "Sato just thinks she's better than us. I'm sick of it."

"How is she better?" Manami was sitting next to Rika on the bench painting her fingernails. "She doesn't have a mom and her dad is in jail."

"Yes, but she's the top in the class and she is the youngest female CEO, probably in history," Kiyoko added. Manami and Rika turned and shot her sharp glare. "She is," she said defensively.

"She needs to be knocked down a peg," Rika declared.

"How?" Manami and Kiyoko asked.

"I'll think of something."

Chapter Text

“It is so cool seeing this up close,” Asami said while handing each member of the Fire Ferrets a towel. Mako nodded at her before rubbing the sweat away from the back of his neck. Korra handed the towel back before bending the sweat off of her and into a nearby bucket of water.

“I was worried that you would be bored watching us,” he commented.

“No, it’s really great,” she insisted with a bright smile. Mako smiled back. Bolin dumped Pabu onto his shoulder before quickly wiping down his body. Mako looked away from her and started to scratch Pabu behind his ears.

“We’re going to destroy that tournament,” Bolin shouted.

“Once we have the money for it,” Korra reminded him. The room quickly got quiet.

“I’ll go get you some water,” Asami said before exiting the room. Korra quickly ran over to the door and peered out. Once she noticed the raven-haired girl disappear around a corner, she rushed back over to Mako and Bolin and motioned for them to bow their heads into a circle.

“What’s up?” Mako asked.

“I met up with Asami the other day in the park,” Korra started. Her voice was just above a whisper but steadily got louder.

“So you’re finally hanging out?” Mako asked. “Maybe now you’ll stop making judgments on the new people I meet.”

“I was wrong, I admit it.” She rolled her eyes. “But listen, I walked her back to her school and I think she’s being bullied,” she admitted. Mako and Bolin shared a look. Pabu chirped loudly as he slipped off of Mako’s shoulder. “It was kind of a surprise to me too. These three girls were just digging into her. They also mentioned something about her dad and being in jail,” she added.

“So she must be related to Hiroshi Sato, one of the equalist leaders,” Mako said slowly.

“We can’t forget Future Industries,” Bolin added.”Their inventions are really shaping the world. I mean, without them and their line of razors, I wouldn’t be as good looking as you see me.” Korra bit her bottom lip to keep herself from laughing. Mako groaned and rubbed his temples. “Wait,” Bolin shouted. Korra slapped him on the arm. “If he’s in jail, then how is the company still running?”

“Think about it,” Korra said while tapping her forehead. “She has another job outside of modeling for our art class and she goes to RITA, which is probably the top science, engineering, and technology school in the Earth Kingdom.”

“Oh, man.” Bolin’s shoulders drooped. “That must suck.”

“As her friends, we should try to keep things as normal as possible for her until she’s ready to tell us everything,” Korra suggested. “We don’t want to scare her off.”

“Got it,” Mako agreed. He caught sight of Asami walking back into the room. He quickly strained back up and ran a hand through his hair. Korra started twisting her upper body to the left and the right, stretching her side muscles. Bolin picked Pabu up off of the ground and started to rub his back.

“Here you go,” Asami said as she handed each member of the Fire Ferrets a water bottle.

“Thanks Asami,” the three said at the same time.

She blinked. “Are you guys feeling okay?”

“We’re fine,” the answered.

Asami nodded once. She crossed her arms over her chest and peered at them closely. “So why are you all speaking at the same time?”

“We’re not.”

“Oh really?” She then put her hands on her hips.

“Re-” Korra elbowed Mako and Bolin. The two immediately stopped talking. Korra shrugged before walking over to her sports bag. “So, are you guys’ fine with me bunking with you again tonight?”

“No problem, Korra,” Bolin called out. “Right, Mako?”

“Yeah, hang on,” he muttered before walking over to Asami. He muttered something into her ear. She nodded once before following him out of the room. Korra watched with an eyebrow raised. She exchanged a look with Bolin before resuming backing her bag.

Mako and Asami re-entered the room a few minutes later. He walked over to Bolin and checked to make sure he was ready to leave. The two brothers waved goodbye before exiting. “I’ll be at your place later,” Korra called out. Asami sat down on the bench next to Korra’s bag. She had a leg crossed over the other and was scrolling through her email on her phone. “What were you two talking about?”

“Me and Mako?” Asami asked without looking up from her phone.

“No, you and Tahno,” Korra said with an eyeroll. “Yeah, you and Mako. What’s up?” she asked while straightening up, She grabbed her bag and slung it over her shoulder.

“Oh, he asked me out,” she answered with a shrug. She hopped up from the bench, and rapidly tapped at her phone to back out of an application before pocketing her phone.

“And?” Korra asked.

“And I said, yes,” Asami said slowly.

“Wait, you said yes?” she motioned for Asami to exit the room. Korra switched off the lights before joining her in the hallway. The two then headed for the exit. “Correct me if I’m wrong, and I’m not, but when we first met you said you weren’t interested in dating Mako,” she reminded her.

“What I meant, was that I wasn’t interested in dating, period,” Asami clarified. “But, I don’t know. There’s something about him.” Her voice got a bit quieter as she reflected on their first day. “He was actually nice to me and welcomed me to the group with open arms.”

Korra ignored the jab. “Well, that would explains why he was so hard on me about it,” she muttered.

“What do you mean?”

“Now that I think back, it was obvious that he liked you when you first met,” she pointed out. “So where are you guys going to go?”

“We’re thinking of just having our clubbing outing being our first date.” Asami gathered up her hair into a ponytail before letting it drape down her back behind her shoulders.

“In that case, I’ll stay at Mako’s and Bolin’s,” Korra said while stretching her arms over her head. She took a sip of her water before slipping it into her bag. “We can have the post-party party there.”

“No, you should come to my place,” Asami insisted. “It would probably bigger so we’d have more room for everyone.”

Korra rubbed the back of her neck. She placed her hand on Asami’s elbow, stopping her so that she could turn to face her. “Originally, it was going to be the three of us but now that it’s a date, I’ll be the third wheel.”

“No, you won’t.” Asami put her hands on Korra’s shoulders. “I promise. Plus, I need you to come,” she insisted. “What if it ends up that we have nothing in common and I need an out? You can be my wingwoman.”

“I don’t know.”

“It’s one date.” Korra looked up at Asami. The taller girl started to pout. She widened her green eyes a little bit and made a soft whimpering noise. Korra couldn’t help but laugh. A few seconds later, Asami joined her.

“Fine fine,” Korra said.

“Okay, we’ll have the post-party part at my apartment,” Asami said as the two started walking once more. “This way you can just stay over since you’ll be getting ready with me and then studying the next day.”

“Aren’t we a little too old for sleepovers?”

“Who would you rather want to hear details about the date from me or Mako?” Asami asked. Korra looked up at the ceiling in thought: It would be a good way to spend more time with Asami. With Mako, it would just be grunts and groans and the shortest answer possible.

“Good point,” she finally said. “Plus, I’m sure I’m overstaying my welcome with them,” she added with a sigh.

“Korra!” a harsh voice called out. Korra immediately stopped. A muscle in her cheeks twitched before she turned on her heel and looked at Chief Lin Beifong as she marched up.

“What’s up, Chief?” Korra saluted. Asami snickered into her hand but quickly stopped once Lin turned her gaze towards her. The two stared at each other for a few moments before Lin crossed her arms and faced the Avatar.

“How many times do I have to remind you to lock the door when you’re finished in the room?” she snarled. “Plus, you forgot to finish the sign in/sign out sheet.”

“You only have to tell me once,” Korra said with a shrug. She then half-smiled. “I just keep forgetting to get on your nerves.”

“It doesn’t take much for you to get on my nerves. Trust me,” she mumbled.

“Duly noted.” Her smile widened.

“Just because you’re the Avatar doesn’t mean I’m going to give you special treatment

“You haven’t given me special treatment since we met. Hell would freeze over when you start

“Actually, that is possible because there is a place called Hell in the Fire Nation,” Asami piped up. Korra and Lin looked over at her with a mix of confusion and amusement. “And, I just ruined the joke.”

“Good night, Avatar,” Lin mumbled. “Ms. Sato.” She gave her a quick nod before turning and head back down the hall.

“Does she not like you?" Asami asked

“Nah, that’s our relationship. I annoy her and she hates my guts.” Korra looked over and noticed the confused look on Asami’s face. “When I first arrived here I kind of damaged a few buildings.” Asami’s eyes widened. “Long story, but since she’s gym management as well as head of security here on campus, she’s been on my case for about every small thing.” She then regarded her. “How did she know your name?”

“I’ve met her before,” Asami reached up and scratched the side of her neck, “under disappointing circumstances.”

“Okay, I think it’s time I learned more about you,” Korra announced as they exited the gym.

“What do you want to do?” Asami scoffed. “Play truth or dare?” she asked with an eye roll.

“No.” She quickly shot the idea down. “I’ve been to way too many parties where they play that or spin the bottle or seven minutes in heaven or whatever. That is the dumbest game in existence, plus people always lie when they say they’ll never share what they hear.”

“So, then take the dares out.”

“Then we may as well call it 20 questions.” Korra placed a hand on Asami’s shoulder and gave it a light squeeze. “For an engineer, you’re not that bright.”

Asami pushed her away with a laugh. She flipped her hair over her shoulder before pulling her keys out of her pocket. They were nearing Asami’s parked satomobile. “Fine, 20 questions it is. We each get to ask 10 questions, but we only get one pass and one throw out. A pass can be used if you don’t want to answer a question but the person who asked can either bring it up again later or choose not to re-ask it. However, throw out is a throw out. Once you use it you don’t have the option to ask again,” she listed off.

Korra groaned as they walked up to the car. Asami leaned against the passenger side door and looked up at her. “Why do their have to be rules?”

“It makes it more fun that way,” she answered while raising one shoulder. Korra smiled at the cute gesture.

“Maybe in your world.”

“Scared?” Asami raised an eyebrow. Korra felt her competiveness rear its ugly head. She shook her heard head a few times before smirk.

“Not at all,” Korra said with confidence. “In fact, I’ll let you go first.”

“Okay, I’ll have your first question prepared for you later.” Asami gave a small wave before walking around her car. She climbed into the driver’s seat and started the engine before fastening her seatbelt.

“Wait, what?”

“Oh, that’s another rule.” Asami reached up and started to reposition the rearview mirror. She caught Korra’s eyes and winked. “You can wait how long you want to come up with a good question. Don’t worry, I’ll start off easy.” She smiled brightly. “I’ll see you tomorrow in art.”

“Later, Asami.” Korra took a step backward on the sidewalk. “Be careful getting home,” she called out before Asami pealed out of the parking space.

When Korra finally made it back to Mako’s and Bolin’s apartment after picking up Naga from the campus stables and putting her in the apartment complex’s backyard, she found they were asleep in their bedrooms. She could hear their snoring from the living room. Korra tiptoed over to the bathroom and turned on the water in the shower. As she waited for it to heat up, she began to brush her teeth. Her cell phone lit up and a text message icon was in the top left hand corner.

Korra mumbled to herself as she unlocked the phone and read the message.

Asami: -9:36PM- I have your first question for you. Are you ready to start? And no, that wasn’t the question. :p

She laughed through her nose as she sent her a response.

Korra: -9:36PM- Bring it on.

She was about to place her phone back onto the counter, but it lit up with a new message.

Asami: -9:37PM- What is something Mako and Bolin don’t know about you?

“You call that an easy question?” Korra asked out loud.

---

Asami entered her bedroom as she heard her cell phone go off. She unplugged it from the charger before slipping into her bed. She propped her feet up on the mattress before placing her laptop onto her lap.

Korra: -9:42PM- Going straight for the jugular, aren’t you?

She couldn’t help but smile as she read the response. Asami clicked open the software, QuickBooks on the computer before texting back a response.

Asami: -9:42PM- I asked if you were scared before. Were you lying? ;)

Korra: -9:43PM- Not at all…although, my answer isn’t something I would like to have forever stored on a phone. I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Asami dropped her phone and took a look at the spreadsheet that popped up. After scanning over it three times, she made a small note, before clicking over to a web browser. It opened up to a customizable sporting goods shop. She found a red team jacket and placed three into the shopping cart. Then, she uploaded a jpeg file of Future Industries logo. She nodded happily when she looked at a preview of the full design.

Her phone buzzed. A small box appeared on her computer screen displaying Korra’s text message.

Korra: -9:46PM- Do I get to ask a question now?

Asmai clicked into the box and typed out her response.

Asami: -9:47PM- Yyyyyep. Go ahead

Korra: -9:47PM- Who were you thinking of being our sponsor for the tournament?

Asami’s fingers froze over her keyboard. Once you tell her, you’re going to have to tell her everything. Every god damned horrible thing. What if she runs away? Asami then thought back to the encounter between herself and Rika and her two friends. Even when they were dropping hints about her father, Korra didn’t push the issue any further. Plus, she took time out of her day to actually seek out Asami's help and ordered her to drive safely on her way back to her apartment.

All of the other people you were acquaintances with never wondered about your well being. They even gave up on you as soon as news about your father came out, but Korra is trying. Your old friends and classmates dropped you so quickly once they found out about your new position at your company. But, Korra feels different. Maybe she’s your out.

Asami: -9:52PM- …Me

Chapter Text

Asami bit on her thumbnail as she waited for a response. You can’t go back now. Her heart had started to race. It only took a few seconds for Korra to send a response.

Korra: -9:52PM- You want to elaborate?

Asami: -9:52PM- Is that your second question?

Korra: -9:53PM- No, it’s a two-parter. You interrupted my dramatic pause XD

Asami smiled. Korra didn’t have the reaction she thought she would. In fact, it seemed a little too understanding. Well, more understanding than she thought she’d be.

Asami: -9:53PM- Call me.

A split second later her ringtone pealed throughout her bedroom. She moved her laptop off of her lap and snuggled deeper into her pillows before picking up her phone, hitting the ANSWER button and placing it on her ear.

“So, where should I start?” Asami asked.

“The beginning would be great,” Korra suggested. Her voice was at a whisper. Asami concluded that she was trying to stay quiet as to not disrupt Mako and Bolin with whatever it was they were doing.

“Okay, well my mother passed away when I was six,” Asami said.

---

“And then her father was found to be a part of the Equalist movement, using his company to supply their weapons and he was sent to jail,” Korra explained in a hushed tone. “She’s taken over the company since.”

“So, she’s business royalty?” Bolin asked. “It must be a lot to take on, though. Being a senior in school and having to run a business at the same time.”

“Plus, being bullied,” Mako added. “She must be so lonely.”

“She did mention that in passing once.” Korra dumped a few pencils on her tray. She added a small pile of erasers and then a small brush and dust pan. Mako rolled his eyes before placing everything on his tray in an oeganized manner. “Having to work with people older than her who probably don’t believe she could run the company and being the brunt of rude jokes at school, how can someone deal with that?” She looked up as Asami walked into the room. Asami gave a small wave over to them before placing her purse and a giant box down by Pema’s desk. “It looks like we have something in common.”

“What do you mean?” Bolin asked.

“I found out I was the Avatar when I was four and ended up being kept in a compound while growing up. My only friend was Naga.” Korra watched as Asami and Pema conversed across the room. “I feel so bad for being horrible to her.”

“Well, you didn’t know the situation.” Mako placed a hand on her shoulder and gave it a soft squeeze. Korra smiled before placing her hand on top of his.

“And, I don’t think you’re as bad as those girls,” Bolin added.

“Nah, I don’t think anyone could be as bad as them,” Korra admitted.

“Okay, class,” Pema called out. “Asami will gradually make her way around the room, sitting on different stools in front of you. Some will be able to draw her straight on while others will get her side or her back. We are going to work on angles today.”

Korra, Mako, and Bolin worked quietly on their drawings. Every fifteen minutes, Asami would move from stool to stool slowly around the room. Her eyes would focus on something on the wall about the student’s heads. She ignored their comments and whispers. It wasn’t until she sat down in front of Korra, Mako, and Bolin that she relaxed and opened up.

“Hey,” she said cheerfully. “Sorry I fell asleep on you last night,” Asami said to Korra.

“Oh, you’re fine,” Korra mumbled, focusing on her canvas. “I fell asleep as well.”

“Did I miss something?” Mako asked. He looked at the two of them in confusion.

“We were talking on the phone,” she explained.

Asami nodded. She placed both of her hands in her lap and started to twiddle her thumbs. “So, I’m guessing you both know.”

“Korra told us,” Bolin confirmed.

“I’m glad she did instead of you hearing it from somewhere else,” she admitted.

Mako nodded in the direction of the box that Asami had brought in with her. “What’s in the package?”

“A present for you three,” Asami said. She started to twist her lower body so that the stool seat began to move to the left and to the right. Bolin furiously began to sketch on his canvas. Korra looked over and laughed at his attempts to draw Asami’s lower body at different angles while she was moving. “Overnight delivery, but you’ll have to wait until after class,” she said while winking at him. Mako flushed lightly before focusing on his paper.

“Am I the only person who just felt like throwing up?” Korra asked with a laugh.

“No, I’m right there with you,” Bolin answered.

“Shut up, guys,” Mako mumbled. Asami giggled into her palm.

---

Asami held the box in her lap and happily tapped her fingers on it. Korra was digging into her third bowl of pasta, Bolin, was staring longingly at the box, and Mako was seated next to Asami quietly talking to her.

“Can we open it now?” Bolin asked. Asami turned and laughed at the pitiful expression on his face. “I really want to see what’s inside it.”

“Hang on, we have to wait for Opal,” she insisted. “But I at least can announce this since you all know about me being a CEO. I decided to sponsor the Fire Ferrets in your upcoming tournament.”

“Awesome, now we can pay the entry fee,” Mako said happily. He placed an arm around Asami’s shoulders and gave her a side hug. After a split second he pulled away and ran a shacking hand through his hair. Korra chuckled. “Why aren’t you excited about this?” he asked after clearing his throat.

“She told me last night about it but I promised to keep it a secret,” Korra said with a shrug.

“So, what’s in the box?” Bolin asked. Asami, Mako, and Korra laughed before throwing their used napkins at him.

“Hey guys,” Opal said as she rushed up. In one hand she had her lunch tray and in the other she had a pile of books. “Hi Bolin,” she said quietly. Bolin quickly brushed the napkins off of him before standing up. He smiled and gave her a small wave. Mako grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back into his seat as she sat down next to him. “I just got out of my air history class. It is so cool.” She dropped her books to the floor, right on top of Bolin’s foot. He winced. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” she apologized; her cheeks turning a bright red. “Sorry.”

“Opal, you said your aunt works in the gym here. She’s Lin Beifong right?”Asami asked. “Are you also related to Bataar?”

“Yeah, he’s one of my brother’s,” Opal said with a nod. “Why?”

“I’ve seen him around my school sometimes for events and things of the like.”

“There’s also a girl there that I think he likes,” she smiled slyly. “Her name starts with a K but I don’t know too much. He instantly clams up about it, ehich is why we always talk about it during our weekly dinners.”

“I can’t take it anymore,” Bolin said. He reached over Mako’s lap and slipped the package out of Asami’s hands.

“Bolin, that’s rude,” Mako snapped. He shrugged before tossing the box over to Korra. She caught it with one hand while taking a sip from her glass. She then snapped her fingers and a small flame appeared over her index finger. She dragged it down the middle of the box and melted the tape. A second later, she tore the flaps of the box open.

“Wow!” Korra gasped as she pulled out a red, black, and white sports jacket. It said Fire Ferrets above the front pocket and her name on the back across the shoulders. “These are cool.” She pointed at the Future Industries logo on the sleeve.

“I also have new uniforms coming in as well,” Asami said with delight. Korra passed Mako and Bolin their jackets.

“Look, it has a picture of Pabu on the other side,” Bolin pointed out.

“Well, your mascot needs to be represented.”

“Wait,” Mako called out. Korra and Bolin slipped their jackets on and zipped them up before turning to face him. “Asami, this is really nice, but you can’t buy our friendship.”

“Speak for yourself!” Bolin cried at the same time Korra said, “Yes, she can!”

“We started becoming friends before you found out I am a CEO. It is no problem at all,” Asami reassured him. Mako pulled his jacket on and zipped it up.

“These are so cool,” Opal said while rubbing the sleeve of Korra’s jacket. Asami noted the look of envy and sadness on her face and couldn’t help but smile.

“I got one for you, too!” Asami said as she reached into the discarded box. “I also got one for myself. I thought the Fire Ferrets need to be represented both on the field and in the stands.”

“Now we’re really Team Fire Ferrets,” Bolin said while punching a fist in the air. He then held his hands up which Mako and Korra quickly gave him a high five. Other students in the cafeteria stopped their conversations to look at their small group.

“Thanks, Asami,” Opal said while holding her jacket to her chest. “That really means a lot.”

“It is no problem at all.” Asami smiled before turning towards Mako. “It looks great on you,” she commented. He leaned over and gave her a light kiss on the cheek.

Korra and Bolin stuck a finger in their mouths and mimed throwing up. Opal watched with a frown as a few girls came up and started to comment him on his jacket. He smiled before holding out his arms so they could feel the material.

“So, what’s the plan for tomorrow?” Asami asked as everyone sat back down in their seats. Bolin continued to talk to the few fans as Opal stood over her tray, picking at her food. “Korra is coming over to get ready, so how about we pick you up, Mako, and then we hit the club. What about after? I offered the use of my apartment for the party.”

“Sounds good.” Mako nodded. “What should we bring?”

“I got it covered.” Asami waved the thought away. “We’ve had a lot of board meetings lately so there’s tons of leftover food and drinks I can get for us.”

Bolin reclaimed his seat at the table. Opal slowly slid down into hers before slipping her jacket on. She smiled brightly when Bolin complimented her in her jacket.

“How about we text you when we’re on our way back so you can head over to Asami’s place?” Korra suggested.

“I’ll message you all directions later today after work,” Asami added. She then turned her attention to Opal who was sitting a bit closer to Bolin but was staring at her hands in her lap. “So, what are you two going to do?” she asked.

“We haven’t decided yet,” Opal said quietly. She squirmed underneath Asami’s gaze before leaning over and lightly punching Korra on the arm. “What are you going to wear?”

“Just jeans and a tshirt,” Korra said with a shrug. She frowned when she noticed Opal and Asami staring at her wide-eyed. “What?” she asked slowly.

“You need to dress up a bit more for a club,” Opal practically shouted.

“How would you know?”

“If you want to be noticed, you’ll dress up.”

“I’m the Avatar, I get noticed enough.”

“She’s right,” Asami said gently. “These places do have somewhat of a dress code. At least try to dress up a bit more so we can get in for free. Jeans are fine but maybe a dressier top would be good.”

“How dressy are we talking?” Korra groaned.

“Looks like a shopping trip is in order.” She clapped her hands excitedly. “Let’s go tomorrow.”

Korra raised an eyebrow. “You’re just looking for an excuse to spend all day with me, aren’t you?”

“Darn,” Asami snapped her fingers. “You looked through my façade.” Korra grinned and shook her head. All of the students in the cafeteria jumped to life as a loud bell rang throughout the room. The sound of chairs being pushed in and loud chatter drowned it out a few seconds later.

“That’s the bell,” Mako announced while getting to his feet.

“Oh, great, I’m late.” Korra jumped up. She grabbed her school bag and started to shovel the rest of her food into her mouth.

“When are you not late?” he asked with a laugh. He gave a small wave when he noticed her reaching for her tray. “I got it,” he insisted. Korra smiled brightly, her cheeks puffed up with food, before rushing away.

“Opal, did you have any ideas for what to do tomorrow?” Bolin asked. Opal let out a soft squeak before shaking her head now. “Neither do I. How about we just meet up and find something to do?”

“Sounds good.” Opal picked up her books from the floor. She clutched them to her chest.

“Great,” he said. He looked as if he wanted to say or do something else but instead, he grabbed his tray and followed Mako out of the cafeteria.

“I’ll see you tomorrow night,” Opal said to Asami. The CEO crushed the box underneath her feet, before picking it up off of the floor. She placed her purse over her arm and picked up her tray before facing the young girl with a smile.

“Come shopping with us, it’ll be fun,” she suggested.

“I can’t go to the club.” The two started walking towards the cafeteria doors. Many other students were filing towards the exit so they joined the back of the group.

“No, but it’ll be like a girl’s night type of thing. Or, more like a girl’s day.” Asami placed an arm around the young girl’s shoulders. “Plus, I can give you tips on how to move things forward with Bolin.” She winked.

“Was I that obvious?” Opal asked while placing her right hand over her face. She shook her head slowly.

“Only when you turn red,” she answered gently. “But it’s also endearing. Guys like Bolin may act like they have the confidence to acquire a girl, but he’s probably as scared and nervous as you are.”

“But, has girls chasing after him.” Opal jerked her chin over to the few girls who had fawned over Bolin and his new team jacket.

“Yeah, but I’m guessing you like him even outside of pro-bending, am I right?”

“I do.”

“Then you have a step up. They’re just fans. You’re the one wearing a Team Fire Ferret jacket,” she reassured her. Asami dumped the leftover food off of her tray into the trash can along with the crushed up box. She placed her tray on the pile of other trays before turning back to face Opal. She paused when she noticed a saddened look on her face. “What’s wrong?”

“You’re just being so nice to me,” Opal muttered. “I’ve known Korra, Mako, and Bolin for a while now and I just recently started to sit with them at lunch. I just feel like if I didn’t make a deal with Korra to bring in that magazine for her we wouldn’t be talking now.”

“If they didn’t care to be your friend then why would they continue to let you sit with them?” Asami asked. “Korra could have just as easily let you sit with them once and that be it.”

“You know, I like hanging out and talking with Korra but you’re different. She’s more of a tomboy, which isn’t bad, but I have all brothers.” Opal shrugged. “It’s good to have someone else to talk to, aside from my mom, and I’m not as close to my aunt as I’d like to be.”

“Anytime, Opal,” Asami said. She bumped her on the shoulder. “I’ll walk you back to your dorm.”

“So, how did you and Mako end up being a thing?” Opal asked.

“We’re not a thing; we haven’t even gone out yet,” she corrected. “Not until tomorrow.”

“First date at a club?” she smiled slyly. “Could get hot.”

Asami laughed in shock. “How old are you?”

“I told you, I grew up with brothers,” Opal responded before dissolving into laughter.

Chapter Text

"So, you never did answer my first question," Asami said as Korra climbed into her car. She had her elbow resting on the door frame, and watched as the Avatar got comfortable in the front seat. She smiled softly when she noticed a light flush on Korra's cheeks.

"You won't tell anyone?" Korra asked.

"I wouldn't be playing this game if I didn't take it seriously." She grabbed a hold of the gear shift and moved the car into drive before pulling away from the curb.

"Okay," Korra said quietly. Asami constantly looked at the road or at Korra over and over again. She waited patiently as the Avatar clearly struggled to verbally answer the question. "When I was younger, I was kind of chubby. I have a big appetite. Always have. I think it has something to do with being bundled up a lot in the Southern Water Tribe. Aside from retaining a lot of layers, we have to keep our body fat up

"Kind of like blubber?"

"Exactly, but to a healthy weight for our own bodies. I used to be made fun of on the very few chances I was able to leave the compound so I started working out a lot to get rid of the excess weight." Korra sighed hard. "Of course, at the time, I knew I was the Avatar so I used my fire bending to essentially control my body temperature so, I was able to work out more without overheating. So now I'm the fine specimen you see before you," she finished with a grin.

"As long as you're modest," Asami snickered. "But, I hate that you had to go through all of that."

"It was actually helpful, in a way," she admitted quietly. "It made me a stronger person."

I wish I were as strong as you, Asami thought. The two rode along the streets of Republic City in silence until they pulled up to Republic School for the Gifted. Korra instructed Asami to follow the road along campus until they pulled up behind one of the dorm rooms. Korra pulled out her cell phone and texted Opal.

"I think while we're shopping we should pick out a date outfit for Opal," Asami suggested.

"That's not a bad idea," Korra said. "This way she can be more involved. Although, I get the feeling she has a goal of trying to find me a dress."

"You don't like dresses?"

Korra scrunched up her nose. "Not really. I mean, I'll dress up if I have to but it's not my go to look," she explained.

"So, showing off your arms is?" Asami said while poking her in the bicep. Man, she must really be strong.

"You noticed?" Korra asked with a wink. Asami laughed through her nose before nodding to the front doors. Opal had emerged and waved to the two of them before holding up a finger, motioning that she'll be there in a second. She turned towards her mother, Suyin Beifong, with an impatient look.

"My friends are waiting for me, Mom," she snapped. "I have to go."

"Will you be at the family dinner tonight?"

Opal paused. She rubbed her arm and refused to look at her mother. "I was actually going to hang out with a friend."

"Who is he?" Suyin asked.

"Mom!"

"Normally when you're meeting with your friends you say 'Catching up with the guys'," Suyin pointed out with a smile. She crossed her arms over her chest and tilted her head to the side. "So? And don't bother lying, because I can tell."

"His name is Bolin," Opal admitted. "We met at your summer camp."

"Oh, I liked him." Suyin said before winking. "He can come to the dinner as well."

"That's not really what we want to do tonight."

"Have you asked him?"

"No."

"Then I'm sure he won't mind."

"Fine." Opal rolled her eyes. She leaned over and have her mother a light kiss on the cheek before rushing towards the car. "Bye, Mom. I'll text you when we're on our way back," she called over her shoulder. Korra exited the car and tried not to laugh as Opal moved the passenger seat to slip into the back.

"First date with not only the parents, but the family," Korra said. "Do I hear wedding bells?" she teased.

"Shut up, Korra," Opal demanded. She pulled out her cell phone and sent a quick text message to Bolin. As she was placing it into her purse, it lit up and vibrated. "Okay, Bolin actually says he wouldn't mind coming to the dinner," Opal said as she clicked her tongue.

"In that case, why don't we have Mako just meet us at my apartment tonight and we can all go to the club instead of us picking him up," Asami said to Korra. She reached up and adjusted the rear-view mirror before winking at Opal's reflection. "This way Bolin and Opal will have more time to themselves."

"How much time can they have to themselves with her family around?" Korra asked. A few minutes later they arrived in the shopping district of Republic City. Asami took them to a department store that carried clothing from all Four Nations. Korra and Opal looked at each other with panicked looks.

"Don't worry. I'm paying," Asami said once she noticed the fear in their eyes. "Opal, I'll help you pick something out for your date tonight."

"If it's just a family dinner, then I will stick with something in my closet," Opal said with a sigh. "Let's focus on Korra."

"Trying to change the subject, are we?" Korra asked. She looked at a rack of dresses and stuck her tongue out at them. A nearby shopkeeper glared at her, before continuing her work, straightening up a stack of sweaters.

"So you already ruled out dresses," Asami said as she looked through some racks. Opal was standing opposite of her, looking at the other side of some racks. "How about a skirt?"

"Depends on what it looks like and if it reaches my knees," Korra called out. She had her arms crossed over her chest and was slowly walking up and down the aisles. She peered at the various shades and styles of clothes, making faces at things she didn't like, which looked to be everything.

"Then skirts are out," Asami declaired.

"Why?" Opal asked

"People don't go to clubs dressed like they're going to church," she giggled. "How about these?" she called out and held up a pair of black denim shorts. Korra titled her head to the side as she studied the clothing.

"Too short," she declared.

"These?" Opal held up a pair of electric blue pants that widened at the knee.

"Too baggy." Korra shook her head. "I like showing off my muscles."

"No, really?" she responded sarcastically before placing the pants back on the rack.

"We may be here for a while," Asami sighed.

"Nah. Korra may hate shopping but, when she does have to go it is very easy. She knows what she likes and what she doesn't. This probably won't take long." Opal noticed the somewhat dejected look on her face. "We can go out to lunch after," she suggested. Korra cheered in excitement at the new plan. Asami chuckled and brightened up.

"So," Asami dropped her voice as she and Opal started to browse for items on the other end of the Water section as Korra peered at some shoes. "What would you like to happen tonight?"

"Nothing's going to happen," Opal said glumly. "Not with my family around. They'll probably scare him off. I mean, we've never been easy on Bataar Jr."

"You sound like you're upset at that idea," Asami pointed out. "Is this your first date with Bolin or your first in general?"

"Well, in general, I guess," Opal admitted quietly. "I just like him so much. He's nice, and sweet, and caring, and funny." She hid her face behind her hands and shook her head. "Oh, gosh, I'm gushing. It's too embarrassing to talk about."

"Don't worry." Asami placed a hand on her shoulder. "It's perfectly normal to be embarrassed. Not all of us are as open as the next person."

"There is no way I could talk to my mom about this," Opal muttered. "It took me a while to convince her to let me come to Republic to study airbending and what does she do? She packs up my entire family and now we travel back and forth between here and Zaofu depending on the time of the year."

"You're her only daughter. It makes sense that she would worry," Asami said softly. She picked up a shirt and held it out for Opal to see. Opal tilted her head to the side before smiling and nodding excitedly. Asami draped the shirt over her arm. "Just don't try and rush things. We wouldn't want Bolin to be public enemy number one to your family," Asami joked. "Relationships take time to build and they can be either very easy or very hard. If he likes you as much as you like him, then things will simple fall into place." Korra let out a squeak from across the room. Opal and Asami turned towards her just in time to see her falling to the ground. A loud ripping sound followed a few seconds later. "Just like that."

Opal and Asami quickly rushed over and helped pull Korra to her feet.

"What happened?" Opal asked.

"I found some jeans I liked. I thought I'd try them on because I worried my leg muscles would be too big. I was coming over to show you both and then I tripped over a display." She brushed off the pants before noticing the tears at the knees of the skinny jeans. She looked at her reflection in the nearest mirror before nodding. "Huh. The holes make it look better."

"You do know you're going to have to pay for that?" the shopkeeper asked, glaring at her.

"Then it's a good thing I like it," she snapped. Asami reached into her purse and pulled out a credit card before slapping it into the shopkeepers palm with much more force than needed.

After having lunch and then dropping Opal back off at her dorm, Asami had driven Korra straight over to her apartment. Korra couldn't help but gawk at everything she saw. She was fascinated by the lobby, which had a giant fountain the middle, the elevator taking her up to her floor, which was the penthouse level at the very top, or her apartment in general which was huge.

"You live here by yourself?" Korra dropped her shopping bags by the door before taking a few steps into the living room. She slowly spun in a circle, careful not to miss anything.

"I moved out of my dad's place in my freshmen year and he insisted he I live alone," Asami said with a sigh as she dropped her keys in glass bowl by the door. "I agreed as long as I paid for the place he picked out. It's not really my style though."

"What do you mean?" Korra gasped.

"It's too…extravagant." Asami shrugged. "I like simple."

Korra nodded. She then spotted a door at the end of a small nook to her right. "What's in this room?" she walked over and pulled the door open.

"No, don't!"

Asami groaned to herself as Korra quickly stepped inside. She followed slowly behind her and watched as Korra took in its contents. On one side of the room was a large table with a lot of blue prints, schematics, and various sized piles of metallic objects. On the other side of a room, a table was set up with a chair. A sheet was nailed to the wall and two lights were standing at either end of the table, pointing towards the chair, and various cosmetics as sitting on the table.

"What's this room for?" Korra asked.

"I tinker in here." Asami smiled a bit when she noticed the confused look on Korra's face. Korra walked up to the table with the blueprints and other items. She picked up, what looked to be a metallic hockey puck, and started to turn it over in her hands. "When I have ideas for new concepts for Future Industries, I come in here and work on it. Just to keep it out of the way." Korra jumped when Asami appeared next to her and took the item out of her hands before setting it gently back onto the table. "And that," she sighed, "would be my set up for my YouTube videos. I create makeup tutorials and other things and put it on my channel."

"Oh."

"It's really dumb, I know," Asami said apologetically.

"No, I like the idea," Korra said with a smile. "I was thinking of putting up some bending tutorials or something. I liked your idea though. It's really you."

"Well thanks," Asami brightened. She pulled Korra back out of the room before taking note of the clock. "Mako should be here soon, so let's go get changed." She picked up Korra's discarded bags before shoving them into her chest. "My room is over here. You can use my bathroom."

Thirty-five minutes later, Asami finished putting the finishing touches on her nail polish. She waved her hand in the air and walked over to her full length mirror to look at her entire outfit. She carefully plucked a pair of earrings out of her jewelry box sitting on top of a dresser by the mirror. She titled her head to the side and started to push an earring through the piercing hole.

"Come in!" Asami shouted as she heard a knock on the front door. "It's open."

"It's me," Mako called out as he entered the apartment. His voice was a bit muffled since the bedroom door was closed. "I'm ready but you two can take your time."

"We'll be out in a minute," Asami said back. She looked into the mirror as she fastened her hoop earrings. She peered closely at her makeup and frowned. "I need a touch more eyeliner." She reached into her makeup bag and pulled out the pencil before tracing around her eyes lids.

Her bathroom door opened and light spilled into the room as Korra emerged. Asami noticed her in the mirror first before turning around a big smile was on her face. "You look great," she said. "Let me take a closer look at you."

Korra's hair was still up in her signature wolftails. She wasn't wearing any makeup except for eyeliner which took all of an hour and a half to get Asami to convince her to wear it. She was dressed in a blue and white tank with an allover print of lines forming some geometric shapes. It had an open back with crossing straps. Her binding was visible underneath the shirt but Korra like it because it added an "edge" to her clothes. She decided to match it with black skinny jeans, with the holes in the knees that she had accidentally ripped hours earlier, and a pair of black shoes.

"You look amazing!"

"Thanks." Korra looked at herself in the mirror before flushing slightly. "You look great too. I'm ready to go," she announced while slipping on her jacket.

"Don't you carry a purse?" Asami asked as she walked over to her closet. She flicked on the light and gazed at a spin rack of different clutches. She chose a red pocketbook.

"Have you ever seen me carry a purse?" Korra asked.

"Okay, Mako, let's head out," Asami said as she flung her bedroom door open. Mako looked up from a magazine he was reading. She smiled softly as he looked at her outfit. "You look fantastic," he said before walking over and giving her a hug.

Asami had pulled her hair to her right shoulder and had braided the left side for an asymmetrical look. She was dressed in a red and black body conscious lace dress with a sweetheart neckline. The lace was red while the rest of the dress was black. She matched it with black high heeled ankle boots.

"Thank you. You look very handsome," she complimented him. Mako was wearing a dark red dress shirt with a grey vest on top along with his signature red scarf. He had dark grey skinny jeans and black shoes. His hair was up in his usual disheveled look.

"Okay, I'm ready," Korra said as she flicked off Asami's bedroom light. Mako looked up and his eyes widened when he looked at Korra. He pulled away from Asami and walked a bit closer to the Avatar. "Hey Mako, looking sharp."

"Thanks," he said slowly. He gestured his hands up and down her body. "You look….wow. You look gorgeous."

"Oh, thanks," she said while shifting from foot to foot. "You should thank Asami. She picked it out for me. I'm not good with the whole shopping thing.

The two turned in her direction. Asami quickly straightened up and thinned out her lips she didn't know she had pursed a few seconds ago. She ran her hand through her hair, to hide her questioning look with her palm before smiling brightly.

"Let's go. I'm sure the party is raging by now."

---

"This is cool," Korra shouted as they entered The Midnight Dragon. The dance club was packed with people and loud music. She winced at first as she felt the bass rocking through her chest. As a guy passed, he whistled at her and Asami. She sent him a sharp glare as Asami just rolled her eyes and shook her head.

The Midnight Dragon was decorated with red, blue, orange, and green silks, emulating the respected colors of the Four Nations. Tables and sitting areas lined the walls of the building by the windows. A giant bar was at the back of the room, filled with numerous colored bottles. Stairs in the back right hand corner of the room lead to a second floor.

"I didn't expect it to be this loud." Korra grunted as someone elbowed her in the back as they walked past towards the bar. "Or this packed." When she was hit in the back again, she made sure she socked the passer-by with her elbow. Twice. Hard.

"It's one of the hottest spots in Republic City," Asami explained.

"You've been here before?" Mako yelled.

"Once or twice," she said while holding her hand out for Korra's and Mako's jackets. She slipped off her purse and her jacket before walking over and hanging them up on hooks in a small nearby coat room. "Are you ready to dance?" she held out her hand towards Mako.

"Anyone want a drink?" Korra asked.

"How will you get us drinks? We're underage?" Mako called over his shoulder as Asami pulled him out to the dance floor.

"I'm the Avatar." Mako rolled his eyes at her response. "And I was going to get a soda." He let Asami pull him onto the dancefloor. The song Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon started to play over the music. Asami felt herself happier than ever as she danced with him. They were in perfect sync. Mako didn't move too much at first.

He's either self-conscious about dancing or isn't that open of a person, Asami thought as she watched him. Gradually over the course of a few more songs which included Get Busy by Sean Paul, Temperature by Seam Paul, and Fire Burning by Sean Kingston he loosened up and seemed to have more fun. Asami moved and swayed easily with each new song.

"I'm going to get us something to drink," Mako shouted in her ear. She nodded but continued to dance to the beat of the music. She smiled at other dancers as they made eye contact. A loud roar erupted from the corner of the room. Asami looked over and couldn't help but laugh in shock when she noticed Korra standing up on one of the tables, dancing to the music with a red cup in her hand. Every time some of the liquid splashed over the side, she quickly waterbent it back into the cup, making it ripple to the bass of the song.

Asami grunted as someone pushed into her back. She turned and was about to yell at the person but stopped when she spotted Rika grinning at her. "Hey Sato," she said cheerfully.

"Hi, Rika. What are you doing here?" Asami asked. She felt herself instantly tense up and a wave of dread wash over her. "How did you know I was coming?"

"Relax, I'm not stalking you or anything," Rika said with a laugh. She reached out and pushed Asami lightly on the shoulder. "You know how popular this place is. I come every Saturday night."

Did she mean to push me over or is she actually acting nice? "Are you having fun?" Asami asked politely. She felt her body start to relax a bit.

"Yes, I am. My date and I are having a blast."

"I didn't know you were seeing someone."

"We've been on and off for a while. Nothing too serious."

"Asami, how have you been?" a gravelly voice asked. Asami quickly turned around and felt her jaw drop in shock as Iroh II walked by her with two drinks in his hands. He passed it to Rika who graciously thanked him for it before giving him a really big kiss.

She felt her stomach churn. A wave of heat rushed up the back of her neck. "I've been good," she said slowly. He nodded a few times before taking a sip from his cup. "I didn't know you were back in the city."

"It's just for a short time before I'm shipped out again," he answered.

"You look like you're doing well." She wrung her hands before crossing her arms over her chest. He took another sip from his cup. "So, how did you two meet?" she asked.

"Under special circumstances," Rika said with a smile. She looped her arm through his and rested her head on his shoulder. Iroh tried to pull away from him. He rapidly shook his head. "It was during the Frostival Event back in our sophomore year."

Oh, the Frostival. I remember that night. The carnival was fantastic…but I didn't have much fun because I was waiting to get an email response from Iroh. I was glued to my phone all night. Everyone kept making comments about me being anti-social and….wait a second.

They met during Frostival. Iroh had left the day before because we had broken up. He said he would email me to let me know he got back safe, as one last kept promise.

The Frostival. I had invited him to go with me that weekend and he was really hesitant to go, but decided to make the trip anyway. When we broke up, he said that it was because the distance made everything harder. That was after right before our goodbye…night. After I thought the goodbye was just him shipping out again.

Asami must have showed her progression of emotions on her face because the longer it took for the words to sink in, Rika's smile widened. Iroh watched with a pained expression.

"The Frostival?" Asami repeated before turning to look at Iroh. She struggled to keep her voice calm but it cracked a few times. "That was around the time we…and you…and her?" She tried hard to clear her throat, but that painful lump quickly rose. "You lied to me?"

"I didn't mean to hurt you." Iroh took Asami by the shoulders. She placed her hand on his chest and roughly pushed him away. A few people started to gather to watch. Asami glared at them, and they quickly went back to dancing.

"A lot of good that does me," she shouted. "And it's not even an apology," she pointed out. "How could you do this to me? You know how involved I was. If I had known, I wouldn't have…I wouldn't have-"

"Been so loose?" Rika filled in the blank.

Did she just call me a…She called me a… Asami bit her bottom lip. She turned on her heel and marched away, ignoring the other dancers she ran into. Over the music, she thought she heard someone call out her name but she wasn't too sure. A second later a hand clasped her shoulder. Asami turned and looked at Korra, blinking rapidly.

"Are you okay?" Korra shouted over the music. Asami looked up at her and shook her head slowly. She covered her mouth with a hand before bursting into tears. Korra grabbed her other hand before pulling her to her feet. "Do you want to go?" Asami nodded. "Let's go. I'll text Bolin." Asami nodded before being pulling along.

Korra elbowed her way through the crowd. She shot glares to anyone who had shouted out in offense. They took note of the anger on her face before stepping out of the way. Asami muttered quiet apologies over her shoulder.

"What happened?" Mako asked as Korra almost ran into him. He was holding two glasses of drinks in his hands. He put them onto a nearby table before placing his hands on Asami's shoulders. "Are you alright?"

"You need to drive us," Korra said. Asami reached into her pocket and pulled out her keys. "I don't think she'll be able to. I'm going to get out jackets and bags."

"We just got here 45 minutes ago," he said. Korra rolled her eyes and glared at him. "It's no problem," Mako said. He took Asami by the hand and led her out of the club. "Should we text Bolin and Opal and tell them not to come?"

"No, I want to see them," Asami said as she sniffed. "Bolin's energy will help me."

Korra received their jackets and Asami's purse from the holding room before making her way towards the front of the club. She spotted Rika talking to a few people. A second later their eyes locked. Rika smirked and raised an eyebrow. In response, Korra drew her finger across her neck before giving her the finger.

---

Opal sighed as she and Bolin entered the elevator in Asami's apartment building. "I'm sorry if my family embarrassed you," she mumbled.

"They didn't embarrass me," Bolin said. "It was kind of nice. It felt like a real family moment. Picking on everyone. It was great!" he smiled brightly.

"Well they sure embarrassed me."

Bolin placed an arm around her shoulders and gave her a brief side hug. After a few seconds he quickly pulled away before rubbing the back of his neck. "That's what families do. At least, I think," he admitted. "Apparently I can embarrass Mako from time to time."

"Your parents don't embarrass you?" Opal questioned. She bit her lip and instantly regretted asking the question when she noticed Bolin's eyes had lost some of its shine. She waited patiently as he twisted his lips, thinking of what to say.

"They died when we were young," he admitted quietly. "It is just me and Mako. Always has been and always will be."

"Oh, I'm sorry."

"It's okay." Bolin shrugged. He then placed a hand on her shoulder and gave it a big squeeze. "My friends make up for it," he said sincerely. "You make up for it."

Opal flushed. She placed her hand on his shoulder and gave it a squeeze. She then slowly dropped her hand down his arm to her shoulder. She pried it off before slipping her hand into his. Bolin looked down at their cupped hands in confusion before blushing himself.

"Hey, we're here," Bolin said when he noticed Asami's apartment building. He pulled Opal up to the doors and punched in the access code that Korra had texted to Opal. They entered the elevator and pressed the "P" button. As they rode in silence, Opal felt Bolin's hand starting to shake and turn a little sweaty.

He pulled his hand away. Opal slouched a little bit, but then brightened back up when she noticed Bolin wiping his hand on his pant leg before taking her hand again. Opal let out a low whistle as the elevator doors opened. The two stepped into the small hallway and walked up to the only door. She knocked twice.

"Who's ready for a party?" Bolin shouted as Mako let him into the apartment. He paused for a second as Mako and Korra exchanged looks. He took Opal's coat and handed it to Mako before walking into the living room. "Whoa," Bolin said slowly. He noticed Asami sitting on the couch dabbing at the corners of her eyes. "Why the long faces?" he whispered.

"Asami had a run in with Rika at the club," Korra explained. She clenched her jaw tightly. "Wait until I see her again." She punched her palm with her fist. Asami jumped at the sound but still didn't get up from the couch. "Anyway," Korra pushed Opal, Bolin, and Mako out of earshot towards the hallway, "we need to cheer her up."

"How?" Bolin asked.

"I," Korra lifted a finger in the air, "have no idea," she concluded.

"Well, what is she interested in?" Opal questioned.

"…Cars and fashion," Korra answered. "That I know of, so far."

"I have an idea!" Bolin shouted happily. "Opal and Korra, come with me!" he grabbed them by the arms and charged into Asami's bedroom. "You go talk to your girlfriend," Bolin said with a smirk.

"We're not…oh, never mind," he mumbled before walking out into the living room. "How are you doing?" Mako asked gently as he sat down next to Asami. He was sitting a cushion away from her. Asami shrugged her shoulders as she picked at the nail polish on her fingers.

"It sucks to know that someone you trusted could easily stab you in the back and hurt you," she muttered. She got up from her seat on the couch before heading to the bathroom. A few seconds later she returned with a bottle of nail polish remover and a few pieces of toilet paper. "Usually, I can spot hidden agendas from a mile away." Asami lifted her head and looked pointedly at Mako. "Or if it's staring me right in the face."

"That girl, Rika is her name, probably just has a lot of pent up aggression and is taking it out on you," Mako said. "She kind of remind me of Korra." He chuckled. "So headstrong and will say what's on their mind. However, she doesn't make it malicious. It does tend to get her into trouble though-"

"Mako, do you like Korra?" she interrupted. As the silence stretched she poured some of the nail polish remover onto the toilet paper before scrubbing at her fingernails.

"What?" he ran a hand through his hair, "What makes you say that?"

"You never answered my question," Asami said with a sad smile. "And, I could tell by the way you looked at her after we got dressed."

"I don't want to ruin our friendship," he said slowly, "but I've liked her for a while. If things hadn't messed up between us then-"

"Wait." She dropped the piece of toilet paper, ignoring the little bit of nail polish remover running down the side of her hand. "Did you two date?"

"For about four months after we first met." Mako nodded. "But, all we did was argue. That's why we're better off as friends. However, it's hard to get over your first love."

"You loved her?" Asami repeated. "She said that she doesn't want you to disappear out of her life since you were friends. I thought it was because of some deeper reason. Something like you tend to focus all of your attention on the girls you're interested in."

"Yeah, I guess that could be possible." He shrugged before slumping more into his seat.

"I think you were using me to get over her, in a way. I mean, we just had our first date tonight, but just a few days ago you were holding my hand, or kissing my cheek like we've been dating for a while," she continued.

"I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable," Mako instantly apologized.

"You didn't, but I just became friends with Korra and we're really getting to know each other. I didn't have any girl friends until she and Opal came around and I don't want this to cause her to take any steps back and out of my life."

"Korra has nothing to do with this," he insisted.

"Korra has everything to do with this," Asami shot back. She cleared her throat and dropped her voice to a hush as Opal stepped back into the room and made her way over to the stereo. Asami noticed that she was wearing one of her nicer dresses, but didn't comment on it. Opal hooked her mp3 player up to the speakers and started to scroll through her music. "I like Korra, and I like you too. I don't want things to be weird between all of us."

"Me neither," Mako said quickly. "It won't. I-"

"Okay, are you two ready?" Opal shouted in excitement. Asami and Mako turned her attention towards the girl. It was then that they noticed Opal was dressed in a long red tunic over a black pleated skirt and knee high white socks with little pink bows on them.

"Ready for what?" Asami asked slowly.

"Our 'Cheer Asami Up, Fashion Show'!" she explained. "Starring me, Bolin, and Korra!"

"Say what?" Mako frowned.

Opal excitedly pressed the play button the stereo remote she was holding. A few seconds later, Do the Catwalk by Girls' Generation, was being played throughout the room. Asami looked over at Mako in surprise before she burst out laughing as Bolin came rushing out of her bedroom, dragging a reluctant Korra by the wrist behind him.

Bolin was dressed in drag by wearing the exact same makeup Asami usually wore along with a red cloche hat, a black and white mini dress, which stopped at his muscular thighs, a pair of fishnet stockings, and red converse sneakers.

Korra was wearing one of Asami's black blazers, a white dress shirt, black pants, a matching tie, and a grey fedora. She had taken down her wolftails so that her hair cascaded down her back.

The three of them paraded around the room to the beat of the song. At first, Korra just did some random poses and rolled her eyes but eventually got into the music and started dancing along.

"Come on, Mako," Opal reached out and grabbed him by the hand before pulling him up to his feet. Korra took the fedora off of her head and placed it on his head. Mako twirled Opal around the room. She laughed when she noticed Bolin dancing with Pabu in his arms.

Korra carefully slipped off her tie before placing it around Asami's neck and tugged gently on the end to pull her to her feet. "Let's go, this is for you to make up for the disastrous night."

"This really did cheer me up." Asami looked over at Mako, Opal, and Bolin. They were standing in a line and attempting to do the can-can to the beat of the music. After a few kicks they fell over in a heap on the ground, laughing hysterically. "Thanks, Korra."

"Don't thank me," Korra said while taking Asami's hand and spinning her. "It was Bolin's idea."

"No, thanks for helping me tonight."

"Those girls need to be put back in their place." Korra pulled Opal to her feet. With her strength she accidentally lifted the girl up off of the floor and into an arc in the air before she landed gracefully on her feet. Opal and Asami shrieked with laughter. "Let me know if they bother you again. I'll handle it."

"Good." Asami caught her breath as she placed a hand on her chest. She fanned at her eyes to stop the tears. "Because I don't think I can. I've been dealing with them for years." She paused when she noticed Korra's eyes narrow a bit. "You have a question," she said knowingly.

"I do, but I'll use it tomorrow." Korra shrugged. The music quickly switched to 2PM's Go Crazy. Bolin immediately started to perform the signature dance. "Right now, just enjoy the party."

"Thanks," Asami shouted over the music. Everyone, including Pabu, got into a big circle and started to perform the group's choreography. Pabu ran in between everyone's legs as they danced.

"What are friends for?" Korra muttered into her ear.

Chapter Text

Asami sniffed before rolling over to her side. Her chest moved up and down as she breathed deeply. Her mouth hung open a bit, allowing a little dribble of drool to seep out onto her bed pillow

She sniffed, a bit harder this time, before flipping to the other side. A soft grunting sound followed. A few moments later perspiration began to drip down her back. Asami mumbled before moving onto her back. She squirmed in her sleep, trying to get the feeling off.

With a gasp, Asami's eyes snapped open. She breathed deeply while sitting up in bed. Asami looked around the room, chuckling a bit to herself. A few seconds later a bitter, albeit familiar, smell entered her nose. "Smoke?" she muttered.

Asami flung the covers off before slipping out of her bed. She yanked her bedroom door opened and rushed into the living room. Her eyes widened when she noticed smoke pouring out of the kitchen. "Not again," she muttered.

"Did I wake you?" Korra asked as she emerged through the smoke. She quickly waved her arms in the air. Asami placed her hands on her head to keep her hair down as the Avatar airbent the smoke into a ball. "I wanted to surprise you." She walked over to a window and opened it before pushing the smoke out of the room.

"By burning my apartment down?" Asami rushed into the kitchen and turned the embers off under a pot. The boiling water quickly receded. She peered into the pot as Korra shuffled into the room behind her.

"By making you breakfast in bed," Korra explained.

"And that would consist of?"

"Noodles, noodles, and more noodles.

Asami lifted her head out of the pot before grabbing a pot holder. She grasped the handle and tilted it slightly so that Korra could see the yellow, brown, and black food at the bottom. "It's burnt," she commented.

"No, it's an added flavor." Korra took the pot out of her hands before grabbing a pair of tongs and filling up two small bowls.

"But it's kind of burnt," Asami insisted.

"Taste it first before you comment on it." Korra turned around and motioned with a jerk of her head for Asami to sit at the table since a bowl was in each of her hands. Asami chuckled a bit as Korra kicked her lightly on the backside as she made her way across the room. "Trust me. This is big in the Southern Water Tribe."

"So is pickled sea urchin noodles." Asami collapsed into her seat and rubbed her eyes. She smile thankfully as Korra placed a bowl and a pair of chopsticks in front of her.

"Trust me, if you can keep that down, this will be lighter on your taste buds," Korra said. She took her chopsticks and started to shovel her noodles into her mouth. Asami smiled as she watched the girl's cheeks puff up after every passing second.

Asami shrugged before eating a bit of her food. She smiled as the flavors hit her tongue. She gave Korra thumbs up as she continued. "Were you okay in the guest room?" Asami asked after raising a hand to cover her mouth as she chewed.

Korra swallowed her mouthful of food. She picked at the noodles sitting at the bottom of her bowl. "I didn't sleep in the guest room, I slept on the couch," she answered.

"Why?"

"The guest room was too far." Korra shrugged.

Asami stood up and looked through the entryway that connected the kitchen to the living room. She gazed back and forth between the couch and the guest bedroom door. "It's about ten feet away," she explained.

"Exactly, after our late night dance party, it was too far." Korra loudly slurped the rest of her food. "I was out the minute I sat down."

Asami grabbed a napkin from the middle of the table before dabbing around her lips. "Well I hope you're rested enough to get some studying done today," she reminded her.

"Oh, right." Korra waited patiently for Asami to finish her food before taking their bowls and placing them into the sink. She washed them with her waterbending before heading into the living room. Asami was seated on the floor with her back resting up against the couch and her laptop sitting on the table. Korra plopped down next to her and started to rummage through her bag.

"Do you have skype?" Korra asked as she placed her chemistry text book and a notebook onto the table. Asami made a sound of confirmation as she clicked through files on her computer. "Find Opal. I want to hear how her date went."

"We have to study," Asami said while plugging in her wireless mouse.

"We have all day to do that." Korra snatched the mouse out of her hand before dragging the cursor over to the Skype icon on the desktop. Asami reached out to grab the mouse back but Korra stuck out her tongue and held it an arm's length away.

"Then how about a compromise?" Asami asked. "We study for an hour and then we can video call Opal."

"Fine." Korra tossed her the wireless mouse. She tapped her fingers on the notebook cover as she watched Asami pull up a chemistry program on her computer. "Why did you get so nervous this morning?" she asked. Asami looked at her with furrowed eyebrows. "About the smoke?" she pressed.

Asami chuckled. "I didn't expect that to be your second question."

"It isn't. It'd technically be my third question."

"Then what's your second?"

"What happened last night?" Asami looked over at Korra in disbelief. The Avatar crossed her arms over her chest and shrugged her shoulders. "You have a choice between the two questions. You do also have a pass and a throw out. Choose wisely," she joked. Asami clicked her tongue before gazing down at her fingernails. She still had a few bits of leftover polish left on her thumbs. She started to pick it off. "Oh, it's serious," Korra said quietly. "Forget it."

"No, it's okay." Asami pushed her laptop further back on the table. She turned towards Korra and rested her elbow on the couch. She propped her head up with her hand. "I ran into my ex-boyfriend last night. Apparently he's dating Rika and she was flaunting it in my face," she admitted.

"Is that why you ran out?" Korra asked.

"Among other things. She brought up something I kind of regret."

"Oh." Korra quickly grabbed her chemistry textbook and flipped it open. "So, chapter one. Welcome to Chemistry."

"I may as well tell you," Asami said while rubbing her forehead. "His name is Iroh, he is the grandson of Lord Zuko and the son of Fire Lord Izumi." She looked up at the ceiling in thought. "We had met and started dating in my freshmen year and he was a junior. At first, I only dated him to make my father mad."

"Why?"

"Long story" Asami shook her head and waved her hand in the air. She took in a deep breath before continuing. "Eventually, I grew to genuinely like him. In fact, I was in love with him. Or at least I thought I was. He decided to join the United Forces and he dropped out of school to pursue it. I waited for him, because I felt that we'd be together forever. Around this time we started fighting and I really wanted things to work out. The Forstival is a carnival event held at my school, and I wanted to go with him. I basically had to convince him to come out. A few days before the, carnival I knew things were getting bad between us, but I just didn't want to let him go. He was going to be shipped out again after the carnival so I wanted one more weekend with him."

"That's understandable," Korra said quietly. She had pulled a pillow off of the couch and held it to her chest.

Asami shrugged. Her bottom lip jutted out and started to quiver. "We got into another fight, it was about something stupid, I don't really remember. Looking back, I knew it wasn't worth it. Iroh and I just decided to break up and he wanted to leave a day early to go back to where he was stationed, but I begged him not to break things off until after we had a great last night. Then, I got carried away and I slept with him.

Korra gasped. Asami looked over at her in confusion. The Avatar blushed and quickly dropped her head. Asami smiled softly before continuing. "I thought it would make him stay, but he still left. I still went to the Frostival but I didn't pay too much attention to it. I was waiting for him to just tell me he made it back to where he was stationed safely. I was basically made fun of for being anti-social."

"They just look for small reasons don't they?" Korra interrupted.

"If only I knew the real reason, but yeah. He emailed me and said he got back and that he'd always care about me and we ended it. Then, two years later I see him at the club with Rika and she throws it into my face that Iroh cheated on me around the time of the Frostival with her."

"Oh, I'm sorry."

"She basically called me a slut for sleeping with him, but I was in love. Or at least, I thought I was. There's just something about him. He's really good looking and gentle, sweet, and kind. He will stand up for anything and anyone. Maybe I was blinded by the uniform or his heroic actions, like the idea of him saving people. He kind of saved me in a way."

"It takes a real creep to cheat on someone," Korra commented. She pulled the pillow away from her body before giving it a hard punch. A seam popped open and feathers flew out in the air. Asami raised an eyebrow at her, as Korra smiled sheepishly and tossed the pillow back onto the couch. "How great could he be?"

Asami looked at Korra for a second before reaching for her laptop. She clicked the mouse a few times, before pushing her laptop in Korra's direction so she could see the screen. Asami waited patiently for her reaction.

"God damn, he's hot!" Korra exclaimed.

"I know," Asami said with a shrug.

"Well, you're better off without him." She placed a hand on her shoulder and lightly jostled the engineer. Korra smiled brightly as Asami started to chuckle. "Someone better will come along."

"I think they already have," Asami said quietly while brushing some hair back behind her ear. She grabbed a pencil from the wire spine of Korra's notebook before ripping a piece of paper out of it. She rapidly scribbled a few things down after reading something from the chemistry program on her computer screen.

Korra smiled slyly. "So, you're that interested in Mako?" she asked. Asami bit the inside of her cheek. She turned towards Korra and started to twiddle a pencil in between her fingers.

"I have a question for you," Asami said slowly as Korra opened her textbook again. "It'll be my second."

"Shoot."

"Do you love Mako?"

The room was silent except for the soft hum of Asami's laptop fan. Korra slowly lifted her head and looked over at Asami with confusion. "Yeah, of course," she said sharply.

"I'm not talking as a friend," she added.

"Oh," Korra said simply. "Then, no."

Asami blew sharply out of her nose. "I don't know. I just kind of get the feeling that something else I going on," she said slowly.

"No, we're just best friends." Korra closed the textbook with a snap. "We are argue way too much to be together."

He told me that exact same thing, but he actually admitted that he loved her, Asami thought while continuing to mess with the pencil in her hands.

"Don't worry. You and Mako seem to work pretty well together."

"So, you won't mind if I continued to date him?" Asami asked. Where did that come from? We basically broke up last night. At least, I think we did. It wasn't too clear. It was my intention, though.

"Who am I to stop you?" Korra asked. "And for the record, I love all of my friends. Mako, Bolin, Opal, Tenzin, his kids, Pema-"

"Oh, so you don't love me?" Asami joked. She couldn't help but holder her breath as Korra took a few moments to respond. Korra placed the textbook onto the table before leaning back against the couch and lacing her fingers behind her head to cup her neck.

"I don't know you that much," she said dismissively.

"I just told you I lost my virginity when I was sixteen," Asami shot back. She made sure she smiled wide enough so that Korra would know she didn't mean to be taken too seriously. "Right now, you know plenty. I don't know too much about you.."

"What do you want to know?" Korra asked.

"What was it like growing up in the south?"

Korra let out a bark of laughter. "You're going to waste your third question on that?"

"I started with two hard questions, I figured you would like a break." Asami winked.

She chuckled while shaking her head. "Well, I grew up in the Southern Water Tribe near the South Pole with my parents in the White Lotus Compound. Here, I have a picture." Korra rummaged through her backpack before pulling out a crumpled photo. She handed it over to Asami. "That's my mom Senna and my dad, Tonraq. They're amazing and two of my favorite people in the world. It was just the three of us as I grew up and trained to be the Avatar. Of course, that is until Naga came along."

"Wait, the three of you?" Asami looked up from the photo.

"I didn't have many friends back home," Korra said quietly. Her blue eyes turned a darker shade. "Or any, really."

"Why not?"

"Because of the compound." Asami tilted her head to the side. "Oh, so Mako never told you," Korra deduced. "If I wasn't training in waterbending with Master Katara, or healing with Master Kya, her daughter and Tenzin's sister, then I would just have other people come to me to train me in earthbending and firebending."

"So how did you come to Republic City?"

"My parents thought it'd be great to get some more education outside of the South Pole and this way I could learn airbending from Tenzin." Korra stretched her arms above her head. "I watched over his and Pema's children somewhat as a trade. Then I met Mako and Bolin and we've been close friends since."

"I'm sorry," Asami blurted out. "That you didn't have many friends," she added.

"Some parents thought I'd be a danger to their children. I can be a hot head sometimes. I just wanted one friend, a girl who I could hang out with and talk about stuff guys wouldn't understand. I mean I love my mom, and Master Katara, and Master Kya, and Pema, but there's just something's I don't want to talk to them about. Do you know how embarrassing it was to have them try and teach me about…our monthly visitor?

"I don't think I want to know, but things have worked out now. You have me and Opal

"Yeah, I do." Korra smiled. Asami smiled gently in return. The two sat, looking at each other, in silence before a notification popped up on the computer screen. Korra sat up and peered at the small font. "Opal accepted your contact request," she explained before the Skype ringtone poured from Asami's computer.

"Hey guys," Opal said cheerfully once her video camera turned on. "Did Bolin leave a shoe there?"

"Haven't seen one," Korra answered.

"Wait, a shoe?" Asami repeated.

"Long story." Opal rolled her eyes and shook her head. "How do you not notice that you're missing a shoe?"

"Don't girlfriends usually check up on a guy's things for them?" Korra asked with a half smile. Opal groaned and hid her face in her hands but not before a light blush raced across her cheeks.

"How did your family date go?" Asami changed the subject.

"It was good," Opal admitted, "and then bad, and then embarrassing, and then super embarrassing, and then great."

"What made it great?" Korra asked.

"We held hands," Opal said excitedly. Asami placed a hand over her mouth to hide her smile as scratched her head. "And, I thought he was pulling away because he didn't want to hold my hand but he was just wiping the sweat off."

"Leave it to a freshman to be excited about hand holding," Korra snickered.

"Hush, Korra." Asami picked the pillow, that Korra had destroyed, off of the couch and tossed it into the Avatar's face. "It's sweet," she insisted. "Besides, I don't think she should rush into anything. She's still young."

"I'm not that young," Opal said with a scowel.

"So are you officially boyfriend and girlfriend yet?"

"No, but I could as you the same question." Asami furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. "Bolin says Mako won't stop talking about you. He keeps muttering about something under his breath and your name always pops up."

"Really?" Asami asked in disbelief. "After our talk last night I didn't think he would-"

"What talk?" Korra wondered.

"Nothing. We were just mentioning where we see this going."

"Well he seems to really really like you," Opal explained. "Bolin is already calling you his girlfriend and he hasn't denied it once."

"He hasn't?" Asami and Korra asked at the same time. Opal looked in between the two of them as Asami quickly turned to face the darker girl.

"Does this bother you?"

"No, why?" Korra questioned.

"No reason, just curious." Asami continued to keep her gaze on Korra until her cell phone started to ring. She plucked it off of the table and looked at the caller i.d. "Oh, he's calling. I'll be right back." Asami climbed to her feet and headed towards her bedroom before pressing the ANSWER button. "Hey, sweetie," she said a little loudly.

"Sweetie?" Korra repeated.

"I think it's cute," Opal gushed.

"Yeah, cute," Korra said as she rolled her eyes, "in a makes me want to vomit kind of way." She looked over at Asami's opened bedroom door. Her light laughter floated out into the living room.

Korra frowned.

Chapter Text

Korra: -11:32 AM- Are you busy? I need to talk to you

Asami: -11:32 AM- I have unscheduled period right now, but I can't leave. Working on Senior Project

She waited patiently for her phone to buzz with another text and was surprised when she saw Korra was calling."What's up?" Asami asked after hitting the ANSWER key. "Is something wrong?"

"No, I wanted to apologize about the love comment I made a few days ago," Korra said.

"What are you talking about?" Asami muttered. She held her phone in the crook of her neck and her ear before looking over the blueprints sitting on her desk.

"When I said I love my friends and then you said I didn't love you," she answered.

Asami frowned before smiling. She rolled her eyes and took a seat on her stool. "Korra-"

"I didn't mean to put you out or anything."

"Korra-"

"Sometimes I talk without thinking," Korra continued. "You know something about me that Mako and Bolin don't, which is kind of the point, but I technically didn't have to tell you." She took a deep breath. "Something about you makes it so easy to talk to you and I don't want to ruin anything."

"Korra!" Asami practically shouted. "I was joking when I made the comment," she announced.

"…You were?"

"Yeah." Asami's smile slowly faded. She started to trace her finger around the design she was working on. "I thought that was obvious," she muttered.

Korra burst out laughing on her end of the phone. Asami would have found it funny too if she wasn't so bothered about the misunderstanding. "You know, we've only been friends for about a month and I have to be honest, you are terrible when it comes to jokes."

"I am?" Asami's eyebrows rose as she processed the news.

"But that's not a bad thing," Korra quickly added. "I just think it's because you're very smart. Like, when you blurted out the fact about their being a place called Hell in the Fire Nation."

"Yeah, I ruined that joke," she sighed.

"No, that's a part of your charm." Asami felt herself smile. "No one else I know can do what you do. It's really cool." She tried to find the words to thank Korra but couldn't. She felt a tear trickle down her cheek Asami blinked in surprise as she touched it with her cheek.

I've never cried from happiness before.

"Well, all I called for was to apologize but now that I don't have to I guess I'll hang up," Korra said.

"Okay, I'll see you at practice tonight." Asami paused when she heard Korra make a sound of reluctance. "What"

"You don't want to come," Korra said slowly. "We haven't been doing too well."

"What's wrong?"

"We've just been out of sync," she admitted. "It could be nerves about the tournament coming up next month. I don't know. Lately things have been off."

"Oh, well Mako invited me."

"Of course he did," Korra mumbled.

"What did you say?"

"Nothing."

"Opal is going to go too," Asami added, "to cheer on Bolin."

"Oh, so I'm the only one without a cheering section?" Korra asked.

"Do you want me and Opal to help find you someone?" Asami said with a sly smile. "From what I hear, Tahno may be interested."

"I will never betray my team for the enemy," she said dramatically. Asami laughed loudly which resulted in Korra joining in. "I'll see you later."

Asami hung up her phone. She looked up when she heard the door to the classroom open. She forced herself not to show her discomfort as Rika sauntered into the room.

"So I guess you really are crazy if you're laughing at yourself, because clearly, no one else is here," Rika taunted.

"I was on the phone with my friend," Asami explained.

"So you say. Does she know about your dad?"

"Yes, and she doesn't care."

Rika scoffed. Asami continued to straighten up the room but couldn't help but eye the other girl as she moved around. "The Avatar doesn't care that your dad helped supply equipment to a group of rogue people set out to get rid of her bending?" she asked.

"No, because she knows it was my father and not me."

"Right, it's always about our parents," Rika muttered. Asami wasn't entirely sure if she had said something at first, because the girl's lips had barely even moved. "So if it's like father like daughter, in your case, does this mean you'll soon go crazy and end up in prison? I can only hope."

"Rika," Asami said as she gathered up her items. She placed them into her school bag before placing it onto her shoulder. Asami walked over to Rika by the door. She paused and looked her dead in the eye. "Bite me," she snapped.

Rika's jaw dropped in shock. Asami quickly exited the room. Once she closed the door behind her she heard the handle begin to rattle.

Her hands were shaking.

-One Month Later-

Korra groaned as Mako missed the dummy that was standing at the other end of the room. His firebending missed it by a few inches to the right.

"It's okay, sweetie, you'll get it," Asami called out. She and Opal were sitting on a bench in the room watching the practice. Opal had a tight grip on Asami's arm, flinching every time the dummy would get smacked by one of their elements. She would occasionally ask Asami some questions.

Korra rolled her eyes before motioning over to Bolin to attack the dummy with her. He didn't catch the look. He was too busy showing off a bit for Opal. After their first date the two had continued to hang out with each other, but still not declaring anything.

"Bolin! Can we focus please? The tournament is getting closer

"Right," Mako said as he cleared his throat.

"Got it," Bolin nodded.

"Let's try the hybrid combo again," Korra suggested. She rolled her head around a few times before clenching her hands into fists. She shifted into a stance and started to bounce lightly on the balls of her feet.

"Since when did you become captain?" he muttered.

"Since you two decided not to pay attention," she shouted. Bolin flinched and Mako looked at her in surprise. Opal instantly stopped talking to Asami. The engineer looked in between the three of them. Korra took a deep breath. "We have to get this right," she said quietly.

Bolin and Mako shrugged before shifting into a stance. Korra took a few steps forward and bent water like a whip at the dummy's feet. Bolin stomped his foot into the ground and then punched forward, pushing a disc of earth at the dummy's midsection, while Mako performed a quick martial arts combo before punching a burst of flames.

The heat from Mako's firebending caused Korra's water to instantly turn into vapor as he bent it towards the dummy's feet instead of its head. Bolin's earth disc hit the dummy in its knees before dropping to the ground.

Korra let out a roar of frustration as she ripped her helmet off of her head. "Okay, I can't take it anymore." She stormed over to her sports bag before shoving the helmet into her bag.

"What's wrong?" Bolin asked.

"What's wrong?" She quickly turned to face him. Bolin let out a light whimper and hid behind Opal and Asami, who had gotten up when Korra stormed over to her bag. "Our team is falling apart. We haven't had a decent practice since you two," she pointed to Opal and Bolin, "…and you two," she pointed between Mako and Asami, "got together. How are we going to win the tournament?

"Is someone jealous that they're alone?" Opal asked. Clearly she was joking but the comment caused Korra to yank at her hair.

"How many times are people going to ask me that?" she demanded.

"Relax, I was joking."

"Korra, what's really bothering you?" Mako demanded. "I can tell when you're about to explode. And this time, it may be literal."

"Nothing," she snapped. She grabbed her sports bag. "I'm going to go do my cool down." With that, she stormed out of the room and headed into the gym with all of the elliptical equipment. Korra dropped her bag by the door before climbing onto a set of skis. She started to rapidly pump her legs.

A few moments later the door opened and then closed. Without looking to see who had entered the room, Korra quickened her pace.

"So much for a cool down," Mako commented. He reached out and pressed the incline button before holding it higher the inclince went the slower Korra started to move. After a while she was grunting trying to force the skis into motion. Mako quickly pulled her down off of the equipment. "You might want to stop before you break it, and I believe you could."

"What?" she snapped while panting. "What do you want?"

Mako crossed his arms over his chest. "Are you bothered about me and Asami dating?" he asked.

Korra blinked. "No."

"You're such a terrible liar," he scoffed.

"I'm not lying." She couldn't help but raise her voice a little bit. She walked over to a nearby mat and picked up a medicine ball. She tossed it hard into the ground and caught it as it bounced back up. She repeated this over and over again.

"Just tell the truth, Korra," he insisted. She didn't have to look at him to know that he was somewhat happy with her reaction and that he had figured it out. "It makes your skin crawl that I'm seeing her. You just have to deal with it."

"You deal with it." Korra chest passed him the medicine ball. He grunted in pain as it slammed into his abdomen. She couldn't help but smile at his reaction.

"I am!" he coughed before straightening back up. "You're the one in denial." He threw the ball back to her. Korra easily caught it in one hand. She tossed it over her shoulder before regarding him.

"That's not it, Mako," she said quietly.

Mako was surprised at her sudden change of tone. He rubbed the back of his neck. "Then what is it?" he asked.

"I'm not doing this."

"Just tell me what's wrong," he pleaded. "You used to tell me everything. I thought we were best friends? Even though you're crazy, and annoying, and get upset way too quickly,and-"

"I get the point," she snapped.

"Look, whatever this is, clearly involves the two of us." Mako placed his hands on her shoulders. "Well, I guess the three of us, but I'm listening. What is it?"

"Every time you get a new girlfriend, you disappear," Korra explained. "You've ditched me many times in the past because of someone you're interested. Or you change plans on a whim and then leave me and Bolin out to dry." Mako slowly took his hands off of her shoulders before taking a step back. "Isn't it always friends before significant others?"

"Isn't that how relationships work?" Mako questioned. "You spend time with them to get to know them."

"But all the time?" Korra insisted. "I haven't been able to hang out with just you or just Asami for a while. Isn't that what you wanted me to do in the first place? Be friends with her? At irst I did it for you, but now I like hang out with her too but I don't get to do that as much without having to see Masami

"Masami?" he repeated.

"Yeah, like Brangelina or TomKat," she listed off. "Or…Bopal."

"Bopal?"

"I couldn't think of anything better," she admitted. "It was either that or Oplin. Although, I can't use their new name until they're official."

"I can see where you're coming from but that's what happens in life. Eventually we're both going to marry and we're going to have to get used to not always being there for each other. At least physically," Mako said gently. "Look, when we broke up, we agreed that we argue too much to be together. I'll always love you, and that will never change."

"Me too," Korra said.

The door to the room opened. Korra quickly took a step back and ran a hand through her hair as Asami entered the room. "Hey, there you two are," she called out while walking over. "Bolin and Opal just left."

"I'm going to head out and grab something to eat at the coffee shop across the street," Korra said while crossing the room to grab her sports bag. "I'll leave you two alone."

"Would you mind if I joined you?" Asami asked.

"No problem." Korra shrugged. "Just come over when you're done. I'll order you something."

Korra exited the gym and breathed deeply. Rain clouds had started to roll in. She walked over to the coffee shop and took a booth by the front windows so that Asami would see her when she walked in. She ordered two smores flavored iced coffees and a piece of pie for herself before taking her seat.

She checked her messages on her phone for the next twenty minutes before the bell to the font door clanged, signaling that someone had entered. Before Korra could look up, Asami slipped into the seat opposite of her. She dropped her jacket onto the cushion to her left before fluffing up her hair. Korra placed her phone onto the table before looking up at her.

"…Does Mako always take forever to make up his mind on something?" Asami asked.

Korra gasped. Asami watched in confusion as she looked at her with amusement. "You noticed that too?" she wondered. Asami started to chuckle. "Isn't it annoying?"

"It really is," she agreed.

"Sometimes I wonder how he gets dressed in the morning," Korra admitted. Asami threw her head back and laughed. She dabbed at the corners of her eyes and checked her fingers to make sure her makeup didn't start to run. "I ask for his opinion on a lot of things and all he ever says is-"

"Whatever you think is best," Korra and Asami said at the same time. They began to laugh again. A few people in the shop turned to look at them for a brief moment. "Exactly."

"I mean, if I don't know what decision to make, his advice doesn't really help," Korra continued.

Asami nodded as she caught her breath. She took a sip of her drink before pointing across the table at Korra. "Just so you know, you owe me for lying about how you actually felt." Korra's eyes widened a bit before squinting. "I kind of overheard you talking at the gym, but Mako had told me back when we went to the club." Korra hummed in response before taking a bite of her pie. "So, I'll ask you again: Do you love, Mako?"

Korra held up her finger as she chewed. Asami stirred her drink as she waited. After a minute, Korra propped her elbows up on the table before curling her fingers together. "Yes," she admitted, "but I don't think you can ever truly get over your first love. Like you and Iroh."

"I told you; looking back I wasn't actually in love. I don't think I've ever really known what love is."

"What about Mako?" Korra lifted her plate and pointed at the pie with her fork, before raising her eyebrows, silently asking Asami if she'd like some. Asami smiled before waving her hand. Korra shrugged and took another bite.

"We just broke up," Asami announced.

Korra's eyes widened. "Really? It's only been about a month and a half. What about all the sweeties and honeys?"

"Okay, I admit, we kind of over did it." Korra made a face. For the past month or so that they had been dating those two pet names was what she mainly heard coming from their mouths on the rare instances she was able to see them, both together and individually. As a result, Korra spent a majority of her time with Opal and Bolin. They didn't use pet names, which Korra was greatful for. Petnames to her was something that was just too...cute, and she can't stand cute. "He is different than Iroh. It was a lot easier with him seeing as we never really fought. It was a refreshing change of pace which is probably why I jumped right into it, which is ironic, because I keep telling Opal to take things slow. I did really like him, though. I wasn't doing it to make you jealous."

"Why would you think I was jealous?"

"Oh, I don't know," Asami said teasingly. "You storming out of rooms and yelling at people, and muttering sarcastic remarks under your breath on the phone," she trailed off.

Korra blushed in embarrassment. "You heard that?"

"I did."

"Like I told him: I wasn't jealous because it isn't me he's dating," Korra said. "I just don't like change or the idea of him not being around. He was my first friend here and he's very important to me."

"Yeah, I get that. That's why we broke it off. We felt that it'd be too weird to try and pursue something with your history." Asami shrugged. The Avatar groaned while running a hand through her hair. "To be honest, I don't think he ever fully got over you, either," she continued. She turned and looked out the coffee shop's window. It had started to rain. She followed the raindrops trickling their way down the window. "I kind of think he was only dating me so he wouldn't have to deal with his feelings for you, and I respect myself too much to get hurt again."

"That is understandable." Korra pointed at Asami with her fork. "Call us even on the lying thing, though."

"Why?" Asami focused her attention back to Korra. "I never lied to you."

Korra raised an eyebrow before half smiling. "Does your school actually have a racetrack?" she asked. Asami felt heat rush up the back of her neck. "Did you win a contest to design a satomobile?"

"…Oh, right," she said slowly as she recalled her words. A flush rose to her cheeks. Asami smiled sheepishly. "Call us even."

"That's what I thought you'd say."

Asami waited patiently as Korra finished off her pie. She tossed some yuan onto the table before getting up out of the booth. Upon exiting the coffee shop, Korra lifted her hand in the air, and waterbent the rain around them, acting like an invisible umbrella.

The two talked quietly as they walked the streets of Republic City towards Mako's and Bolin's apartment. As they passed an alleyway between two stores, they heard a loud scream. The two paused and watched as a man grabbed a purse out of a woman's hands and roughly pushed her up against the brick wall of one of the stores.

Korra was about to walk over, but Asami brushed past her. The man didn't see Asami coming. She quickly slipped her arms under his and pulled him off of the woman, throwing him about three feet away. The guy grunted as he landed on the ground and rolled.

Asami crouched down low and swept her leg out towards his ankles as he got this feet. His feet flew out from underneath him and he fell to the ground once more. She reached into her purse and pulled out a brown and black glove. A glowing green orb nestled at the wrist. Asami quickly charged it before placing it onto the man's arm.

With the combination of the electricity and the rain, the man instantly began to jerk as the current swam across his body. The woman screamed at the intensity. Asami removed her hand after a few seconds. The man groaned and grew still. She used her other hand and checked his pulse before standing up.

"Don't be scared," Asami said gently as she slipped the glove off of her hand. "I'm not an Equalist or a Chi Blocker. I just use this for my protection," she explained while slowly holding out the woman's purse.

The woman nodded rapidly before grabbing her bag with shaking hands. She smiled graciously. "Thank you, miss."

"No problem, ma'am," Asami said with a nod. She handed the woman back her purse. Korra stood back as the two exchanged phone numbers. She heard Asami say something about police and making sure she got home okay. Once the two went their separate ways, Asami stuffed her hands into her pockets and continued down the street as Korra rushed up behind her.

"That was awesome!" she exclaimed.

"What was?" Asami asked while brushing her damp hair out of her face.

"You need to teach me non-bending sparring because it could really come in handy," Korra insisted. Asami laughed through her nose at her excitement.

"When my schedule opens up a bit more, I'll teach you all that you want to know," she suggested.

"When will that be?"

"After my Senior Project Presentation in January. At the earliest."

Korra groaned. Asami watched in fascination as she stomped her foot. "But that's so far away," she whined.

"It's only three months. I think you can live."

"Okay, fine." Korra quickened her pace so that she could keep up with Asami. Her breathing pattern hadn't changed which meant, to Asami, that she was in much better shape than she had initially thought aside from noticing the girl's bulging muscles. "Fall Break is coming up. It'll be after the tournament," Korra changed the subject. "Mako, Bolin and I were going to head to my place in the South Pole. Of course my parents will be coming back with us for Family Weekend and Spirit Week the weekend after. Anyway, do you want to come?"

Oh no! Asami stopped walking once she heard the word family. She was sure she had a look of total fear on her face. She quickly changed it to a look of regret as Korra stopped and turned to look at her. "Oh, I can't. I have school at that time."

"When is your Fall Break?" Korra wondered.

"My school doesn't have a Fall Break," Asami explained. She felt her feet again and forced herself to behind walking once more.

Korra grabbed Asami's arm. "How do you survive?" she asked, with a look of horror. "The way Republic is set up we basically have some sort of break once a month."

"It's very competitive," she said with a shrug."They expect us to study and stuff all the time. Besides, I'm busy that weekend with some stuff."

"Oh okay. No problem." Korra reached into her pocket as her cell phone started to ring. "Oh, it's my mom," she announced before answering the phone. "Hey mom! Yeah, we almost have the plans finished. Nothing, just heading back to my apartment."

"My apartment?" Asami mouthed. Korra rolled her eyes.

"No, I'm not by myself. I'm with my best friend, Asami." Asami couldn't help but clasp a hand over her mouth and do a small jump as she heard those words. Korra looked at her and shook her head playfully. "Sure, hang on," she said before holing out her cell phone in Asami's direction. "My mom wants to talk to you."

"Best friend?"

"Well, best girl friend," Korra corrected. Mako and Bolin are interchangeable for my best guy friend depending on the day. Or my mood. Or how much they annoy me," she winked.

Asami laughed before placing Korra's cell phone to her ear.

I actually have a best friend. I'm someone's best friend. Things couldn't get any better.

Chapter Text

Rika hummed to herself as she ran a brush through her hair. She took noticed of the hickey on her neck and smiled while running her thumb over it. She tied her hair back with a purple headband before looking at herself in the mirror. She wrinkled her nose when she got a good look at her school uniform. "It'll have to do," she muttered.

"Rika, hurry up and come down for breakfast," a gentle voice called up the stairs. "Your friends will be here soon." Rika gasped and quickly started to shuffle around her small room, grabbing her books and notepads. She frowned when she accidentally bumped against the corner of a wall. Pieces of the fading yellow paint fell to the floor. Rika paused and looked around.

The paint on the walls had faded to a dull yellow over time and was starting to chip off bit by bit. The overhead light flickered a few times. Rika slammed her fist into the wall twice, near the switch, before it stopped flickering. A light hum filled the room. The wooden floor was swollen and creaked with every step she took.

"Coming," Rika called out as she finished gathering up her items. She threw her bag over her shoulder before rushing down the stairs. She ducked her head under a low hanging beam and brushed at her face as a spiderweb clung to her forehead. "What's for breakfast?"

"Sine oatmeal and toast," her mother answered while putting a plate down across from her at the table. She slumped into her seat before picking up a newspaper. She sighed hard and started to browse the articles.

"Mom," Rika said softly. She smacked her oatmeal with the back of her spoon. "When can we move back home?"

"We are home," her mother answered without looking up from the paper. "You know we can't. We're spending a majority of our saved money to send you to RITA and-"

"I don't have to go to RITA. I can go back to my old school," she suggested.

Rika flinched as her mother slammed the newspaper to the table. The smacking sound resonated throughout the room. Her mother got up out of her seat and placed her hands on her daughter's shoulders. "No! You made it into the school with your own merit. You graduate in the Spring," she reminded her. "It's too late to change now. You are making your family so proud of you." She cupped Rika's cheek and gently stroked it with her thumb. Rika smiled softly before pulling away and attacking her breakfast. "So how is school going?"

"Great," Rika said around a mouthful of food. "I'm the top in my class." She felt her smile weaken and the corner of her lips twitch. She quickly dropped her head so that her mother wouldn't see the guilty look on her face.

"That's nice, honey," her mother patted the back of Rika's hand that was resting on the table. "How is that Sato girl, Asami? You don't talk about her anymore," she commented.

"We're not really friends anymore."

"Why not?"

Do you have three hours? "She just changed," Rika said evenly. "She started to think she was better than us. Now she has new friends and just keeps flaunting it. She is close with Avatar Korra and her group, apparently."

"Well, friendships do change," her mother said gently. "Maybe you just need to tell her how you feel."

"Right, mom," Rika sneered. Her mother closed her eyes tightly for a few seconds before opening them again. She flipped the newspaper to the front and scanned a few of the articles.

"I visited your uncle the other day," she announced.

Rika nodded. "How is Uncle Lau doing?"

"His company is slowly getting back on its feet," her mother explained. "After the whole Equalist movement and Hiroshi framing him, it's made things harder, I admit."

"Obviously, mom." Rika rolled her eyes. "I mean, look at where we live." She held her hands out and waved them around, motioning to everything in the small room.

"Rika, you know the family is trying to get back on its feet."

"I know, mom. I'm sorry."

"I just think it was great that you and Asami were still friends, at least up until recently," her mother admitted. "I'm sure it was hard knowing her father was involved. It's a good thing that she doesn't share his beliefs."

"Yeah, good thing," Rika muttered. She finished the rest of her breakfast before placing her dishes into the sink. She shuffled around the room grabbing a few pieces of food before putting them into a ziplock bag and placing them into her backpack. "I have to get going. I love you, mom," she said while kissing her lightly on the cheek.

Rika slipped on her shoes, grabbed her house keys, and exited the apartment. She flew down the metal stairs before running down the block. She didn't stop running until she reached the front gates to a large living community. She slowed her pace to a walk and breathed heavily while sauntering up to an older man sitting in the gate booth.

"Morning," Rika called out as she walked up to the window. She rested her arms on the windowsile and flashed him a bright smile.

"Morning Rika," the older man said. He tipped his hat in her direction before smiling warmly. "How have you been? You haven't stopped by my apartment in a while. Is everything okay with your mom?"

"Yup, everything is fine." Rika nodded. "And, school is okay, I guess. I mean, it's school."

"I bet you're ready to graduate."

"Yes and no." Rika sighed hard and ran a hand through her hair. "Sometimes I want to leave but then other times, I just want to stay. I don't want things to change too much," she admitted.

The older man nodded in understanding. He then pointed over Rika's shoulder. "I think your friends are here to pick you up," he said. "Why don't you just tell them? If they're really your friends they won't think any less of you."

"That's what you think," she mumbled. Rika then reached into her school bag and pulled out a large ziplock bag containing a banana, a carton of yogurt, and a sandwich. "Oh, here. I brought you something to eat. It's not much."

"Thank you Rika," the older man leaned forward and gave her a light kiss on the forehead.

"You're welcome," Rika patted him lightly on the arm. "I'll stop by for a visit later. I promise." She pushed herself away from the windowsill and started to walk over to the car that had pulled up.

"Have a good day," he called out.

"You too." Rika gave him a wave. She rushed over to the car and quickly climbed into the backseat. "What's up, guys?" she asked while buckling herself in.

"The whole town is abuzz with the tournament after school," Manami answered as she adjusted the rearview mirror. Kiyoko was fixing up her lipstick in the side mirror. "The Fire Ferrets are the most talked about team, aside from the Wolf Bats."

Rika made a noise of discontent as they pulled away from the living community's gates and into the city. "I'm getting tired of Sato

"What'd she ever do to you?" Kiyoko questioned. She adjusted the side mirror to get a better look at her reflection. Manami rolled her eyes and pressed a button in the car to re-adjust it.

"She just thinks she's better than everyone else," Rika said as she smoothed out her skirt. "It's really annoying."

"Whatever happened to your plan of 'knocking her down a peg'?" Manami wondered.

"I told her about me and Iroh." Rika smiled as she petted the hickey on her neck. She then started to giggle at the memory of Asami crumbling in front of her. "You should have seen her face. It was classic."

"I can't believe you stole her boyfriend." Kiyoko crossed her arms over her chest.

"It's not my fault guys find me irresistible." She gathered up her hair into a ponytail before letting go and having the strands drape across her back. A car quickly drove past them. A few high school boys let out cheers and whistles. Rika winked and waved back.

"I don't think the way you throw yourself around counts as irresistible."

"Harsh, Kiyoko," Manami commented.

"Is there a problem?" Rika leaned forward in her seat.

"No," Kiyoko said slowly, "I just think you should-"

"Since when do you think?" Rika snapped. "You have some of the lowest scores in our class." Manami let out a soft whistle as Kiyoko bit her bottom lip. She looked up into the review mirror at Rika and glared. The girl held her gaze, but challenged her with a raised eyebrow. Kiyoko shook her head before looking away. "That's what I thought."

---

It was the day of Republic's pro-bending tournament. Teams from various schools across the city would gather at Republic City's arena to face off later in the day. Asami wore her team jacket to school, but was only allowed to wear it during unscheduled periods and lunch. So, she also tied her hair back with a red and white ribbon.

Everywhere she walked, she had a bounce in her step and a bright smile. She greeted everyone she passed and basically had a sunny outlook to her. It made Rika sick to her stomach. She had watched her throughout the day, laughing at something on her phone, answering phone calls and texts, or showing off in class by answering every question a teacher asked.

Once the school day was over, Asami raced from her classroom and towards her locker.

She slipped her jacket on before grabbing her bag. She closed the door and started to lock it when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She jumped and placed a hand over her heart and turned.

"Ms. Sato, may we talk for a few minutes?" Bataar Sr. asked.

"Is something wrong, sir?" Asami locked her locker door before leaning against it. She brushed her hair off of her shoulder and gazed up at him.

"No, it's about your senior project." He cleared his throat before reaching and pushing his glasses further up his nose. It didn't really help since they slid back down. "The entire faculty is excited to see the final product but you have yet to turn in your form to declare your advisor as well as anyone you'd think would beneficial in helping you with your project."

"I know, sir. I just need more time thinking of someone," she quickly explained, "and as for the assistant, I don't need one."

"The reason we have the Senior Project require assistants is to make connections that could help advance the students in the field they'd like to pursue further." Bataar Sr reached into his pocket and pulled out a wrinkled piece of paper. "We've assigned one to you," he explained while handing it to her.

"Well, how proficient are they?" Asami asked, looking down at the paper. "Do I have to remind you about the Robot Incident last year?"

"No, you don't." They both cringed. "But the contact information on the assistant is on that sheet of paper. Maybe you should talk to her and see if you can meet up one day."

Asami opened the paper and looked at the name at the top. "She graduated last year. I heard she was training to join the Metal Clan in Zaofu," she commented.

"Oh, she is." Bataar Sr nodded. "But she's working at the school part-time as a TA and we think she'd be perfect to assist you."

"If you say so." Asami shrugged. She folded the paper back up and shoved it into a side pocket of her bag. "I will turn in the form as soon as possible." He nodded once more. "Have a good weekend, sir." She smiled before heading down the hallway.

"You too, Ms. Sato. Enjoy the tournament."

"Oh, I will," Asami said.

"I also hope you'd be able to attend RITA's Family Weekend festivities going on this weekend," he added. Asami stiffened before turning back around to face him. "I will be out of town for Fall Break with the rest of my family, but I think you would be able to make some great connections with alumnae and legacy families there."

"I'll think about it." Asami gave him a swift nod before continuing down the hallway. She waved to a passing teacher before breaking into a run. She sent Mako, Korra, Bolin, and Opal a quick group text message before hopping into her car. She placed her phone in to the cup holder as she headed towards her apartment to get changed.

About halfway there her phone lit up. Asami quickly took her eyes off of the road and gazed at the screen. She expected a text message response but was surprised to see a giant phone symbol fill up her screen. After taking a look at the road, she scanned the phone number. Her hands tightened on the wheel.

"You can call all you want, but I'm not going to answer," she muttered.

---

"I think you may have gone overboard, Asami," Opal commented as Asami slid into the seat next to her. Pabu was sitting on her shoulder and nuzzling her cheek. A pair of red and white pom-pons rested in her lap. Asami looked down at her clothes and laughed.

"Okay, maybe I did," she admitted. Asami was wearing a bright red hat turned backward so that the adjustment strap rested on her forehead, her Team Fire Ferrets jacket, a black tank top, white skinny jeans, and red high tops. "I'm just really into pro-bending."

"Whatever you say, Asami," Opal chuckled. She jumped up and cheered loudly as the tournament started. Asami quickly turned her cell phone off, she wouldn't be able to hear anyone over the cheers anyway, before joining Opal in her cheers. The two screamed and jumped around as the Fire Ferrets stepped onto the court. "I'm so ready for this."

"Let's go Fire Ferrets!" Asami cheered.

---

The Tournament ended later that night with Future Industries' Fire Ferrets narrowly beating out the Wolf Bats. Opal and Asami hugged each other and shrieked as they watched Korra, Bolin, and Mako step out onto the court to accept their medals and trophies. The two didn't even apologize as they bumped and jostled with a few people around them. "That was so cool!" Asami commented. She grabbed Opal by the wrist and pulled the two of them out of the stands and into the lobby of the arena.

They chatted excitedly, recapping some of their favorite moments of the tournament. Pabu suddenly jumped off of Opal's shoulder and rushed around the large crowd. Opal lost sight of him before she could move but didn't seem to upset that he disappeared. "He probably noticed Bolin and took off after him," Opal explained when she noticed Asami's worried look.

Asami nodded in understanding. She looked up when she heard shouts and the clicking of numerous flash bulbs. A dark brown hand was holding the tournament trophy high into the air. Asami looped her arm with Opal's before steering them in the direction of the crowd.

"I still can't believe they won," she gushed.

"It was very close and it was obvious that the Wolf Bats paid off the referees," Opal added.

"Well don't sound too surprised, Opal," Bolin commented as he pushed his way past the press. Mako and Korra appeared by his side a few moments later. They were shining with sweat and looked exhausted but their bright smiles and shining eyes said the opposite.

"You know we're the best," Korra said while flicking the medal around her neck. "It just so happens that everyone else agrees with us." She loudly kissed the trophy in her hands. She then passed it to Mako who did the same, and then Bolin. "You guys have to kiss it too. We wouldn't have been able to do it without our cheering section."

Opal and Asami kissed the top of the trophy, a small stature of a probender, before handing it back to Korra who held onto it tightly as if it were her security blanket when she was a child.

"That was amazing," Opal said while giving Bolin a hug. She hesitated for a second before kissing him on the cheek. Bolin had a goofy smile on his face. Opal giggled before reaching up and rubbing bit of her lip gloss off of his cheek.

"Great job you guys," Asami rasped out.

"Whoa, you're voice," Korra commented.

"I know." Asami reached up and rubbed the base of her throat. "I'm losing it. I was screaming too much."

"We both were," Opal added.

"We know," Mako laughed. "We heard you. You screamed so loud even the announcer in the booth pointed it out."

"Oh my gosh, Opal, we're famous," Asami over exaggeratedly gushed. She cleared her throat twice. "Who's ready to celebrate? I know a good restaurant that opens late."

Korra shared a look with Mako and Bolin before frowning. "Oh, we can't. We have to finish packing for the South Pole. We leave in the morning."

"What about you, Opal?" Asami turned towards her. "Do you want to come back to my place?"

"I'm leaving too," Opal said slowly. "My family is going back to Zaofu for the break."

"Oh," Asami said softly.

Korra quickly picked up on her demeanor change. She placed an arm around her shoulders before jostling her around a bit. "Are you sure you can't come?" she asked. "My parents would like to meet you. I can show you all of the great things to do like the FireSpirits Festival."

"It's okay. I really need to work on my senior project anyway," Asami muttered. "Besides, I'll see them when during your school's Family Weekend and Spirit Week," she reminded her. She forced herself to smile. Korra looked at her for a few more moments before shrugging.

"Okay, we'll see you later." Bolin lifted her off of the ground in a hug. Mako embraced her with one arm. Although it felt kind of awkward, Asami didn't hesitate to return it whole heartedly. Opal wrapped her in a tight hug before gabbing Bolin's hand. The two walked left the group, chatting excitedly about their win.

"Goodnight," Asami said to Korra.

"Text me when you get back," she instructed. Asami nodded once before taking a small step forward. She held her hand out at the same time as Korra who lifted her arms. The two chuckled a bit before switching, with Asami holding her arms out and Korra sticking out her hand. Asami laughed before grabbing Korra's hand in a firm shake. She then tugged lightly and pulled Korra into a hug. Her eyes widened a bit when she felt the darker girls strong embrace.

"Text me when you get there," Asami called over her shoulder as she walked away. She powered on her phone as she walked back to her car. She paused when she felt her phone vibrate for about thirty-five seconds. She looked down at the screen and saw that she missed twenty-seven calls and twelve voice mails.

Asami pursed her lips at the phone number. It was the same one that had called her earlier that morning. It was the same number se had been avoiding for the past few months. It was the same number that had called her when her father had been arrested. She gazed at the list of missed calls for a few more seconds before dialing her voice mail and listening to her last message:

Asami,

I know you haven't been returning my phone calls, which most likely means you haven't listened to any of the voice messages I left either. In a way, I understand. I won't be able to change what I've done in the past but I would really like to talk to you. It is getting close to the weekend. You and I both know the significance of this time.

I would really like it if you would come and visit me. I know you haven't dealt with this time too well in the past and I fear that without my guidance things could get worse. I may be viewed as a terrible father to you, but I still love you and care about your well being.

Asami replayed the message once more before pressing the delete button. She then went into her phone log and brought up the last number that had called. She pressed her cell phone to her ear.

"Hi, dad?" Asami said into the phone as the other line picked up.

Chapter Text

Iroh: -10:22 AM- Hey, it's me.

Asami clicked her tongue. Even though she did clearly keep his cell phone number in her phone, where'd he get the idea that she would keep his number, or recognize it for that matter?

Iroh: -10:22 PM- Can we talk?

Over a text? Really?

Iroh: -10:23 AM- I just want to explain. Are you there?

Asami quickly backed out of her messenger app before pulling up the gallery app on her phone. She chuckled to herself as she flipped through the photos that she had saved. During their weekend in the South Pole, Korra had texted Asami pictures or posted them on her Facebook profile tagging the engineer. Most of them were shots of Korra and Bolin pouting or making sad faces to the camera with the description saying they were missing Asami and wishing she were there with them. Of course, there were also photos of Korra, Mako, and Bolin attending a local festival and visiting various landmarks and popular attractions.

"What's so funny?" Opal asked. She slid over on the bench they were sitting on and lifted her sunglasses to gaze at the screen. Asami titled the phone so that she could see, but Opal took it out of her hands instead. She lifted her right hand to shield the screen from the sun. "That's a nice picture of the two of them," she commented while shaking her head.

Asami took a hold of Opal's right hand and ran her thumb across the ring sitting on her second to last finger. "This is nice. Where did you get this?"

Opal handed Asami back her phone before snatching her hand away. She lowered her head in an attempt to hide the blush on her cheeks. "Bolin got it for me before we left."

"Oh." Asami nodded. She then broke out into a smile. "Wait, are you saying…"

"Yeah." Opal smiled brightly. "He asked me to be his girlfriend before we both left for the weekend," she explained.

Asami reached over and gave her a big hug. "Oh, that's so exciting. I mean I knew it was going to happen eventually, but now it's official. How do you feel?"

"Normal?" Opal shrugged. "I mean, I'm happy but I expected to feel different. I mean, people make such a big deal out of it."

"That's probably because you two started off as friends first so it doesn't feel different since the label just changed," Asami suggested. She jumped when she heard a loud horn blare over the docks. She and Opal waved at Korra and Bolin who were standing at the railings of the incoming boat. "So have you two kissed yet?"

"No." Opal's blush deepened. "We just started officially going out. I don't know when we would-"

"Don't plan it, or else it'll make it a bad moment," Asami said. The two got up off of the bench and walked over to where the boat was docking. A large ramp was lowered. "Just let it happen naturally."

"Finally, we're back!" Mako cheered as he walked down the ramp of the ship. He was holding a book up at eye level and carrying his bag in his other hand. Asami walked up and titled her head to the side to read the spine.

"Mako talked about school the entire time," Bolin groaned as he walked down the ramp. "He has an upcoming exam in his criminology class." He brightened into a wide smile once he spotted Opal. He ran over to her and wrapped her in an enormous hug. Asami watched the two out of the corner of her eye. She smiled when she noticed Opal blushing as she reached up to brush a strand of hair out of his face.

"If I knew he'd be a drag I would have left him behind." Korra rolled her eyes. Asami giggled into her hand. Korra half-smiled and gave Asami a quick hug before grabbing her by the wrist and tugged her over to two other members of the Southern Water Tribe. "Asami, this is my mom, Senna, and my dad, Tonraq," she introduced.

"It is nice to finally meet you," Senna said happily. Asami nodded and held out her hand to shake Senna's. "Korra talked about you a lot."

"Good things I hope," Asami said.

"Ms. Sato," Tonraq greeted her with a firm handshake. She tried not to wince at his strong grip. It must run in the family.

"You can just call me, Asami, sir," she politely corrected him.

"In that case, you may call me Tonraq," he boomed. "Korra did talk about you a lot. Not as much as when she and Mako were dating, though. You couldn't get her to shut up."

"Dad!" Korra groaned. She held her face in her hands and shook her head from side to side. Asami laughed as Korra punched him in the arm. She glared at him as her face started to turn a light shade of red.

"Honestly, I wonder who I end up scolding more during the day," Senna said quietly to herself. Asami heard and snickered.

"Hey," Korra and Tonraq cried.

"Come on. Let's head over to the school!" Bolin shouted. "The festival is about to start."

The Spirit Week/Family Weekend Opening Festival is a big event at Republic School for the Gifted. The campus grounds were filled with tents and booths ranging from art, food, games, and prizes. Asami couldn't help but gape at the atmosphere of the event. It felt much happier and more spirited than the Family Weekend events at her school.

For one, it wasn't in conjunction with Spirit Week, seeing as her school didn't hold one. Also, there wasn't a feeling of competition in the air. At RITA, students were silently sizing each other up as they showed their family their projects and assignments. The parents even joined in as well, boasting about their children to anyone who would listen.

"Asami, these are my brothers," Opal said. "Wing, Wei, Huan, and Baatar Jr," she said while pointing to each of them. Asami smiled and waved at each one. Huan simply rolled his eyes at her before noticing a piece of artwork nearby. He brushed past Opal and walked over towards it. Wing and Wei greeted her softly before turning to talk to Korra. All Asami heard was something about metal ball.

"I've seen you around school over the years," Asami said as she shook his hand.

"You attend RITA," Baatar Jr said with a nod. "Asami Sato? I've heard about you. You're very bright from what Kuvira says," he added. "She is looking forward to helping you with your Senior Project. My father hasn't told me about your project in great detail, but he is very impressed so far."

"Kuvira, that's her name." Opal snapped her fingers.

"Oh, the one who wants to join the Metal Clan?" Asami nodded. "I've only heard of her achievements at RITA. I never talked to her when she attended. How did you two meet? " she asked.

"She's a friend of the family's," she quickly answered. "Mom took her in when she was young." Opal smiled brightly before elbowing her older brother in the side. "Lover boy here, grew attached instantly."

"You should be quiet about things you don't understand," Baatar Jr ordered quietly. He reached up and adjusted his glasses on the bridge of his nose.

"Now do you see how fun family dinners can be?" Opal laughed.

Asami waved goodbye to Opal's family before following Mako, Bolin, Korra, Tonraq, and Senna around the grounds. She smiled at how excited Korra was to be showing her parents everything. From time to time, Korra would grab Asami by the wrist and pull her up to a booth with them to show her the school's merchandise as well as other items.

After a few more stops around the booths, Asami was gifted a Republic City School for the Gifted sweatshirt, sweatpants, sports jacket, and a Four Nations pillow by Senna. Asami, of course, had refused the gesture since she was capable of paying for the items herself but Senna insisted.

Asmai walked past a science booth and spotted Baatar Jr talking to one of the students. He was taking pictures of the displays with his cell phone before sending the photos off. He would focus on what he was being told until his phone rang, indicating a respond. A ghost of a smile would always appear whenever his phone vibrated.

"Hey Opal," Asami said and nudged the girl in the arm. "A while ago you said you thought of me like an older sister. Why not Kuvira?" she asked.

"She's kind of intimidating to be honest," Opal answered. She pulled a piece of cotton candy off of the stick before handing the whole thing over to Asami. "We never talked much either, growing up. She acted more like my protector than a friend. Probably my mom's wishes. She has always been overprotective of me," she added with an eye roll.

Asami paused. The smell of smoke wafted up into her nose. She felt her throat lock up. She slowly dropped her arm to her side. The cotton candy she was holding slipped out of the grass and onto the ground. She bit her bottom lip as she looked at all of the families. Small children being carried around by their parents. Young brothers and sisters posing for pictures together. Older siblings looking embarrassed as their parents gushed over the positive remarks they were hearing from their teachers.

She then noticed a family dressed in red and gold robes. She quickly deduced that they were Pema's and Tenzin's children. She was the only person Asami had seen wearing traditional air nation clothing.

Pema smiled brightly and rubbed her protruding stomach while smiling down at a young boy with a shaved head. He was showing her a new trick that the lemur, which was sitting on his shoulder, could do. A young girl with her hair tied up in two buns, was jumping around, talking a mile a minute. The older girl was talking to her father and pointing to something in her book.

"Hey Asami, what size jacket do you wear?" Korra asked as she burst through the crowd. She was holding up two different jackets. One was red and the other was black. "My mom wants to buy you one." She paused and followed Asami's gaze over towards Tenzin and his family. "Asami?" Korra reached out and rubbed her arm. Asami looked up at her. "Why are you crying?"

She brushed past Korra, her stride widening with each step. Senna let out a soft cry as she stepped out of a booth and into Asami's path.

"Oh, Asami, I sent Korra to find you for me. I think this necklace would look beautiful on you. Plus it is hand made by a student here." Senna held up a red and gold necklace in front of her. The red stones reflected onto the ground. The gold accents glittered underneath the booth. Asami looked at it before brushing past her. A few minutes later she broke out into a full sprint. She heard Mako and Bolin calling after her but she continued to run. She didn't even turn back and apologize to Lin as she practically bumped into her.

Asami just kept running, with no set destination in mind. Her legs just continued to carry her further and further away from the campus. She slowed to a stop once she felt her lungs burning. She hunched over and placed her hands on her knees as she caught her breath.

Her panting slowly turned into sobs and then they turned into loud wails. She covered her face with her hands and dropped to her knees. A soft chirp from a bird floated overhead. The splashing of water underneath her calmed her bit by bit. Through her teary gaze, she saw that she was kneeling by the edge of a dock.

"Asami, are you alright?" Senna asked quietly from behind her. Asami shook her head before bursting into more tears. She didn't look up when she heard Senna lowering herself next to her.

"It's not fair," Asami sniffed. "It's not fair that I never got to experience a family."

"Neither did Mako or Bolin," she said gently. Asami looked over at her in confusion. "Their parents were killed when they were young," she explained.

"Yes, but they have each other. I don't know if I have any other family members out there. It was just me and my mom when I was growing up. And then me and my dad. Who do I have?"

"Korra speaks really highly of you." Senna rubbed the back of Asami's head. "So do Mako and Bolin."

"They do?" Asami's eyes widened.

"Why do you sound so surprised?" Senna chuckled a bit. "From what I'm told you're a fantastic young lady."

"I've always wondered if I were even meant to have friends," Asami admitted. "I've been pretty sheltered growing up. There's a nagging voice in my head that makes me second guess every friendship I've ever tried to have."

"Rika," Senna said with a nod.

"You know?"

"Yes, Korra asked for my and her father's advice on the matter." Senna leaned over and kissed the crown of Asami's head. "Everyone deserves one friend in life. Be it an aunt, a cousin, a classmate, even a polar bear dog." Asami laughed at the mention of Naga. "It's just that one person who shows time and time again they won't leave no matter what happens. They see the good in you even if this Rika girl doesn't."

"Here you are," Korra panted as she ran up. Mako, Bolin and Opal were behind her. "Dad stayed behind," she reported. "He said something about iced shrimp dogs."

"I know how much your father loves those and loves to avoid awkward conversations," Senna sighed. She pulled Asami up to her feet before giving her a side hug. "I'm going to go and find him before he spends all of our money on a future stomach ache."

"Mom," Korra whispered, jerking her head in Asami's direction. She walked up to Asami and placed a hand on her shoulder. The engineer sniffed and looked over at Korra's mother.

"Let me know if you ever need anything while we're here," Senna said. She reached up and used her wrist to wipe away the tears from Asami's cheeks. "No matter what it may be. I'll be here if you need it." She then wrapped her arms around Asami in an embrace. She ran one of her hands along the back of the younger girl's head, lightly scratching her scalp with her fingernails with each pass. Senna smiled when she felt Asami relaxing a bit.

"Thank you ma'am," Asami whimpered.

"Enough of this ma'am stuff." Senna pulled back and cupped Asami's cheek. "You may call me Senna." Asami half-smiled. Senna stroked her cheek for a few seconds before giving her a light kiss on the cheek. "We'll call you when we get to Air Temple Island," she said to Korra. "Then we can come back and see your apartment."

"You can't," Korra said quickly with wide eyes. "They're fumigating the entire building. Too bad. Maybe next time," she added. Senna shrugged before giving her daughter a hug. Korra waved to her mother as she left. "Why did you run off?"

"Family Weekend isn't a good time for me," Asami admitted. "It reminds me of my parents, and I hardly remember good times with them. Only bad things. Seeing all of those families together. The smell of the smoke from the grills….it was just too much."

"Do you remember our game of 20 questions?" Korra asked while wrapping an arm around Asami's shoulders. She sniffed and nodded. "Why did the smoke bother you? That's my third question by the way."

"My mom in a fire when I was six," Asami admitted. "It was some firebender. They haven't been found. It was a break in. My dad doesn't know if they were trying to rob us or something else. She didn't make it out. The police found her a few feet away from the front door."

"Oh no," Opal whispered.

"I'm sorry, Asami," Mako added. Korra rested her head on Asami's shoulder.

"When you were gone, it was Family Weekend at RITA. I didn't go."

"Why didn't you just tell us? We would have stayed here in the city with you."

"I went to visit my dad in jail. It kind of helped." Asami shrugged. "Up until he said I looked like her. I knew he meant well, but he really said it more for him. I wanted to go and surprise you guys on your trip but what friend would I be to just invite herself." She bit her lip. "The good thing is I finally forgave him for everything."

"You wouldn't have been intruding if you came. You heard what my mom just said, she adores you," Korra pointed out. "Heck, I think she likes you more than me. She's buying you clothes already. Whenever she visits me she always finds ways to scold me." She lifted her head off of Asami's shoulder before gripping Asami's hand tightly. "Asami," Korra said gently, "A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out." Asami looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "Grace Pulplit," she quickly added.

"That's what we are," Opal walked up. She placed both of her hands on Asami's shoulders before shaking her lightly from the left and to the right. "That's what we did."

"My world changed when I found out my dad lied to me," Asami said. She leaned over and looked at her reflection in the water. She frowned when she saw her eye makeup had been smudged by her tears.

"You still have your company," Mako said quietly.

"Some family," she scoffed. "I knew I was going to take it eventually, but still. I didn't think it'd be the root of one of my problems."

"You know, you don't really get to choose your family," Korra said. "Your family chooses you." She shared a look with Mako, Opal, and Bolin before squeezing her hand tightly. "We choose you," she said firmly. Asami laughed and wiped at the last of her tears. "And don't worry about Rika and her henchmen. If they bother you again, let me know. I can punch them for you."

"Or sick Naga on them," Opal suggested.

"Oh, good idea!" she cried. "Naga can eat them."

"Korra!" Mako said with a warning tone.

"Not on school grounds. Calm down, rule follower." Korra stuck her tongue out at him. She then turned back to Asami and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, but you'll have to deal with them on your own while you're there."

"I think with you guys backing me up, I can handle her." Asami sighed. "Thank you all, so much."

"Okay, enough of the corny words and tears," Korra announced. Before anyone could ask, Korra pointed over at Bolin with a raised eyebrow. Bolin let out a loud wail. Opal's eyes widened in surprise as he wrapped his arms around her and wept into her chest. "I know just the thing to cheer you up."

"Karaoke?" Mako asked as soon as they noticed where Korra had led them. She insisted that where they were going was going to be very entertaining and wouldn't say anything else, no matter how many times and different ways each of the group had tried to bribe her into telling them where they were going. Asami had been close by hinting that she'd buy whatever food Korra had wanted for the night.

"Come on, it'll be fun," Korra insisted as she led the group into the building. They were placed at a six person table by one of the wait staff. Korra immediately reached out and started to help herself to the fried pickles that had been placed on the table the moment they arrived.

"None of us can sing," Mako said slowly.

"Exactly!" Korra pointed at him. "We can make fun of each other all night. What better way than to spend time with friends? It's a great way to loosen up. So who wants to go first?"

Asami smiled. She relaxed into her chair and looked around the room. The stage was pushed back at the other end of the building, a giant screen was nestle on the wall behind it, showing some sports highlights. A multi-colored disco ball spun in the air up above, and at the front of the stage were two small screens.

She got up from her seat and walked over to a podium off to the right of the stage. She put her name at the top of the list and started to browse through a vast selection of songs. She picked one out and wrote the title next to her name before taking a step back. A small line had gathered behind her, and she smiled softly as she watched people of various ages excitedly browsing through the songs.

"I have an idea," Opal said with a sly smile. "We play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Winner gets to pick the song for each person to perform," she suggested.

"Nice!" Bolin said before leaning over and kissing her cheek. "I'm game." Opal turned a bright red under the dim lighting. "Okay, hands in."

"Hey, where'd Asami go?" Mako asked. Korra turned and found her chair empty. She frowned and shook her head. She reached out and placed one hand in the circle, as her other hand was filled with more pieces of fried pickles. "Maybe in the bathroom?" she shouted. Loud music had started to play.

"Okay, first up is Asami," an announcer called out into the microphone.

Korra paused, her hand filled with fried pickles close to her mouth. She tossed them back into the bowl and turned in her seat. Her eyes widened as Asami climbed up on stage. She had pulled her jacket off and tied it around her waist, revealing that she was wearing a black tank top. Her pale skin made her stand out underneath the otherwise dark lighting.

She nodded her head to the beat of the song as the instruments came in. Korra looked over at Mako and Bolin. They both stared at her and slowly shook their hands before turning their attention back to the stage. Korra, without taking her eyes off of Asami, pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and set up the video camera app.

(Yeah!)
This is ours, we made it with our everything
something real, as real as it could ever be
you gave me all of yourself, I gave you all of me
now set it free from yourself, for everyone to see

As the chorus started, Asami rocked forward and flipped her hair around. She tilted her body from the left to the right, singing her lungs out.

I'm not afraid to let it out
I'm gonna show you how I feel
I'm not afraid to let it out
(who cares if you don't like it)
(if you don't like it)

"Who knew she was a rocker?" Opal asked.

"This is great," Korra laughed. She held her phone up higher. "Looks like she's feeling better now. She's going to hate me for this."

"YouTube?" Bolin shouted into her ear.

"Yep."

"Nice!"

Go ahead, you know just what you want to do
don't deny, you feel it cause I feel it too
take a look all around, you'll feel it in the air
from the sky to the ground, I feel it everywhere

Korra, Bolin, Mako, and Opal all jumped to their feet and cheered loudly as Asami dropped to her knees. She held the microphone with a hand while brushing her bangs out of her face with the other. She looked up and smiled once she noticed her cheering section.

I'm not afraid to let it out
I'm gonna show you how I feel
I'm not afraid to let it out
(who cares if you don't like it)
I'm not afraid to let it out
I'm gonna show you how I feel
I'm not afraid to let it out
to let it out

(Who cares if you don't like it)
(if you don't like it)
(if you don't like it)
(who cares if you don't like it)
(who cares if you don't like it)
(ooh, ooh, ooh)
(who cares if you don't like it)
(ooh, ooh, ooh)
(who cares if you don't like it)

This is ours, we made it with our everything
something real, as real as it could ever be
you gave me all of yourself, I gave you all of me
now set it free from yourself, for everyone to see

I'm not afraid to let it out
I'm gonna show you how I feel
I'm not afraid to let it out
(who cares if you dont like it)
I'm not afraid to let it out
I'm gonna show you how I feel
I'm not afraid to let it out
to let it out
to let it out
to let it out
(who cares if you don't like it)
(if you don't like it)
(if you don't like it)

The entire building erupted into loud applause as Asami took her bows. She untied her jacket from her waist and slipped it back on before giving a small bow. She flipped her hair up and out of her collar as she made her way back to the table.

"That was just awesome," Opal clapped.

"We can't top that," Bolin said.

"You never struck me as the rocker type." Korra pressed the stop button on her phone before sitting back into her seat.

"You just have to mix things up sometime," Asami said with a shrug. "Keep things interesting."

"I got that idea with you being an engineer." She held up her phone and leaned over. Asami threw up a peace sign while winking. Korra stuck out her tongue before snapping the picture. "Do you have an Instagram? I want to tag you."

"I have two," Asami answered. She laughed as Mako, Bolin, and Opal played Rock, Paper, Scissors. Everyone round they would tie. The more rounds they went through, the fast they threw out their item of choice.

"One account wasn't big enough to handle your ego?" Korra joked. She quickly posted the photo before searching through Instagram search for Asami's profile. Once found she hit the follow button. Asami's phone vibrated with the notification.

"No, one is for Future Industries and one is for my personal use," Asami answered. She picked up her phone and followed Korra back before viewing the picture she was tagged in. She threw her head back and laughed. "I'm changing my Facebook picture to this."

Asami frowned as her phone vibrated with notification after notification. She rolled her eyes when she spotted Korra's Instagram handle in the notifications bar and quickly deduced that she was going through and liking every photo she had posted in the past few years.

"I better get photo credit," Korra said.

"I'll also add a caption," Asami answered as she opened up her Facebook profile. "I dedicate that performance to you." Korra looked at her in confusion. "I need to be more like you and not care what other people think. I just need to be myself and not let anyone's problem with me get in the way of that."

"Asami," Opal called out. Asami looked up from her phone. Mako, Bolin, and Opal all looked at her helplessly. "You pick the next person to go. It keeps ending up in a tie."

Asami's phone vibrated five more times. "Seriously, Korra?" she asked. Korra shook her head. She waved her hands in front of her, miming that she didn't cause her phone to blow up. She wasn't able to give a verbal answer as she was chewing another mouthful of fried pickles.

Asami rolled her eyes before looking at her phone. She had missed four text messages.

Iroh: -12:28 PM- Sami, please talk to me. :(

Iroh: -1:15 PM- I will get you to talk to me

Iroh: -1:16 PM- Eventually

Iroh: -2:30 PM- You can't ignore me forever :(

Asami frowned at the messages. She jumped when she felt a soft kick to her shin under the table. She looked up to see Korra looking at her. "Everything okay?" she mouthed. Asami nodded and smiled. Korra nodded in response before leaning over to hear what Opal had said. Asami looked down at her phone and deleted the text message, as well as his phone number.

"I can try," she mumbled.

Chapter Text

It was close to Thanksgiving Break and Asami was excited, not because it was much needed time off from her part-time job as a model and having to commute back and forth between both schools, but because it would give her plenty of time to focus on her Senior Project, as well as spending ten whole days away from Rika and any lingering thoughts of Iroh.

In the past few weeks she was able to make a decision on her advisor and had set up a time over the break to finally meet up with Kuvira to talk about her project. Along with advancements she's been making with Future Industries, it felt like she had finally hit a pocket of good fortune. Many people came up to her to mention the YouTube video she had posted to her channel of her performance at the karaoke bar, with giving Korra credit, of course.

That video seemed to have changed her popularity. People who hadn't talked to her are asking how she's doing or what her Thanksgiving Break plans were. They were just being civil. While Asami was cautious, questioning everyone's motive in the back of her mind, she responded with a bright smile, and seemed to have a permanent spring in her step. She was even polite ntowards Rika, who scowled more and more at her with each passing day, but it didn't bother Asami because she knew she didn't do anything, to her recollection, and so she just needed to keep on moving in her life.

Asami hummed the lyrics to 'Let it Out' to herself as she popped open her locker door. She smiled at the picture of herself and her friends on the inside. It was taken right after their trip to the karaoke bar. Bolin had convinced everyone that they needed a group name and couldn't decide on "Team Avatar" or "The Krew". Both, were essentially named after Korra, whom everyone thought was essentially the glue to the group. So the name ended up being interchangeable. The photo was signed by everyone that night and Asami was given the first copy (since Bolin had insisted everyone in the group needed one). It was also the photo for their Facebook Group, Skype Group, and contact information in her phone. Korra had insisted they draw the line at making an Instagram account they all shared.

"Asami, may I have your help with something?" a voice asked. Asami leaned back from inside of her locker and found herself face to face with Kiyoko. The engineer looked up and down the hallway. "Rika isn't with me."

"Oh," Asami said slowly. She emptied her backpack of her school books before filling it up with folders and notebooks for her science project. "What do you need help with?"

"This one equation for our upcoming exam." Kiyoko pulled a notebook out of her back before flipping it open. "I just don't know what I did wrong. I copied it from the board and yet nothing is coming out like it's supposed to."

Asami leaned over and looked at the formulaic equation. She quickly scanned the page before snapping her fingers. "Here's the problem. You need to change this negative to a positive," she pointed out. "That's why your answers are coming out wrong."

"Oh." Kiyoko's eyebrows rose. She pulled a pencil fro her bag and marked the page with the change. "Well what about this? Did I write the equation down wrong for this one?"

"No, you're just using the wrong equation in general." Asami pointed to another section of the page. "You should be using that one."

"Right," she answered slowly. Asami looked over at Kiyoko and noticed a discouraged look on her face. Before she could say anything, Kiyoko closed her notebook with a snap and smiled brightly. "I should be good. I just really need to ace this exam. My parents would kill me if I come home with another grade below a C," she explained while placing her notebook back into her bag.

Asami frowned. "Aren't people on academic probation if they get below a C?" she asked quietly.

Kiyoko snickered as she shook her head. "I guess science and engineering aren't one of my strong points." She shrugged. She bit her lip and looked down at the floor. "Well, anyway, thanks for your help." She placed grabbed a hold of Asami's hand and quickly shook it before backing away. "I appreciate it."

"Wait," Asami called out. She closed and locked her locker before walking over. She grabbed Kiyoko by the arm and pulled her to a nearby bench. "Why are you attending RITA if you're having trouble in your classes?" she asked gently.

"My parents want me to become a scientist," Kiyoko admitted. "It's a family profession. So I have to do my best, even if it isn't good enough from time to time." She shrugged. "I need to make them proud."

Asami bit her bottom lip. "Do you need some help?" she offered. Kiyoko looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "I tutor one of my friends from Republic and her grades have gotten better." She then made a face. "Not spectacular, but she finds this kind of stuff boring as it is."

Kiyoko brightened. "That would be great. I'd like that."

The engineer pulled out a planner from her bag and flipped it open. She trailed a finger along the page, checking her availability. "Well, I am pretty busy for the most of my Thanksgiving Break," she commented, "but how about we meet up near the end. It'll give us a few days before the exam."

"Thanks Asami."

"You're welcome." Asami nodded. She stuffed her planner back into her bag. She gave Kiyoko a brief smile before getting up off of the bench. She brushed off the back of her skirt as Kiyoko stood up next to her.

"Why are you being so nice to me?" she asked.

"Well, we all used to be friends so I know you aren't as bad as you may seem," Asami answered with a soft smile. "Plus, after becoming friends with Korra I feel like I can be friends with anyone with enough hard work. She was as cold as a block of ice at first," she chuckled.

"You shouldn't try to be someone's friend." Kiyoko frowned.

"I know, but I should try and be nice to everyone, regardless." Asami placed her hand on Kiyoko's shoulder before giving it a light squeeze. "Have a good Thanksgiving, Kiyoko," she said sincerely.

"You too," Kiyoko muttered as she watched Asami run down the hallway. She grabbed her bag up off of the floor before running off in the other direction. She dodged other students cleaning out their lockers and teachers talking quietly before she made it to the other end of the school. She pushed through the double doors leading to the courtyard and ran over to Rika and Manami who were standing by a water fountain.

"Hey Kiyoko, there you are," Manami called out. "What took you so long?" she asked. Rika grunted beside her and leered at Kiyoko as she caught her breath.

Kiyoko straightened up. "I-I was in the bathroom," she blurted out. "You know, today is Tetrazzini Tuesday," she added.

"And you actually ate it?" Manami gasped. She pulled her keys out of her pocket and started to spin them around in a circle. Rika brushed past the two of them and started towards the parking lot. Manami and Kiyoko instantly began to follow.

"It was either that or starve," Kiyoko answered. "You know how forgetful I can be with my lunch money." She cried out softly as she ran into Rika's back. She quickly took a step back and bowed her head, waiting for an onslaught of insults. When it didn't come she looked up and spotted Rika glaring hard across the parking lot. Kiyoko followed her gaze and bit her lip when she spotted Asami and Iroh talking by Asami's car.

"Hell no," Rika muttered before storming over.

"Iroh, I said I don't' want to talk to you," Asami said as she pulled her wrist out of his grip. "Please, just leave me alone. I know that you're sorry but it's over."

"Just let me explain," he pleaded and reached for her arm again. Asami jerked her arm back and took a step away.

"I don't want to hear it," she snapped.

"What's going on?" Rika demanded. She stepped in front of Iroh and glared at Asami, who rolled her eyes and ran a hand through her hair. Rika looked over her shoulder at Iroh who just shrugged and looked at the ground. "Do you want him back that badly? He chose me."

"I don't want him, Rika," Asami said slowly. "I want him to leave me alone." She shifted her gaze over to Iroh. "Like I've been telling him for the past few weeks."

"Oh, so you've been talking to my boyfriend behind my back?" Rika demanded. "Didn't you get the hint the first time? He dumped you for me after you threw yourself at him." Manami snickered into her hand. Kiyoko gasped and covered her mouth with her hand.

"I don't even care about it," Asami insisted. "He's the one who's been bothering me. He's the one who's been texting me."

"I just want to talk and make things better," Iroh explained.

"I don't." Asami glared at Rika. "You can have him. But let me ask you something: if he cheated on me, what makes you think he won't do it to you?"

"Because he actually loves me," she answered simply. She smirked before looping her arm through his and resting her head on his chest. "He tells me all of the time."

"I thought the same thing before he left," Asami said gently. Rika faltered at the compassionate look on her face. "He's seen things that we haven't. He's changed. I'm just giving you a heads up," she added quietly.

"I don't need it," Rika muttered. She grabbed Iroh by the hand and pulled him off towards Manami's car. "Can you believe her? Acting as if she actually cares about other people."

"I'm sick of this topic," Manami groaned as she hit the unlock button on her key ring. Her car's headlights flashed before the locks popped open. "Let's go start our vacation."

"Coming, baby?" Rika asked. She battered her eyelashes up at Iroh. He watched as Asami got into her car and drove off campus. He then shifted his attention to Rika before smiling softly and shaking his head.

"I just came by to try and apologize to Asami again," he explained before kissing her forehead. "I already made some plans with my friends. I'll see you later."

Rika smiled and waved at his retreating back. The instant he was out ear shot, she turned and crossed her arms over her chest. "Why didn't the two of you back me up?" she asked. "If you're really my friends, then you would have agreed with me, no questions asked."

Manami's eyes widened and she bit her bottom lip. She started to fiddle with the keys in her hands. "I thought you were doing fine on your own. Sato didn't even put up a fight." She smiled sheepishly. "She quite literally ran off."

Kiyoko swallowed hard when Rika turned her gaze towards her. "What about you?" she questioned. "You may have some of the lowest grades in our class but I know you could have come up with something to say. You've done it before."

"I don't know," Kiyoko muttered with a shrug. "I guess I just didn't want to step on your toes." Rika raised an eyebrow and pursed her lips before shaking her head.

"Hey, let's forget about Sato," Manami suggested. "Let's celebrate being on vacation with a trip for ice cream."

"Sounds good to me," Rika instantly brightened. She waited for Manami to lower the top of her car before jumping into the back seat.

Kiyoko climbed into the passenger seat and shut her door with a bit more force than needed. She turned and looked out the window as Manami pulled off of the campus and onto the street. She doesn't deserve this.

---

Asami's Thanksgiving break was filled with so many plans; she forgot how boring it could be when you don't have anything planned at all. It was a wonder how she got through three years of high school as a loner. Bolin had mapped out everyone's break down to the minute, albeit with enough flexibility for Asami working at Future Industries and focusing on her Senior Project.

"Here's the popcorn," Asami said as she entered her apartment's living room with two large bowls. She handed one to Bolin and Opal who were seated on a love seat. Opal was in his lap, reading a text book. He took the bowl from Asami and placed it on top of her legs before digging it.

Korra sat up and tossed her chemistry book over the arm of the couch. She was sitting at one end with Mako on the other. Asami sat on the floor in between them, her back resting against the couch. She placed the last bowl of popcorn onto the empty couch cushion behind her head..

"Good, I'm starving," Korra said. She snatched up the bowl and started to shove handfuls into her mouth.

"Hello, we're supposed to be sharing," Mako said while holding out his hand. Korra stuck her hand into the bowl and threw popcorn kernals in his general direction. Asami laughed before taking a sip of her soda.

The Krew, their group name they finally decided on, was relaxing at Asami's apartment before heading over to Air Temple Island for Thanksgiving Dinner. Tenzin had invited Korra since he knew he would essentially be alone since her parents were back in the south. She was able to get him to let her friends come along as well by mentioning that they would be "multiple babysitters for the price of one". Afterwards they were going to head to Opal's place for dessert.

"This will just be a fifteen minute break and then we get back to studying," Asami said as she bent down to pick up the discarded text book. Korra groaned around a mouthful of popcorn before rolling her eyes.

"You're so lucky you already had your mid-term exams Mako," Opal commented.

'Yeah, who gives an exam after the holidays?" Bolin asked.

"Maybe your teachers don't want to have to spend their breaking working on grading your papers?" Asami suggested with a shrug. Opal and Bolin turned and glared at her. The burst out laughing after Korra flicked a piece of popcorn at her. It bounced off of her forehead before falling to the ground.

In retaliation, Asami grabbed the bowl out of Korra's hands before handing it over to Mako. Korra whimpered and sat up to try and steal the bowl back but was met with a pillow to the face. Asami laughed and brushed her hair back behind her ear.

"What happened to your wrist?" Korra asked. She grabbed a hold of Asami's pale arm and moved it closer towards her face. Five small bruises were wrapped around her wrist. Asami pulled her arm back and pulled her sleeve down to cover it.

"Nothing, just an accident from working on my Senior Project," she said with a shrug. "I get really into my work sometimes."

"When are you going to tell us what it is?" Mako asked.

"I'm not," Asami answered with a smile. "I want to keep things as under wraps as possible. I don't want anyone to steal my idea."

"Is it that important?" Bolin questioned. "It's just for a grade. You'll graduate anyway."

"That's not it," Opal interjected. "The Senior Projects at RITA is a big competition among the senior class. The person with the top project will receive a scholarship to the school of their choosing. I mean, of course, after being accepted. Plus, there may be a chance to get their project funded by a major company. Who knows, Asami's project could change the world."

"Being a CEO and producing technological advances doesn't do that for you?" Korra asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Schooling is a good thing to have," Asami said defensively. She flipped open Korra's textbook to a marked page. "It's something to fall back on just in case. Also, if I have the top project then I may be able to skip my freshmen year of college and go straight to my sophomore year. I actually could have skipped my senior year of high school and graduate a year early, but I didn't feel like I was ready," she admitted.

'Wait, you could have been rid of Rika and her two lackeys a year early but you decided to stay and deal with it?"

"Yeah," Asami answered slowly. "I love school."

"Why?" Bolin and Korra asked.

"I feel special." She could feel everyone's gaze on her and refused to look up. She just continued to leaf through the textbook. "I didn't ask for my mother to die. I didn't ask for my father to be thrown in jail. I didn't ask to take over a company and try to turn its reputation around. All of that was forced on me, but school never was. It's something I choose to do. It's like a stress reliever for me. My grades and my work are for my own merit, not for a company's," she explained.

"Sorry, Asami,"' the two muttered.

"No need to apologize." Asami lifted her nose out of the book before smiling at each of them. "It's kind of a blessing in disguise. Sure, I could have been rid of this whole Rika thing but then I wouldn't have met you guys."

"Are there always going to be corny moments between us now?" Bolin asked.

"Since Asami got here, pretty much," Korra said. She reached her foot out and flicked Asami's ear with a few of her toes. She suddenly cried out as Asami grabbed a hold of her foot and pressed down on one of her toes with her thumb.

"Isn't it about time we head over to Air Temple Island for dinner?" Opal asked.

"Dinner?" Korra pulled her foot out of Asami's grasp before rubbing the pain away.

"You just ate half that bowl of popcorn an had two sandwiches earlier," Mako said with a laugh. "How are you still hungry?"

"Hey, the Avatar has to eat to keep up her strength." Korra shrugged. "Besides, Tenzin and his family have been watching Naga for the past few days so I'm sure she's ready for some real food by now," she added. Bolin and Opal started to dance in their seats to Korra's cell phone ringtone as it began to play. "Speaking of Tenzin."

Mako handed Asami the half-empty bowl of popcorn who put it onto the table. She winced as Bolin let out a loud burp right by Opal's ear. The young girl glared at him while rubbing her ear. Bolin smiled sheepishly before kissing her on the cheek. Asami chuckled as Opal raised an eyebrow at him. He pouted in response. She rolled her eyes before giving him a kiss on the cheek back.

"Guys, Pema is in the hospital!" Korra announced as she hung up her phone. "She's having the baby. We have to go, now!"

Four hours later, after stopping at every toy store in Republic City to find a suitable stuffed animal for the new baby, the Krew arrived at the hospital. Mako and Asami were arguing about which route they should have taken to arrive at the hospital faster while Bolin was trying to hide Pabu underneath his shirt so that he would be allowed into the hospital. Korra brought up the rear, carrying the giant stuffed flying lemur. She couldn't see where she was going and had to have Opal direct her on where to go.

"Korra!" Ikki and Meelo cried once they spotted her in the hallway. The two raced each other towards the Avatar. Meelo stopped in his tracks the minute he noticed Asami at the back of the group. He shyly walked up to her and stared.

"That's Meelo," Korra gasped out around Ikki's tight hold against her waist. She had to shift the giant stuffed animal in her arms so she could look at the children. "And this is Ikki, and that's Jinora," she added. Jinora was seated in a chair, her nose buried deep in a book. Judging by the cover, featured a woman crying the biggest tears, Asami assumed she was a big fan of romance novels.

"Nice to meet you," Jinora called out. She briefly looked up from her book, and by the way her eyes crinkled in the corner, Asami could tell she was smiling in her greeting before focusing back on her book.

"Beautiful lady," Meelo said while gazing up at Asami. She smiled softly in response. "May I have a lock of your hair?"

"If we were still dating, I'd have some competition," Mako commented with a laugh.

"You mean aside from Korra?" Asami suggested.

"Low blow," Korra whined. "Can someone please take this from me?" she demanded.

"I'll take it," Tenzin said as he exited the hospital room. "Thank you for the gift," he said quietly before placing the stuffed lemur on the ground. "I didn't expect you all to come."

"Tenzin, this is Asami Sato." Placed her hand on Asami's lower back an pushed her forward. "She's a close friend of mine."

"Hiroshi Sato's daughter," Tenzin said with a nod. He held his hand out and gave Asami's a firm shake. "I've heard all about you."

"I'm nothing like my father," Asami quickly said. "The papers all lied. I'm not trying to create any new inventions for the Equalists. Last I heard they've all been wiped out," she rattled off.

"Actually, I heard that you have one of the brightest minds in the city," Tenzin said reassuringly. "Plus anything positive that Korra tells me. I must admit when I first heard that you two had become friends I was taken aback, but she has a good head on her shoulders so I trusted her judgment."

"I apologize for any pain or trouble my father and the equalists may have caused for your family," Asami said with a deep bow.

"Would you all like to see the baby?" Tenzin asked. He dragged the stuffed lemeur into the room and stepped to the side to let the group file into the room. Pema smiled warmly at all of them an held the new baby up so they could see his face.

"His name is Rohan," she announced.

"He's so small," Opal cooed. Ikki and Meelo airbent themselves onto Pema's hospital bed. They landed softly on their mother's right side and peered closely at their new baby brother. Jinora reached out and ruffled the hair on top of his head. "When will you find out if he's a bender or not?"

"The other children didn't find out about their abilities until they were around Meelo's age, so we have quite a while," Pema answered. Rohan looked up at her with his wide eyes and cooed softly as she rubbed her nose against his cheek.

"Do you think mom and dad looked at us like that when we were born?" Bolin asked quietly as he looked at the loving look on Pema's and Tenzin's faces. He smiled as Tenzin wrapped an arm around his wife's shoulders and kissed her on the forehead.

"I know I did," Mako commented. He grunted in pain as Bolin gave him a strong hug.

Ikki and Meelo took turns make silly faces to their new brother. They clapped excitedly when the baby let out a soft laugh. "Normally for Thanksgiving we say what we're thankful for, and I think this year it's for everyone in this room sharing the birth of our new son with us," Pema said quietkly.

"He's so beautiful, Pema," Asami said. She reached out and trailed a finger down his cheek. Rohan looked up at her before squinting. "Is he trying to smile?" she asked. A second later she flinched, as baby Rohan sneezed onto her hand. "I guess not."

Korra snickered before playfully jostling her. Her smile faded when she saw the bruise around the engineer's wrist. Her sleeve had slid up her arm a bit as she reached up to wipe her hand off on her shirt. "May I talk to you for a second?" she asked.

Asami nodded before following her out of the room. "What's up?"

"How did you get the bruise on your wrist?" she asked. "I've been thinking about it and that doesn't look like something you'd get in a science accident."

"It's nothing I promise," Asami insisted.

"Well, we are at a hospital, so we could get someone to check it out," Korra suggested.

"Question four?" Asami asked. She sighed when Korra nodded. "Iroh has been texting me, asking to talk these past few weeks. I either tell him nor or I haven't responded. He caught me by my car later today asking to talk and he kind of got physical."

"He did what?" Korra shouted. "What are you looking at?" she demanded as a few patients and nurses turned to look at her.

"No, Korra, don't worry." Asami winced as Korra took a hold of her wrist. She bent some water from a nearby water fountain before wrapping it around the engineer's arm. The water started to glow a light blue as it swirled around. Asami relaxed as she felt the pain beginning to dull. :I know self-defense remember? I can take care of myself. But, he seemed off."

"What do you mean?" Korra muttered. She continued to focus her attention on fixing the bruising.

"It's like I told Rika-"

"Rika was there too?"

"Yeah, she thought I was trying to get back with Iroh and intervened." Asami rolled her eyes. "Anyway, Iroh has seen things I haven't. He's changed. I noticed when he first came back around the time we broke up." She wiped the excess water on her shirt as Korra bent the stream of water back to the water fountain. "He seemed to be on edge a lot, or will have trouble concentrating on things. It was like he would do these jumps in his mind. It's like he's constantly on guard for something."

"Isn't that just bi-polar disorder?" Korra asked while crossing her arms over her chest. "Or depression?"

"No, it feels different."

Korra sighed before running a hand through her hair. "Well, if you think you can handle it, then fine. I won't push the topic right now. But Mako, Bolin, and I will step in anytime you need help. You know that, right?" she asked.

"Of course," Asami nodded. Korra held the room door open so that Asami could enter first. The two walked over to the bed and peered down at Rohan who was sleeping comfortable against this mother's chest.

"Some Thanksgiving Break, huh?" Asami said out loud as she lightly touched one of Rohan's small hands. "It's better than the last few years. So, I'm really enjoying this one," she added.

"I wonder who's going to take over our art class now," Mako thought.

"I bet my brother, Huan, would like to do it," Opal suggested.

"He likes art?" Bolin asked.

"He's the top in your class," she answered.

"He just sits in the corner," Asami said.

"How would you know he sits in the corner?" Korra asked, clearly amused. "You fall asleep a lot."

"And you drool sometimes," Bolin added.

"And snore," Mako supplied.

"I do not!" Asami insisted. She looked towards Pema for some backup. She just giggled and shook her head.

"How would you know?" Korra asked. "You're sleeping when you do it."

"Stop it," she whined.

Chapter Text

"You did what?" Korra asked from her seat on the couch. She looked over at Asami as if she had suddenly sprouted wings and became a flying lemur. "Say that one more time."

"I invited Kiyoko over here to study for our upcoming exam," Asami answered while toying with the ends of her hair. "It just made sense since we were already going to study together and I am meeting Kuvira here a few hours after we're done."

"It makes sense?" the Avatar repeated. "What part of this makes sense? You invited a girl who used to make your life a living hell to your house. She'll know where you sleep."

"I kind of agree with Korra," Opal said sheepishly from the chair.

"Not you too," Asami groaned.

"Well, she could easily do something here and report back to Rika to make your life suck even more," she answered. Korra snapped her fingers and pointed over at Opal with a nod.

"You two weren't with us in the hallway last week," the engineer said before looking through a stack of old science textbooks. "I honestly don't think she's as bad as she makes herself out to be."

"Well, you did say you two used to be friends," Opal agreed.

"Pick a side, Opal," Korra snapped. She snatched a pencil off of the table next to her and started to bounce it lightly in between her fingers, trying to perform the trick where the pencil becomes rubber. A science text book was opened upside down on her stomach.

Asami looked over at the Avatar before rolling her eyes. She checked the time on her phone before leaning back to lie down on the floor. "I was thinking after all of our mid-terms are over, we should celebrate," she said.

"Celebrate what?" Korra asked. "The fact that we have even more exams a few weeks later before Christmas Break?"

"No, celebrate that we didn't lose our minds," she answered.

"Check back in with me in a few days," Opal muttered before dragging a big Air Studies book out of her bag. She dumped it into her lap with a grunt.

"We could go back to the Midnight Dragon?" Asami offered.

"Who's we?" she snapped. "Not all of us can go, remember?"

"You want to go back after what happened?" Korra asked.

"I've had plenty of great nights there that easily overshadow what Rika did," the engineer answered. She rolled onto her stomach and started to kick her legs in the air. "I won't let that one night ruin anything."

"Fine, but I think everyone should come this time," the Avatar answered.

"But we all can't go," Opal reminded them, envy dripping from each word.

"We can't if you and Bolin don't have fake ," she said with a smile.

Asami pushed herself up from the ground and shot the Avatar an amused look. "Where can you get a fake i.d.?" she asked.

"From someone I know," Korra answered with a shrug. "Don't worry about who."

"Now I'm interested." She got up from the floor and walked over to the couch, picked up Korra's legs, and then sat down before placing them into her lap. "How did you meet someone who knows how to make fake i.d.s?"

"Don't worry about it," Korra muttered before tossing the pencil back onto the table. She picked up her science book and started to flip through the pages. Asami scanned the cover before plucking the book out of her friend's hands and turning it right side up. She handed it back to the now furiously blushing Avatar.

"Oh, I heard this story from Bolin," Opal laughed. "See, Korra had-"

"Opal, zip it," Korra ordered.

"Let's just say it is high up there on her embarrassment list….and it's not a long list."

"Fine," Asami said with a smirk. Korra looked at her with a raised eyebrow before rolling her eyes. "Question four: what is your embarrassing moment you won't tell me about?"

"Question four?" Opal repeated.

"Oh, we're playing 20 questions to get to know each other better."

"Can't you talk like normal people?"

"It's your choice, Korra." Asami smiled before running the tip of her tongue down the inside of her cheek. "We still both have a pass and a throw out."

"No," Korra said while poking Asami in her side with her big toe. "I have a pass and a throw out, you only have a pass," she corrected. "Don't give me that look," she said when Asami looked at her in astonishment. "When I asked you about your issue with smoke and what happened that night at the Midnight Dragon."

"No, that was a choice and I chose one of the questions. Plus, you've already asked both questions, so I still have a pass and a throw out," Asami answered before sticking out her tongue.

"Leave it to you two to make that game more complicated," Opal commented with a shake of her head.

"Fine, I use a pass," Korra muttered.

"Well, I'm not playing so I'll tell you," Opal said before closing her textbook with a loud snap. "It's more interesting than what I'm trying to read."

"Opal, if you value your life-" Asami silenced her by grabbing a pillow and pushing it into her face. "Hurry Opal, before she break free," the raven haired girl said, struggling to hold the pillow in place.

"Korra had a crush on a past teacher and used a fake i.d. to try and meet up with him at a concert," she said in one breath.

"Opal," Korra shouted as she pulled the pillow away from her face. She snatched it out of Asami's hands before tossing it over to Opal, who laughed hysterically while ducking.

"Are you serious?" Asami squealed. "Which teacher?"

"He left a few years ago," Korra interrupted. "We're not talking about it anymore." With that she picked up her dropped science book before sticking it into her face. Asami bit back a laugh when she noticed that the Avatar was holding onto the book so hard, that her fingers were starting to turn white from the lack of blood circulation.

"That must be Kiyoko," Asami said when she heard a knock on the front door. "Be nice, please," she begged the two of them before pushing Korra's feet off of her lap.

"I make no promises," Korra said without looking up from her book.

Asami paused by the front door and looked at herself in a nearby mirror. She took a deep breath before fluffing up her hair. After a few more seconds, she tuned and opened the front door with a soft smile. It quickly dropped when she found herself standing face to face with someone unfamiliar to her. "May I help you?"

"Asami Sato, my name is Kuvira," the girl said with a short nod. She reached out her hand and gave Asami's a firm shake. The engineer winced a bit at the grip.

"I thought we were going to meet later today," Asami answered uncertainly.

"We were, but I took the liberty of stopping by," Kuvira answered with a shrug. "And before you ask, you had all of your contact information at the bottom of your emails so it's not like I was stalking you," she said.

"Right," she said slowly.

"I decided to stop by since I was in the area and thought it would be a good idea to get a jump start on your project," she concluded.

"It's not much of a start, but a continuation," Asami insisted.

"So you say." Kuvira shrugged. She looked past Asami's shoulder before looking her square in the eye. "May I come in?"

"Yes, of course." Asami stepped to the side to let her into the room. Kuvira gave a nod of thanks before passing the threshold. She slipped her shoes off before following the engineer into the room. Asami couldn't help but smile when she noticed Opal and Korra having an arm wrestling competition. Well, it was more like Opal struggling to move Korra's arm who in turn watched her with fake boredom.

"Kuvira, what are you doing here?" Opal asked when she noticed the earthbender enter the room. She frowned when Korra quickly slammed the back of her hand to the table.

"I'm helping Asami with her Senior Project," Kuvira answered. She noticed the other woman and her eyes widened a bit in surprise. "You must be Avatar Korra," she said while holding out her hand. "I'm Kuvira."

Korra got to her feet before looking the girl up and down. She frowned when she took note of her muscular build, which wasn't as impressive as her own but was clearly toned, her height, and her casually aloof stance. "Nice to meet you," she muttered.

Kuvira gazed around the room, taking note of piles of textbooks, notebooks, and scrap paper in three spots. She quickly concluded that the piles were marking their seating arrangement so she took a seat in the last empty chair in the room.

"Are you really here to help Asami or are you here because mom told you to watch over me?" Opal asked.

"A bit of both," she answered with a shrug.

"I'm not a baby, I can handle myself," she snapped. "Bolin isn't here."

Kuvira relaxed into the chair. Korra looked between the two of them with raised eyebrows. She caught Asami's eye and jerked her head in their direction. Asami just shrugged. "Su just worries," she said quietly.

"Well, she shouldn't," Opal spat. A knocking sound came from the front of the apartment.

"That must be Kiyoko," Asami said before leaving the room. Kuvira leaned back in her seat before her legs. She looked over at the Avatar who was rapidly flipping through her science book before looking worriedly at the chicken scratch in her notebook.

"You don't go to RITA," Kuvira pointed out. "Why are you studying here?"

Korra lifted her head out of the book before looking over at Opal, who rolled her eyes in response. "Asami's good with science and she's a great tutor," she explained while picking up her science book to show the cover. "I need all the help I can get."

"An avatar needs help with something as simple as science?" Kuvira snickered. "How ironic, that the world depends on you and you depend on someone to tell you f(x)=mx."

"I hate you," Korra growled.

"Good to know," Kuvira smirked.

"Oh dear god, there's two of them," Opal muttered.

Asami re-entered the room, pulling Kiyoko by the arm. The girl looked a little shaken up and pretty timid, but she smiled politely regardless. "Kiyoko, you have probably heard of Kuvira," the engineer said. Kuvira gave her a soft smile. "These are my good friends Opal and Korra," she introduced. "They go to Republic."

"Hi," Opal said her voice carrying tones of greeting. Korra's said the same greeting but hers was as dry as the pages in her unopened science assignment work books.

"This should be interesting," Kuvira stated.

"So, Kuvira will you be staying for this study session?" Asami asked as she sat back down at the end of the couch. She motioned for Kiyoko to take a seat on the floor by the couch. She smiled graciously before lowering herself to the ground. "It could be awhile before we can get to my project

"Why not?" the earthbender answered with a sigh. "I'm sure you may run into some problems with Korra balancing an equation

"Hey, I'm passing my class with Asami's help," Korra growled.

"Yeah, I can see that." Kuvira reached over and snatched a piece of paper out of the folds of her textbook. "A genius mind helping a public figure keeping her C average," she commented while looking at the heavily marked paper. "Great work."

"Was I just complimented or insulted?" Asami asked.

"I have no idea," Opal answered. "Get used to it. You have to dig around to find compliments from her." Kiyoko giggled softly while flipping open her notebook. Opal leaned over and gasped excitedly as a flier fell out. "Hey, this is one of the posters from the past bending tournament."

"Yeah, it was such a great event," Kiyoko said with a smile. She turned towards Korra. "You and the rest of the Fire Ferrets did a great job."

'You went?" Asami asked.

"Yes, I was in the very back," she admitted quietly. "I had to keep myself out of sight. Rika doesn't like pro-bending."

"She probably doesn't like it because I like it," she muttered.

"That's her reasoning. I didn't tell her I went."

"I thought you all were supposed to be studying?" Kuvira pointed out.

"Why do you even bother with her?" Korra asked. She placed her textbook onto the table before sitting up and crossing her arms over her chest. "She just seems like a dictator."

Kiyoko's smile vanished. She traced a finger around the pattern on the cover of her notebook. "Well, Asami used to be friends with her, with all of us, so she knows that she can be nice…sometimes." She made a face. "I just think something happened in her family. I'm not too sure."

"But why are you friends with her?"

She stopped messing with her notebook before looking over at Asami out of the corner of her eyes. "I didn't want to be alone like Asami," she admitted quietly. "I have to be friends with her," she whispered.

"No one has to be friends with anyone," Opal said gently.

"Yeah, I do," Kiyoko insisted.

"Why, is she blackmailing you?" Kuvira snorted. The room suddenly became quiet. Opal and Korra exchanged looks from across the table. Kuvira bit the inside of her cheek and slowly shook her head from side to side. Asami looked down at Kiyoko from her seat, compassion and hurt filling her green eyes.

No one needed to hear an answer, because the silence was loud enough.

Chapter Text

"Hey," Kuvira said while looking up from her science book. Korra lifted her head from the back of the couch before looking around the room. Asami was helping Kiyoko with…something science-y and advanced (she had lost track a long time ago), and Opal was texting on her phone smiling every time she would receive a response. Korra rolled her eyes and smiled softly before looking over in Kuvira's direction. "Follow me," she instructed.

Korra raised an eyebrow in confusion before getting up from her seat. Asami noticed them moving and picked up her glass before holding it in the air. Korra plucked it out of her hand and looked at the bottom to see what kind of beverage she wanted. "What's up?" Korra asked as they stepped into the kitchen.

"I want to apologize for the comment I made earlier," Kuvira said as Korra rummaged around in the refrigerator, moving items to grab the bottle of Hawaiian punch. "It was a joke."

"Are all girls at RITA bad at telling jokes or is it just you and Asami?" she asked while filling up the glass. Once the liquid was at a reasonable height, she recapped the bottle of punch before slipping it back into the refrigerator.

"I hear the girls around school, making fun of each other with light put downs," Kuvira said with a shrug. "I thought that is how people act these days. I thought it was normal. Apparently, I over-analyzed the situation."

"These days? You're not that much older than me," Korra commented. "And why are you speaking so articulately?" she asked.

"If I want to be a part of the Metal Clan and a well-respected figure, I should act like it," she answered with a blink.

"There's a difference than being respected and being a robot," Korra snickered. She placed a hand on Kuvira's shoulder who looked down at it as if her hand was covered in dirt. "Here's a suggestion, loosen up a bit. No one wants to hang around someone who is very stuffy."

"Baatar Jr does," Opal commented as she entered the kitchen. She placed a bowl filled with small popcorn kernals into the sink. "Of course he's about as stuffy as she is."

"You should not be commenting on something that is none of your business, nor that you understand," Kuvira snapped. Korra rolled

Opal looked in between the two of them before tapping a finger against her chin. "You know, you two are a lot alike," she pointed out.

"What?" Kuvira snapped.

"How?" Korra asked.

"Well, you look about the same. Same height and same build." Korra and Kuvira looked each other up and down before shaking their heads.

"But I'm cuter," Korra added. Kuvira scowled.

"I know Kuvira is very competitive," Opal continued, "and you fight on a pro-bending team. I wonder which of the two of you would win in a fight."

"Me," Korra and Kuvira said at the same time. They turned towards each other with a look of surprise. "Me," the insisted. "Me!"

"Fine, let's fight and see who is better," Kuvira said with a smirk.

"Bring it on," Korra said. She placed the glass down onto the table and cracked her knuckles. Kuvira laughed through her nose before rolling her head from the left to the right. Light popping sounds filled the room. Korra couldn't help but wince.

"Wait, there's going to be a fight?" Asami asked as she entered the kitchen. She grabbed her glass of punch before taking a sip. Korra muttered a soft apology for taking too long. "We should probably keep you two away from each other from now on," she commented.

"How's the studying going?" Opal asked.

"I'm sorry for focusing on Kiyoko, Korra," Asami said as she turned to face her. She tapped her fingernails on the glass in her hand. "I just feel that-"

"Don't worry about it," Korra said, waving her hand in the air. "Did you find out how she's being blackmailed yet?"

"Am I that easy to read?" Asami asked with a laugh. Opal smiled softly as Kuvira snorted and rolled her eyes. "No, she's clamed up about it. I think in time, I can get her to tell me."

"Just like an engineer, always having to fix and tinker something," Korra snickered. "I trust your judgment, besides I still have four days before the exam. I should be heading out anyway. Tenzin asked me to watch his kids as he tends to Pema and the new baby."

"Scared of fighting me?" Kuvira asked.

"No," Korra said before sneering. "I just have plans. Besides, you and Asami are supposed to work later on her super-secret project. I wouldn't be much of a help anyway. Are you coming Opal?"

"Yeah, I'm meeting Mako and Bolin the park soon."

The three girls stepped back into the living room. Kiyoko looked up and smiled as Asami sat back down next to her. She leaned over and showed her the progress she was making on an equation in her notebook.

"Both of them?" Korra asked.

"Bolin thinks it'd be a good idea if we all got along," Opal said before walking over to Korra. She grabbed her tightly by the arm. "Walk me there. If you don't, Kuvira will," she hissed into her ear.

"I'll walk you," Korra said extra loudly said as she gathered her things. Opal pinched her on her elbow which caused the Avatar to chuckle.

"It was really nice meeting you, Korra," Kiyoko gushed from her seat on the floor. "I hope to see you in a pro-bending match soon. You're really great."

"Oh, thanks," Korra smiled. She turned and smirked at Kuvira who just rolled her eyes. "I'll text you later, Asami, if I need some more help, but I think I'm getting it."

"Yeah, once she used the idea of food," Opal commented.

Korra eyed the younger girl. "Would you rather have Kuvira walk you?"

"No, let's go," she answered quickly. "I'll keep the comments to myself." The two said their goodbyes before leaving the apartment. Upon entering the elevator, Opal let out a huge sigh of relief. "She's only mean to you because we're friends."

"Why?" Korra asked in bewilderment.

"I've known Kuvira for as long as I can remember. She thinks she can be the boss of me because my mom told her to watch over me." She shifted her bag on her shoulder before rolling her eyes. "I refuse to listen to her and she doesn't like the fact that I respond to you more."

"Because I'm nice?"

Opal laughed. "Because you and Asami look out for me without being obvious about it." She shrugged. "But, like I said. You two are a lot alike so…"

"So she sees me as competition?" Korra smiled. "Cool, it can keep me on my toes."

"Asami's right. We should keep you two away from each other."

---

The sun gleamed down on Korra and made the beads of sweat on her forehead glisten. She wiped her forehead before smirking over at Ikki and Meelo. They were on the opposite side of the air gates; Ikki was bouncing a ball while Meelo tapped his foot impatiently.

Ikki tossed the ball into the air before using her air bending to cause the gates to spin rapidly. She then used her air bending to push the ball into the gates. The ball bounced around in the gates. Meelo created a big gust of wind, causing the gates to move faster. The ball ricocheted off of a gate and flew straight towards Korra's face.

Without hesitating, Korra lifted her hand. Her eyes slowly faded into white before a blue aura began to glow around her body. The ball slowed to a stop but continued to hover above the ground. With a light flick of the wrist, Korra air bent the ball back through the gates at blinding speeds. Before he could react, Meelo was struck in the face with the ball.

"That's a point for me," Korra cheered.

"Time out!" Ikki shouted, the force of her anger sending her sky rocketing into the air.. She crossed her arms over her chest before softly floating to the ground. "You can't use the Avatar State, Korra. We've been through this, it's cheating."

"No, it is strategy." Korra shrugged. She then stuck her tongue out at the two young air benders.

"Look what you did to Meelo." Ikki pointed over to her brother. Meelo moved his hands away from his face. Korra raised her eyebrows in surprise when she noticed how red his face had turned. He rubbed the end of his nose and quickly pulled his hand away when he noticed the blood. Meelo started to regard it curiously. "You call that strategy?"

"I'm sure you two have some secret weapons up your sleeves," Korra responded simply.

"Maybe not the sleeves," Meelo said slyly. He adjusted the waist band of his pants before picking up the ball.

"That's disgusting," Korra muttered. She placed her hands together in the shape of a t as she heard her cell phone ringing. She read the caller i.d before pressing the ANSWER button. "What's up, Asami?"

"Kuvira just left," she explained. "Kiyoko left a while ago so now I'm bored."

"With how smart you are, I'm sure you can find something to do."

"Yeah, but I'll probably be bored of it after I start. You're more entertaining than finishing a book series." A light clicking sound filled Korra's ears. After a few seconds, she concluded that Asami was rapidly typing away on her computer.

"Wow, I'm more exciting than books," Korra said with over exaggerated shock. "That's the best compliment I've ever received in my life."

"Shut up, Korra," Asami cackled.

"Why don't you come back here and hang with me and the air kids?" she suggested.

"I'm not too good with kids."

"Ikki, Meelo, and Jinora are great. They warm up to anyone." Korra turned when she spotted movement out of the corner of her eyes. Jinora was walking along the air temple, holding a book tightly to her chest. Her head was down, looking at her feet as she walked. "Hey, Jinorah," she called out.

"Kai is not my boyfriend," Jinora shouted as she lifted her head. Ikki and Meelo shared a look with each other before facing their older sister.

"All is said was hi," Korra said slowly, a smile forming on her lips. "But, now that we're on that topic, how are things going? I hear you've been spending a lot of time together," she said in a singing voice. Jinora rolled her eyes and Korra's smile widened as she heard Asami's laugh in her ear.

"Just school work," Jinorah insisted, her cheeks turning a flaming red. "Leave me alone," she ordered before rushing away. Ikki and Meelo laughed before giving each other a high five, signaling to Korra that their older sister's reaction was because of a previous teasing section.

"Figures, the only time I can get an emotion out of her is when we're talking about boys," Korra muttered.

"More like you teasing her," Asami responded with a laugh.

"She deserves it. She wouldn't stop asking about me and Mako when I started to like him. She even gave me this weird idea from a book about burning down a village and throwing myself into a volcano."

"What?"

"Jinora said it was romantic," Korra answered with a shrug. She held up a finger in Ikki and Meelo's direction when she spotted the impatient looks on their faces.

"Is that a book she should be reading?"

"I don't think Tenzin knows about it," she admitted.

"So, if you're watching his kids you should tell him," Asami instructed.

"No way."

"Why not?"

"Because he'll find a way to blame me for it. Trust me."

---

A few nights later, the Krew talked animatedly as they walked into The Midnight Dragon. Korra was pumped up on the energy of knowing she had finished her final mid-term earlier that afternoon and just wanted to push away her worries of doing well or doing badly. For the past few days, she crashed at Asami's place, being tutored for her science exam which was the only one she really worried about. Asami found it to be a challenge as the day grew closer.

The sooner it was to test taking day, the more distracted Korra became. Eventually, Asami had to convince Opal to join them on their study sessions to keep her in line, which ended up backfiring since it quickly turned into girl's nights. However, it worked out in the long run because Korra seemed to retain more information the more relaxed she was instead of the rigid studying sessions the engineer had suggested.

Asami watched in amusement as she coached Opal and Bolin on how to act when it came time for them to show their i.d.'s to the bouncer at the front of the night club. "Walk with confidence, flash the i.d., and don't bring any unnecessary attention to yourself," she hissed as the line got closer to the front.

Opal and Bolin's jaws dropped in shock as they stepped into The Midnight Dragon. The dance club was packed with people and loud music. The Midnight Dragon was decorated with red, blue, orange, and green silks, emulating the respected colors of the Four Nations.

Tables and sitting areas lined the walls of the building by the windows. A giant bar was at the back of the room, filled with numerous colored bottles. Stairs in the back right hand corner of the room lead to a second floor. Opal bobbed her head to the music as Bolin took her hand and pulled her into the crowd.

"Guys, wait!" Asami called after them. "We should all stay together, and they're gone." She rolled her eyes before holding her hand out for Mako's and Korra's jackets. "I'm surprised the bouncer believed their i.d.'s."

"You never underestimate the power of my contact," Korra said with a smug smile. She smoothed out her blue triangular top free of wrinkles before moving to the music. "Those two will be fine as long as they don't try to drink anything."

"Speaking of drinks, I could sure use one," Mako said as he eyed the bar. A girl with brown hair pulled back into a bun locked eyes with him across the room. She smiled as she picked up a margarita mixer and began to shake the silver container.

"You already passed all of your exams. The only ones letting off steam here is me, Bolin, and Opal for surviving the week," she commented with a shake of her head. It was then she followed his line of sight towards the girl. She smiled knowingly before nudging him forward with her elbow. "But, you can celebrate with us." Korra looked over at Asami and the two shared a smile. "You coming, Asami?"

"No." Asami shook her head. She looked over at the dance floor, people's shoes lighting up from the glow in the dark tiles underneath their feet. "I'm going to dance for a bit."

"You spot a cute guy?" Korra asked, straining to look through the crowd.

"Not yet."

"Okay, well, Bolin just joined Mako at the bar. I'll keep an eye on him if you watch Opal," she instructed. Asami nodded in agreement before they parted ways. She brushed past a few people, smiled and waved at those she recognized, before stepping onto the dance floor. She locked eyes with Opal who was dancing with a small group of other girls.

"Making new friends already?" Asami shouted in her ear. Opal smiled and nodded. "Bolin doesn't mind that you ditched him?"

"He said he was hungry. I'll catch up with him later," Opal responded with a shrug. She did a quick spin on her heel before grabbing a hold of Asami's hand, starting to dance with her. The song Yeah by Usher started to play over the speakers.

"You want to dance?" a male voice asked in her ear. Asami turned and eyed the guy, up and down. She took note of his messy hair and mustache, before frowning at the gold covered tooth in his smile. She looked over at Opal and widened her eyes. The younger girl nodded before pulling her a bit closer.

"I already have a partner," she responded with an apologetic smile. Opal quickly dipped her before spinning them away. "Thank you."

"Anytime," she answered with a shrug. "I can't believe he thought he'd have a chance though," she snickered as they continued to dance together, putting in spins and twirls. They were in perfect sync. Asami moved and swayed easily with each new song that the DJ played.

"I'm going to get us something to drink," Opal shouted in her ear. She nodded but continued to dance to the beat of the music. She smiled at other dancers as they made eye contact. Asami grunted as someone pushed into her back. She turned and was about to yell at the person but stopped when she spotted Iroh staring down at her, his hands in his pockets and his feet planted firmly on the ground. He didn't flinch as other people danced into him.

"Asami," he said with a nod.

"Why are you here?" she demanded.

"Last I checked, this was public place that anyone could go to," Iroh answered with a slow shrug. "So, here I am."

"Are you stalking me now?"

"I wouldn't have to follow you if you would just talk to me."

Asami clenched her jaw. She tightened her hands into fists before crossing her arms over her chest. "How many times do I have to tell you, there's nothing to talk about?"

Iroh placed both of his hands on her cheeks. He touched the corner of her lips before leaning forward. He pressed his mouth to her ear before saying, "If you would just listen to me, I will leave you alone."

"Do you promise?"

"I promise."

"Okay," she agreed before looking to her right. She frowned when she noticed that Opal had disappeared. "Just let me tell-"

"Come on, it is quieter outside." Iroh placed his hands on his shoulders before forcibly turning her around. Asami felt a lump forming in her throat as he pushed her through the crowd. She pulled herself out of his grasp and stepped to the side as he held the door open for her. She smiled softly, brushing her behind her ear as she stepped outside.

"Okay, just tell me what you need to tell me," Asami instructed. Iroh slipped his hand into hers before heading down the street. His touch was soft and gently, something she was used to feeling back when they were dating.

"I really want you to know how sorry I am," he whispered. He pulled lightly on her hand, taking them into an alleyway. Asami felt her heart begin to race. She started to pull back a bit on his grip, but he continued to move them forward. "It's just better not to talk about this in public," he said once he turned and noticed the worried look on her face.

Asami bit her bottom lip and nodded once. He let go of her wrist before placing his hands on her shoulders, his thumbs brushing against her exposed collarbones. Normally, that action would cause her to be weak at the knees, but not it made her tense.

"I'm sorry about everything." Iroh pressed his forehead against hers and looked straight into her eyes. Up close, she noticed the bags under his eyes and the darker shade his irises were. "I'm sorry about the cheating and the lying. I didn't mean to hurt you."

"But you still did," Asami whispered. She swallowed hard.

"I know, and I was wrong. I've been reflecting on it ever since I left."

"You're still with Rika, the girl who you cheated on me with."

Iroh smiled softly before pulling back. He brushed his hair out of his face before cupping his chin in his hand. "I don't really like her. I just never got the chance to say anything. She's a little intense."

"I know the feeling," Asami joked. She mentally kicked herself when she saw the tiny spark back in his eyes.

"I was kind of hoping we could smooth things over between us." Iroh took her hands and ran his thumbs across the back. She quickly took a step away before running a hand through her hair.

"If that's what you want, then fine," she said, forcing her voice not to shake as much as her body was beginning to do, "but we're not going to get back together.

"Why not?" Iroh demanded. Asami's eyes widened at his harsh tones. "Things would be great between us."

"No, it wouldn't."

"Asami." He reached out and grabbed a hold of her wrist. She looked up at him in confusion before tugging her arm back. His grip tightened with every passing second. Asami glared at him before tugging again.

"Let go, Iroh," she ordered.

"No, you're not listening to me!"

"I said let go," Asami wailed as she pulled at his fingers. "You're hurting me." She grabbed a hold of his wrist and twisted it upside down. He winced and quickly let go of her wrist. She took a step back and went through the motions of performing a roundhouse, but he quickly caught her her foot before it connected to his side.

She gasped in pain as he twisted her ankle around. Asami quickly held her hands out to brace her fall. She wheezed as the wind was knocked out of her. Iroh grabbed her by the collar of her jacket before pushing her up against the brick wall. "Stop!" she shouted while reaching out and pushing against his face. He let out a shout as her nails scratched him down his cheek.

Asami paused and looked at the drop of blood dribbling down. Iroh turned to look back at her. She felt her adrenaline spike when she noticed how dark his eyes had become. She grunted, her head snapping to the side, as his palm connected with her cheek. "Please, stop," she whispered.

---

"Korra!" Opal shouted. Korra looked down and saw Opal motioning for her to get off the table. She rolled her eyes before jumping down. The liquid in her cup splashed up. With a flick of her wrist, she waterbent it back into her cup.

"What's up?" she asked.

"Where's Asami?"

Korra frowned. She looked around the room over the bobbing heads. She scanned the bar, where she had to pause and roll her eyes when she noticed Bolin munching down on a giant bowl of pineapple chunks, to one of the lounge areas where Mako was talking to a small group of woman, before looking back at her friend. "I thought she was with you."

"No." She shook her head. Her eyes widening with fear. "I haven't seen her since I went to get something to drink."

"I have a bad feeling," Korra muttered "Bolin," she said while walking up to the bar. "You will blow chunks later if you keep this up."

"But these are so good," he whined before shoveling another spoonful into his mouth. "Andthere'snoalcoholinthematall," he slurred.

"Oh great," Korra groaned.

"I'm not cleaning you up," Opal warned him.

"Come on, we have to find Asami." Korra grabbed him by the collar before tugging him off of the stool. She grabbed Opal by the arm before pulling her through the crowd. Upon heading for the exit she tugged Mako along with her, who had roughly four napkins shoved into his pockets. The small group forced their way outside of the Midnight Dragon and searched the streets. "I don't see her."

Mako stepped back into the nightclub for a few seconds before coming back out. "A bouncer said they saw her and some guy leave a few minutes. He didn't know which direction they went in."

"Okay, then," Korra said before placing her hands on her hips. "Let's go this way," she instructed before speed walking. She looked down every alleyway they passed. She heard Mako, Bolin, and Opal panting as they attempted to match her stride.

"What if she's not down this way?" Bolin wheezed; his arms pumping rapidly.

"Then we'll double back and check in the other direction," Korra snapped.

"Stop!"

Korra immediately stopped causing Mako and Bolin to walk right into her back. She let out a soft grunt as she was pushed forward. The two brothers quickly grabbed her by the arms and straightened her back up.

"What's wrong?" Opal asked, panting as she ran up to them. She placed a hand on her chest while breathing deeply. "What happened?"

"I heard something," Korra muttered.

"It could have been anything," Mako pointed out. The four of them tense when they heard a loud smack sound followed by a whimper. "It came from this way," he said before taking off down an alleyway. Korra, Bolin, and Opal were hot on his heels as he rounded a corner.

"Please, stop," a voice whispered.

"Asami!" Bolin shouted. The four slid to a stop when they spotted a guy leaning in close to Asami's face. She sobbed while covering her face with her hands. "Back off, man," he shouted as he and Mako ran up. The two of them ran into Iroh's sides and grabbed him by the arms.

The guy grabbed onto their arms before kicking his feet. Opal and Korra shielded their eyes as fire erupted from the balls of his feet, sending the three of them into the air. Korra quickly bent the air underneath Bolin and Mako to cushion their fall as their fingers slipped from his arms.

"Iroh, stop!" Asami pleaded.

Opal ran over and pulled the engineer out of the way as the flames underneath Iroh's feet spread out wide. Mako and Bolin slowed to a stop from the air underneath them before landing on their feet. Korra pushed past them and stalked over to Iroh. She stomped a foot onto the ground as he sent out a jab straight to her face. She leaned back out of the way as flames erupted near her face. The ground beneath his feet popped up and locked his feet to the ground. A large rock wall popped up in front of him and locked his fist in place.

"You leave Asami alone," Korra snarled. "Do you hear me?" She then crouched down and slammed her fist into the ground. The rock surrounding Iroh's fist and feet shot back down before popping up straight underneath his feet. He let out a soft cry as he was hurtled into the air before crashing landing into two metal trashcans.

"We need to call the police," Opal said while looking over her shoulder.

"No, wait," Asami said as she fought to catch her breath. She wiped the tears from her cheeks while walking slowly over to Iroh, who remained laying on the ground. He rolled his head and looked up at her.

"Be careful," Bolin said as he and Mako moved closer.

"Iroh, you need help," she said softly. Iroh quickly sat up. Korra grabbed Asami's arm and pulled her back a few steps. "I don't know what's happened to you, but I know you would never act like this." She knelt down by his side. "I won't press charges."

"What?" Korra exclaimed.

"I think he has PTSD," Asami explained quietly. "It wouldn't be fair for him to be arrested for an illness." She turned back towards Iroh and extended her hand. "Please, if you really loved me then you will get help." He looked at her hand before back up to her face. Iroh slipped his palm into hers and let her pull him to his feet.

"I'm sorry, Asami," he muttered. He reached up and cupped her cheek. She relaxed into his grip before stepping away.

"I know." She let Korra pull her by the arm. The rest of the group followed them out of the alleyway. Once they reached the sidewalk by The Midnight Dragon, Asami let out a loud wail before throwing herself into Korra's arms.

"It's okay," Korra said before wrapping her arms around the engineer's waist. She reached up and ran her fingers through the hair at the base of Asami's scalp. "Everything is fine now."

"I want to get out of here," she whimpered.

"My dorm is the closest," Opal said quietly before rubbing small circles on Asami's back. After a few seconds she stepped away and leaned into Bolin's side, watching the two of them. Mako looked over to where the satomobile was parked and frowned.

"We should probably leave your car here," he suggested. "None of us can drive it."

"Then we're going to have to walk," Korra answered.

"Thank you," Asami whispered into the Avatar's ear. "Thank you so much."

---

Once they returned to campus, Opal rushed up into the dorm building, and snuck past the dorm monitor, to her room. She silently cheered to herself once she remembered her roommate was gone for the night with her basketball team. She walked over to the windows and threw them open. She looked down and waved to the rest of The Krew members, down below.

Korra was standing off to the side, continuing to console Asami, while Mako and Bolin stood at the base of the side of the building. Bolin was slumped against the wall, struggling to keep his eyes open as Mako constantly looked over his shoulder.

"If Chief Beifong finds us out here, we're dead," he hissed.

"Then we have to make sure she doesn't catch us," Korra answered while rubbing Asami's back. "Ready?" she asked. Asami nodded but remained quiet. The Avatar lifted her head and flashed Opal a thumbs up. Opal nodded once before pulling her head back into her room. A few seconds later, she reappeared by the window, tossing a few pillows to the floor. "Hold on," Korra said before scooping Asami into her arms. She jumped up and bent the air underneath her feet to propel them up towards the window. Asami let out a soft cry as Korra grabbed onto the windowsill with one hand before placing onto the edge.

"Thanks," Asami whispered as Opal pulled her in through the window.

"Here are some clothes you can change into," she said while handing her a bundling of different colored clothing. Asami smiled down at them before reaching over and giving Opal a hug.

"Look out!" Asami and Opal let out a shriek as they quickly stepped away from the window. Bolin flew in through the window before crashing to the floor onto the pillows.

"Shhhhhhh!" Mako hissed.

"This is why I said not to earthbend," Korra said as she appeared in the window. She pulled herself up onto the windowsill before pulling herself into the room. She turned and leaned back out the window. Opal showed Asami to the bathroom as Korra bent the air underneath Mako's feet to propel him up to the window. She grabbed his wrist once he was in reached and pulled him in. She then bent the earth back to its flat state. "That should fix it."

Mako took a seat on the dorm room floor, resting his back up against the side of the other twin bed. He looked up at The Avatar in confusion as she started to pace the room, wringing her hands together. "What's up, Korra?"

"Nothing," she answered with bite. Bolin noticed that every time Korra faced the bathroom door, she would sigh and shake her head, before clenching her jaw and turning on her heel starting another trip around the room. He nudged Mako on the foot and jerked his head in her direction. Mako nodded slowly.

"Korra, you shouldn't blame yourself," he said gently.

"But, I'm the Avatar." She threw her arms into the air before collapsing into the chair at Opal's desk. "It is my job to protect people, and I couldn't even protect my best friend."

"You're putting too much pressure on yourself," Opal added.

"We all found her before anything else happened. She knows you did your best and she's grateful for that," he said.

Korra sighed before shaking her head. She sat up a bit taller as Asami stepped out of the bathroom. She had borrowed one of Opal's tshirts and shorts. She had pulled her hair out of her ponytail and washed all of her makeup but her eye shadow off. Although, Korra could see that her crying had helped a bit in cleaning off the makeup. The raven-haired girl's eyes looked greener against the redness from crying.

"We should be going," Bolin said from his spot on the floor. He didn't even bother trying to move. He blinked rapidly.

"Bolin, we can't," Mako said beside him. He rubbed his burning eyes.

"What are you talking about?" he asked. "In case you've forgotten it is against school rules to have overnight guests during the week. Let alone that two of them are guys."

"I know what the rules are, but we're already here. Then we'll leave early in the morning," Mako answered. "If we get caught by Beifong, she'll smell the alcohol on us and we'd be in even more trouble."

"Good point," Bolin quickly agreed. He flipped over onto his side. "Good night."

"I'll set an alarm," Korra suggested. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket before switching on the alarm clock function. "Asami and I will have to leave early too. Right now, let's just get some sleep."

Opal offered her roommate's bed to Asami who quickly climbed in. Bolin and Mako were nestled on the floor. Korra took a seat in Opal's chair at her desk. She crossed her arms over the hardwood and put her head down. Asami took a deep breath before sinking into the bed. She closed her eyes and willed herself to fall asleep. A few seconds later the wind picked up and pushed a tree branch into the window. Following closely, as bang so loud it rattled the door in the door frame.

"What was that?" Asami asked, sitting straight up in bed. She looked to her right and found Opal already asleep, curled up with a stuffed badgermole. Bolin and Mako were passed out on the floor, their backs to each other. "Korra," she started.

"Everything will be fine," Korra whispered. "I'll be right here in case something happens. Just try and get some sleep." Asami nodded before snuggling down underneath the blankets. She rested her head on her arm and peeked up at Korra who had moved her chair closer to the door. She slumped down and crossed her arms before lowering her head and closing her eyes.

As she waited for her heart beat to slow down, Asami turned onto her side. She looked over at Korra who seemed to be fighting off sleep. Her head kept tilting down. She would jerk her head back up, but then a few seconds later it would tilt back. Asami suppressed a laugh at the site in front of her. Thank you, Korra. You're amazing.

A few minutes later, Asami fell asleep to the comforting sounds of her friends' snoring a few feet away from her.

Chapter Text

"Wake up!"

"What?" Asami moved her head to the side and winced at the bright light in her face. She moved her arm to block out the sun. She opened her eyes and found herself staring at the bottom half of a poster. She stared at the picture of feet before moving her eyes up, taking in the sight of Tahno from the WolfBats. She blinked rapidly before rolling over. She gazed around the room in a sleepy daze, taking note of Opal grabbing Bolin by his collar and shaking him with no abandon.

"What's going on?" she asked.

"It's seven in the morning!" Opal hissed.

"So?"

"So, your alarm should have gone off hours ago. You have to get out of here," she answered.

Asami continued to stare at her. Alarm. Korra. Dorm. Midnight Dragon. Iroh. Dorm. Sneaking in. Window. Breaking rule. Lin. Security. Caught. Dorm. After hours. Weeknight. Guys in dorm. Loud bang. Korra. Protection. Korra. 7 am. 7 AM. 7 AM!

"Oh, shoot!" Asami cried before flinging the sheets off of her. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and moved to stand up. One of her legs were still wrapped up in the sheet, causing her to collapse to the floor on top of Mako, who grunted in surprise.

"What the hell was that for?" he groaned while rubbing his arm. Asami climbed off of him before rushing across the room to wake the sleeping Avatar. She stubbed her toe on the side of Opal's bed and forced herself not to let out a loud cry. The pain throbbed as she limped over, careful not to step on Bolin who was still out like a light.

Korra woke up with a start when she heard Asami stub her toe. She jumped out of the seat and moved into a fighting stance before taking in her surroundings as Asami walked over to her. "What's up, limpalina?" she said gruffly, cracking a half smile. She rubbed her burning eyes, jumping slightly as Asami reached into her pocket and pulled out her cell phone. She pressed a few buttons before holding the glowing screen in front of her face. Korra blinked a few times before focusing. Her blue eyes widened as she snatched the phone out of her friend's hand.

"Oh, spirits, we're dead!" she shouted. Opal shushed her before focusing on Bolin once more.

"I got him, Opal," Mako muttered while wavering her away. She took a step back before rushing over to the dorm door, peering out the peephole.

Mako took a deep breath before lowering himself by Bolin's ear and whispering in a scratchy voice: "Wake up, my lovely turtle-duck."

Bolin jumped up with a yelp. He scrambled onto Opal's bed and cowered in the corner, holding up a pillow as if to protect himself. He breathed heavily and placed a hand over his heart. Korra and Mako burst into laughter as recognition settled in on Bolin's face.

"That's not funny," he insisted.

"What was that about?" Asami asked.

"Mako did a spot on impression of my cousin, Eska. They used to date," Korra explained, wiping a tear away from her eye. "Well, only if you call treating him like a servant she liked to humiliate as dating."

"Oh." She nodded once. She pointed at the phone in Korra's hand. "Why is my number under the name Samus?" she asked.

Korra looked at her phone before shrugging and putting it back into her pocket. "I changed the name after our trip out karaoking," she answered.

"What does it mean?"

"You're kidding right?" Bolin asked. Asami shook her head before looking in between the two of them. "Samus Aran is the main character from Metorid. She is one of the earliest female characters to be revealed as a main protagonist in a video game."

"So?"

"So? She's a badass who uses power canons and missiles in her missions against space pirates and their leader Ridley," Korra said. Each word carried a tone of disbelief, hinting to Asami that it was something she should have already known. "That's kind of like you. You're an engineer who creates cars and who knows what, and is dealing with two lackeys and a Rika. I thought it was a perfect fit."

Asami cocked her head to the side and frowned. "Is that a good thing?"

"It's a compliment," Bolin reassured her while placing a hand on her shoulder. He then turned his attention back to Korra. "She's cool, but not as cool as Sheik."

"Samus is way better," Korra quickly corrected him.

"Sheik is a princess disguised as a fighter," Bolin challenged.

"If she's so great, she wouldn't play the damsel-in-distress role," she snapped.

"Hence the creation of the character, Sheik!"

"Hey," Mako called out. The three of them jumped at his loud voice. He cleared his throat before rubbing the space between his eyebrows with his knuckles. "We don't have time for this."

"He's right," Opal agreed. "The campus is starting to wake up. You all have to get out of here." She turned toward the firebender and clasped her hands together tightly. "Mako, how bad can things be? How many rules did we break?"

"Let's see: having overnight guests in a dorm room during the week, two of them being male, sneaking into a room, fake ids, and underage drinking," he listed off.

"How much trouble could we get into?" Korra asked.

"Well, given all of the factors, even if we were to explain our side of the story…" he trailed off. Asami, Bolin, Korra, and Opal all leaned closer to him, their eyes wide with hope. They held their breaths waiting for him to finish his sentence. "A lot," he concluded.

"We're going to lose our scholarships," Bolin said to the Avatar. Mako nodded.

"I'm going to get a reputation," Opal whimpered.

"Depending on which way you spin it, that could work in your favor," Korra pointed out. Asami rolled her eyes before slapping the darker girl on the arm. She couldn't help but smile when she watched her pout while rubbing the sore spot.

"I'm going to lose my modeling job," Asami said quietly.

"Well, it's not like you need it," he commented. "Nothing will really happen to you. You don't attend this school."

"I felt left out." She shrugged. "If you don't want me to be empathetic, then fine."

"Okay, fine," Korra said with authority. She went to stand next to Opal at the front of the room. The younger girl quicky moved to Bolin's side and looked at her expectantly. The other three members of the Krew did the same. "We just can't get caught," she stated as if it were simple.

"How?" Opal asked, desperately. "You all will have to leave through the main doors. You can't sneak out the window again, someone is bound to notice."

"No problem," Korra said with an air of reassurance. "I am the man with the plan. Well, woman. I am the wo-man with the plan," she said while puffing up her chest a bit. "Everything will be fine."

Bolin let out a loud groan and clutched his stomach before darting towards the bathroom. A second later, he was emptying his stomach into the toilet. Mako, Opal, and Asami all looked at her, expectantly.

"As long as he can hold it in until we make it outside, we should be good," Korra said. Her smile faded as Bolin, once more, emptied his stomach.

"We're doomed," Mako groaned.

"We should at least try," Asami suggested. "We won't know what will happen until it happens. Besides, I'm sure Korra has a good idea."

Korra rubbed the back of her neck before smiling sheepishly. "My idea is to listen to whatever idea you come up with," she answered.

"Me?"

"You're the smartest one out of all of us, so you probably will have a better plan than we could ever come up with," she answered. Asami smiled at the compliment before bitting her bottom lip and looking over at Opal and Mako. The two stared back at her, waiting for her instruction. Korra placed an arm around her shoulders and jostled her a bit. "So, what are you thinking?"

"I'm going to need a copy of the student handbook," Asami instructed, "and for everyone to clean up this room back to the way it was, and someone get Bolin some water and a banana for his hangover."

"I told you not to eat all of those pineapple chunks," Korra called out. "I got sick just from watching you."

"It was a good idea at the time," he moaned in response.

---

"This is a stupid idea," Opal said. Sweat broke out on her forehead as she tugged onto the metal handle of the flatbed cart. "We're going to get caught."

"No, we won't," Asami panted. She stood next to Opal and the two of them tugged the cart slowly around the corner of a hallway. "This will work."

"How do you know?" Korra grunted as she ran into the corner of a wall. She rubbed her back and took a step to the side, directing the two other girls to around the corner. She winced as they took too sharp of a turn and caused the back left wheel of the flatbed to run into the wall with a loud thump.

"Science project," Asami answered quickly, refusing to look into her eyes. In a way, it was a science project. She and a few other girls were testing a hypothesis of how to sneak their older boyfriends into RITA to attend a school dance with them. They were able to carry the plan off by hiding the guys on a flatbed cart, (flat on their backs), covering them with piles of long flat cardboard boxes and covering everything with a few extra-long table cloths. They convinced the decorating committee that a few teachers had asked them to set up another table in the room. It worked out since Asami had checked ahead of time that the school commons, the area where students can relax during free period, had a few extra tables in the storage room.

Currently, Mako and Bolin were resting on a flatbed cart underneath Opal's mattress. They covered the mattress with one of Opal's fitted sheets, stretching the corners to cover the entire mattress and to hook onto the corners of the flatbed, causing the only thing to be noticeable is the outline of the mattress itself.

"Hurry up, my stomach is doing well with all of the start and stops," Bolin moaned from underneath the bedding. He and Mako had to hold up the corners of the mattress with their hands and feet to make sure it looked as relatively flat as possible. Also, it made it easier for them to breathe.

"We're almost there Bolin. We're at the front doors," Opal answered. Korra ran around to the back of the flatbed cart before picking it up and easily shifting it to the right so that it was free of the turn. She then ran over and pushed open the two front doors and waited for the automatic hydraulics to kick in, so that the doors automatically fully opened. She then grabbed a hold of the metal cart and easily pulled it along behind her and out of the building.

---

Lin Beifong scowled heavily as she walked towards Air Hall. She muttered to herself while clenching and unclenching her fists with every step she took. A few students spotted her and quickly ran in the opposite direction. She glared at all of them before stopping in her tracks. She titled her head to the side as she watched Korra, Asami, and her niece, Opal, tugging flatbed cart through the front doors of Opal's dorm building.

The three girls tugged as the cart got stuck onto the metal strip on the ground. Lin grumbled before walking over, counting all of the number of rules they could potentially be breaking on her way. She heard Korra give a soft count of three before all of them pulled at one time. Lin fought back a laugh as the metal handle to the flatbed cart popped out of its placement in the cart's frame, sending the three girls falling onto their backs to the ground.

Lin walked up and glared down at them. It took a few seconds for the girls to notice since they were too busy rocking in pain. Once Korra spotted metal shoes near her head she quickly rolled herself onto her stomach. Lin metal bent the cart's handle off of them before tossing it a few feet away.

"Morning Chief Crankypants," Korra said from the ground with a salute. "What brings you around?"

"My job," she growled.

Korra nodded in understanding before a light squeaking sound filled her ears. It was then she noticed the flatbed slowly rolling towards the bottom of the small incline. She and Asami looked at each other with wide eyes as Opal watched in horror as it slowly began to pick up speed. Lin stomped her foot into the ground. A small square piece of rock popped up and one of the wheels of the flatbed cart ran into it, causing everything to immediately stop.

"That's got to hurt," Korra mumbled.

"What are you doing?" she barked. Korra got to her feet before helping Opal and Asami up. The three of them looked at each other before back up to the older woman. "Explain yourself."

"We were just…" Opal trailed. She scratched the back of her head, swaying on the balls of her feet. "Moving some of my furniture," she blurted out. Korra and Asami smiled and pointed at the younger girl. "It was time for a change."

"The only piece of furniture you have big enough in your room is your bed and that's Republic's property," she answered.

"We know, but the mattress is hers," Korra added. "We're changing it because it's too lumpy for her back."

Lin nodded slowly before turning her eyes onto Asami. The engineer lifted her chin and bit and pulled her lips into a thin line. Korra had seen that look once before when Asami was on the phone with one of the workers from Future Industries. The Avatar had deduced it was one of her 'business looks' that she had to use from time to time to get people to treat her as an equal instead of a female CEO. "So why is she here and wearing your clothes, Opal?"

Asami cleared her throat. "I came in early before classes to talk to the new art teacher and Korra had texted me asking to help them move the mattress," she said calmly.

"She's the Avatar," Lin said dryly. "She can lift a polar bear dog by herself." Korra couldn't help but puff up with pride at the compliment she had just received. Opal rolled her eyes and pinched her on the back of her elbow.

"True, but what friend would I be to let her overexert herself so easily?" Asami asked.

"It wouldn't have been that much of a problem for me," Korra muttered. Opal pinched her harder. Korra let out a soft cry of pain before rubbing her arm.

"And I lent her my clothes because I didn't want her to ruin hers before she went to her classes at RITA later," Opal added.

Chief Lin Beifong looked down at the three of them with a raised eyebrow. Opal and Asami had to break their eye contact after a few seconds, unable to hold her stern gaze. Korra raised an eyebrow before crossing her arms over her chest. Lin held up two fingers to her eyes before pointing them at Korra. The Avatar sneered before making the same gesture back.

"I'll leave you to it then," Lin said with a sigh. "I was actually on my way to talk to Tenzin, and I was supposed to track you down, Korra, and bring you with me."

"Me? Why? W-why? Why?" Korra asked. Whether or not Lin had heard the slight stammer, they weren't sure as the head of Republic security clasped her hands behind her back before walking over to the cart. She placed a hand on the metal handle before looking over it. "Why don't I help you all with moving your mattress? Where were you planning on taking it?"

"Storage," Opal shouted while Korra answered "the dump", and Asami responded with, "Habitat for Humanity".

Lin nodded once. She took a step back before lifting her foot high into the air. "Uh-oh," Opal muttered as the metal from the bottom of Lin's shoe disappeared into the heel. She then slammed her foot into the ground and closed her eyes. A second later, she straightened up and tugged the sheets from two of the corners of the flat bed. Lin let out a soft grunt as she pushed the mattress up, before glaring down at Mako and Bolin.

"Didn't see that one coming," Asami deadpanned. "Why didn't either of you tell me should do that?"

"I forgot," Korra hissed.

"I'm sure Headmaster Tenzin would love to hear about this one," Lin said with a half-smile. Bolin quickly jumped off of the cart, and scampered to a nearby trash can before throwing up again.

Chapter Text

“We are so dead,” Mako muttered. He reached over and picked up a nearby trashcan before shoving it under Bolin’s mouth. His brother gave him a weak smile before throwing up. Mako handed him a water bottle.

The five teenagers were sitting in the wooden chairs outside of Headmaster Tenzin’s office, staring at the door. Lin had entered a few minutes ago, explaining the situation. His secretary glared at the five of them from across the room in between disapproving clicks of her tongue and answering the ringing telephone.

“You don’t know that,” Korra commented.

“I think that’s the last of it,” Bolin rasped before taking a sip of water.

“We would have been fine if anyone aside from my aunt caught us,” Opal said, taking a bite out of the nail on her thumb.

“She has a point,” the Avatar added. “Su would probably say we’re acting how teenagers should act our age, and Pema would have probably thought it was funny.”

“Let’s look at this logically,” Asami suggested. “What can they do so close to final exams and Christmas Vacation?”

Before anyone could answer, the secretary’s phone rang. She answered the call quietly, nodding a few times, before hanging up without a word. The secretary pressed a button causing a loud buzzing to fill the room. “You can go in now,” she said with a hand wave.

Mako helped Bolin to his feet before tugging the trash can away from him. The secretary glared as he passed it over to her. They all entered the room, one by one, Opal in the front, and Korra at the back.

Opal shifted uncomfortably underneath her aunt’s harsh glare as she and the rest of The Krew slowly walked into Headmaster Tenzin’s office. He looked up at them all before holding up a finger. He bid a farewell to the person on the phone before placing it back into the cradle.

“Have a seat,” he instructed. The five teenagers quickly moved to sit down. There were only four chairs lined up in front of his desk. Korra had offered one of the chairs to Asami before perching herself on the armrest. “Lin has filled me in on a few of the details so I’d like you all to fill me in on what happened.”

“Well, we were hanging out last night and we didn’t think it was a good idea for Asami to go home by herself so late so we had her stay here. We didn’t want to leave her alone because she was upset about-” Opal’s eyes widened before she clasped a hand over her mouth.

“About my father,” Asami filled in. “Some people made some comments and I didn’t take to them particularly well.”

“What did you want us to do?” Korra asked. “Give up on a friend?”

“That doesn’t explain why you had two people of the opposite sex in your room,” Tenzin pointed out. Korra looked at Asami, who looked past Bolin who was doubled over clutching his stomach to Mako, who looked at Opal.

Opal licked her bottom lip. She looked back down the line before her eyes landed on Asami. “…School project,” she answered.

“Which class?”

“Art.”

“You don’t take art,” Lin reminded her.

“You haven’t had an art class since Pema giving birth and your midterms,” Tenzin added.

“This was assigned before midterms,” Mako interjected. Korra nodded rapidly while pointing a finger in his direction. “It’s our final project. Asami wasn’t with us at the time and we needed a stand in.” Mako frowned at Korra’s continuous head bobbing. Asami pinched her on the knee, causing the Avatar to jump.

“Either way, you broke various school rules,” Tenzin said sternly. “If you read the handbook it states-”

“It states that students are permitted to use flatbed carts to move various large pieces of furniture and school projects around campus,” Asami said with a smile. She lifted her chin and sat up a bit taller in her seat.

Lin laughed to herself. “And you sound so sure of yourself,” she muttered.

“I take it you didn’t read the second page,” Tenzin said. He turned in his chair and grabbed a copy of the handbook off of the shelf behind his desk. Tenzin used his airbending to flip the book open. He blew a gently breeze across the pages to flip them to the right page.

“There was a second page?” Asami slowly leaned back in her seat.

“Oh,” Opal said in a low voice, “I probably should have mentioned that the pages stick in my handbook.”

Tenzin cleared his throat before reading: “Students are permitted to use the campus’ flatbed carts to move various large pieces of furniture and school projects as long as the students check out the carts with the RA or with advance notice.” He closed the handbook with a snap. “Let’s see: unauthorized overnight guests, unauthorized overnight guests of the opposite sex, unauthorized rental use of the school’s flatbed carts-”

"More like theft since they didn’t rent it,” Lin interrupted.

“There will be a note added to each of your file and we’re going to have to call your parents or guardians.” Tenzin gave them each a stern look before reaching for the phone.

Korra instantly jumped up. She placed a hand over Tenzin’s, forcing him to put the phone back into its cradle. “Is that really necessary?” she asked, her voice an octave higher than normal. “I mean, we don’t need to get our families involved in this. Aren’t you all teaching us about adulthood and dealing with things on our own?”

“Korra, sit down,” he ordered.

“Yes, sir.” Korra quickly resumed her placed on the armrest of Asami’s chair. She lowered her head and started to twiddle her thumbs.

“I never knew you’d be afraid of your mother, Korra,” Mako said with a chuckle.

“That’s because you’ve never seen her angry.”

“Starting immediately: Bolin, Mako, and Opal, you all are suspended,” Tenzin called out. Opal gasped and looked over at Lin. She just pursed her lips in response before slowly shaking her head. Opal let out a light whimper before slumping in her seat.

“What about our scholarships?” Mako asked. Bolin grimaced and held his stomach. He looked like he was going to be sick, but it was unclear if it were from the pineapple chunks he had eaten the night before or from the news he just received.

“I will leave that up to the organizations who gave them to the two of you. Otherwise, you three will receive In-school suspension. For a week. You will get zeroes on all of your assignments including homework. You will report to me every morning when classes are in session and once again in the afternoon to check out. Do you understand?”

“I can’t really do much with you since you don’t attend this institution,” Tenzin said. Asami couldn’t help but smile a bit, before he continued, “but rest assured I will be getting in contact with the head of your school.”

Korra closed her eyes, waiting for Tenzin to deliver her punishment. She waited, and waited, and waited but he didn’t say anything. Finally she opened her eyes to see Lin and Tenzin whispering quietly to each other. After a few nods, Tenzin got to his feet. “You all may leave. We have something to discuss with Korra.”

The Avatar tensed up as the four other teenagers got out of their seats. One by one, they all looked at her in confusion before passing. Bolin gave her a light punch on the shoulder, while Asami lightly placed her hand on top of hers before exiting the room. Korra slid into an empty chair and looked in between Tenzin and Lin.

“There’s no easy way to say this, but from now on, when on school campus, you’re going to be watched over by a member of the White Lotus,” Tenzin said as soon as the door shut.

“That’s my punishment?” Korra gasped. “Putting me on a leash?” She threw her hands up in the air before slumping down in her seat. “It’s bad enough that you had me locked away for seventeen years, but-”

“No,” Lin said sharply. The Avatar quickly stopped her ranting. She looked closely at Lin and felt a shiver roll down her spine when she noticed the stern look on her face. It was different than the other versions Korra had been acquainted with. This look was laced with apprehension, and surprisingly to Korra, worry. “This is serious. It is Avatar business.”

“What’s going on?” Korra asked.

“I’m sure you’ve heard of the Equalist movement that began around the time you arrived in Republic City,” Tenzin started. He clasped his hands together before placing them onto his desk in front of him. Korra nodded but remained silent. “We worry that they’re planning a big attack. After Hiroshi Sato’s arrest we’ve heard rumors about them continuing their rallies underground, and they may strike soon.”

“But, they’re just rumors,” she said quietly.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” Lin muttered.

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Your safety is our first priority, along with schooling.” Tenzin got up out of his seat. He walked around the desk and stopped next to Korra before placing a hand on her shoulder. “There’s nothing to be worried about. Republic is a safe place to be.”

“Just don’t spread this around,” Lin instructed, “We wouldn’t want to cause a panic when there’s nothing to panic about yet.”

“I understand.”

“Then you’ll also understand that you will be put on academic probation until the end of the semester,” Tenzin added.

Korra’s jaw dropped. “You totally blindsided me!”

“Which is why he’s the boss,” Lin said with a smirk. “If it were me, I would have just had you expelled.”

---

Asami sighed deeply when she noticed Rika, Manami, and Kiyoko enter the room. She tightened her grip on the books she was reading, trying to ignore the sounds of their footsteps walking over to her. She flinched when a loud bang erupted from the corner of the room. Her heart started to speed up. While trembling, she looked over her shoulder to see two students picking up some Plexiglas that had fallen to the ground.

“Haven’t seen you around Sato,” Rika commented once Asami faced forward again. Asami rolled her eyes before closing her book with a snap. She sat up a bit straighter in her chair before clasping her fingers together. “Have you been hiding?”

“Hiding from what?” she asked.

“As if you didn’t know,” Manami sneered. “We heard you were caught in a boy’s apartment. That’s just about as damaging to your reputation as…oh, I don’t know…throwing yourself at a guy.”

“But, it wouldn’t make difference anyway since her daddy can clean up her record for her,” Rika continued.

“Or hide it behind his record,” Manami suggested. The two threw their heads back and laughed heartily. Asami looked over and locked eyes with Kiyoko. She mouthed an apology but remained quiet. Although, she took a step back from their small group.

Asami grabbed her book and placed it into her school bag. She flung it over her shoulder before standing up. She peered at Rika, eyeing every inch of her exposed skin. Asami sighed deeply before facing her. “Rika, has Iroh been acting strange lately around you?”

Rika blinked in rapid succession. She looked taken back, before flowing into apprehension, before finally landing on anger. Asami pushed her chair in at the desk. She brushed past the group before heading towards the door, keeping her head down. “I thought I told you to stay away from him,” Rika called after her.

Asami quickened her pace as she entered the hallway. Her breathing picked up as she heard the footsteps following her. She kept her head bent down before reaching a hand into her school bag. School should be over for Korra right now. Maybe she can help, she thought while looking for her phone.

“When did you see him?” she demanded.

“It’s nothing, Rika,” she said, desperately searching her school bag. Asami had pulled it off of her shoulder and lifted it to her face, looking inside. “Forget I said anything.”

“No!” Rika grabbed Asami by the shoulders before pushing her against a row of lockers. Manami stood beside her with a smirk, cracking her knuckles. Kiyoko stood off to the side, frozen with fear. She looked in between Rika and Asami with wide eyes. “You’re not going to ruin this for me like you ruined everything else.”

“I didn’t do anything to you,” Asami shouted. Her breathing began to grow ragged. A light buzzing filled her ears and the lights in the hallway started to brighten. Her chest tightened with each passing breath. She smelled lingering traces of alcohol and Iroh’s cologne. A burning sensation erupted on her cheek. “Get off of me.”

“Let me just make one thing clear,” she snarled. Manami stepped forward and punched Asami in the side. She gasped as the wind was knocked out of her. Rika let go and watched as Asami collapsed to the ground. “I can and will make your life a living hell. You will pay for what you did.” She looked over at Manami before nodding. “Here’s a little parting gift.”

As Manami stepped forward and pulled her leg back, Kiyoko rushed over and shielded Asami’s body with her own. “Don’t!” she shouted.

Manami paused mid swing, her foot close to connecting with the side of Kiyoko’s face. She placed her foot back onto the ground before looking over at Rika, who in turn, looked surprised. She stared down at her friend with wide eyes and her jaw dropped. “You too?” she whispered.

“That’s enough, Rika,” Kiyoko said firmly. “She doesn’t deserve this. She never has.”

Kiyoko swallowed hard as Rika quickly gained her composure. She crossed her arms over her chest before sticking her neck out, forcing her face closer. “Do you want me to tell everyone?” she said dangerously low. “I will and you know that.” She pulled back and blinked rapidly. Her eyes shined with tears underneath the lighting. “I thought you were my friend,” she whispered.

“I am, and as your friend I can’t let you do this.”

“Manami, let’s go,” Rika ordered. Manami nodded in agreement. She looked over at Kiyoko with a raised eyebrow before following her leader down the hallway. “I’ll be calling you later tonight,” Rika said over her shoulder.

Kiyoko ignored her and helped get Asami to her feet. “Do you need water? What can I get you?”

“Nothing,” Asami rasped. She stood up straight and brushed her long hair out of her face. She winced before holding her side. “I’m fine. Just drop it.”

“Okay,” she quickly agreed. “But, there’s something I wanted to tell you.”

“What? You snuck onto my computer while at my apartment and stole my plans for my senior project?” she asked dryly.

“No, it’s just that-”

“I thought you actually wanted to be my friend.” Asami tried hard to keep her voice from wavering. She swallowed around the lump forming in her throat. “You didn’t even stop them.”

“I tried,” Kiyoko protested. “I did. Maybe I didn’t act fast enough, but-”

The two were interrupted as an elementary teacher walked down the hallway with a row of children behind her. Kiyoko smiled and waved to all of the children, sometimes making a face just to make them laugh. Once the end of the line passed them, the little girl at the back was too busy looking at some of the posters on the walls, to notice that her shoelaces were untied. She tripped over them before falling flat on her face.

Kiyoko rushed over and scooped the girl up when she started to wail. “It’s okay, honey. Everything is fine. It will only hurt for a little while,” she cooed. Kiyoko started to bounce the girl up and down a few times. “Do you know what will make the pain go away? Press your finger onto your elbow,” she instructed. The little girl calmed down enough to follow the instructions. “Then you close your eyes and think about something that makes you smile.”

“My mommy,” the girl whispered.

“Okay, think about your mom,” Kiyoko said with a smile. “Think of her warm hugs and her nice scent. Now, think about her kissing the pain away like she does with all of your other boo boos.”

“It worked,” the little girl cried. She opened her eyes before rubbing her forehead. “It doesn’t hurt.”

“There you go.” Kiyoko put the little girl back onto the ground before ruffling her hair. The elementary teacher gave her a gentle smile.

“I think that’s your calling,” Asami said. Kiyoko looked at her in confusion. “You said you didn’t want to be a scientist because your parents are pushing you, but I think it’s something more than that. I just don’t think you’re motivated enough. She nodded over to the child who was happily chasing after one of her classmates. “Children. Maybe you could become a school nurse or a pediatrician. This way you could work with children and still follow the science route your parents want you to do.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad,” Kiyoko said with a smile. “Anyway, what I wanted to tell you was-” She held up a finger as she reached for her ringing cell phone. She frowned when she looked at the caller I.D. “I have to go,” she said apologetically. “See you later.”

Asami gave her a small wave before reaching into her school bag. Her hands shook as she pulled up Korra’s phone number. She tapped her foot impatiently as she pressed the phone to her ear, the dial tone playing.

“Korra?” Asami said as soon as the other line picked up. “Hey, how have you been? Listen, can you meet me at the park? I need to ask you something. It’s kind of important.”

---

Korra laughed as Naga tripped over her large paws and flopped over to the ground. A yellow tennis ball was just inches away from her nose. The Avatar jogged over before picking it up and tossing it in to the air. Naga jumped up and caught the ball in her mouth,

“Korra,” Asami called out. Korra waved in response before urging Naga to her feet with a click of her tongue. The two walked over and met up with Asami at a large fountain in the middle of the park. Korra sat down on the edge with her legs crossed. Asami sat down next to her

“How have you been?” Korra asked. “How’s school going? Rika bothering you anymore.”

“I’m alright,” Asami said before rubbing her eyes. “School is good, and surprisingly Rika has made herself scarce.” She pretended to lean over and mess with the buckle on her school bag. Instead she reached over and rubbed her hand along the bruise that had formed on her side from Manami’s punch. She winced a little at the pain before straightening back him.

“That worries me a bit.”

“Me too,” she admitted before stifling a yawn.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Korra pressed. “You look the worse for wear.”

“Yeah, I just didn’t get much sleep last night.”

“Oh.” Korra nodded. Naga whimpered and nudge her owner in the cheek with her nose before dropping the tennis ball into her lap. “Not now, Naga. Sit,” she ordered. Naga’s ears flopped back before she followed commanded. Korra placed the ball into her pocket before wiping her hand free of drool. “So, why’d you ask me here today?”

Asami bit her bottom lip. She ran a hand through her hair before half-smiling. “I have something I need to ask you.”

“So you said. Is it your fifth question?” Korra asked. “If it is, I’ve been waiting for this one. We’re pretty much at the half-way point of our game and I feel like it’s been kind of easy from the start. So lay it on me. I can take it.”

“It has nothing to do with that,” Asami shook her head. “This is important.”

Korra shrugged. “Shoot. I’m all ears.”

“Okay.” She took a deep breath and opened her mouth. Korra waited patiently for her to start speaking. She couldn’t help but chuckle when Asami held up a finger, asking for a moment. Korra propped her foot up onto the ledge of the fountain and wrapped an arm around her knee. “Well…it’s like this. See, I was wondering-”

“Korra, we have to talk,” Tenzin called out. He and Lin approached the two girls. Asami let out a small grunt before punching herself in the thigh. Korra instantly got to her feet and gave them a swift bow.

“I haven’t done anything. I swear,” she answered quickly.

“You aren’t in trouble,” he answered. Lin let out a harsh bark of laughter. “We know you don’t have a place to stay.”

Asami couldn’t help but stare at the dark skinned girl. She bit her bottom lip and turned away as Lin shifted her gaze over towards her. Korra laughed before rubbing the back of her neck. “Of course I-”

“We called your apartment number,” Lin interrupted. She held up a hand to silence Tenzin, who started to speak. He took a small step back, glaring at her from the side.” It has been disconnected. In fact, the old building, which was a fast food restaurant, has been closed down for years.”

“Why did you-”

“It was to find you so we could talk to you about…” Lin trailed off when she remembered that Asami was sitting close to them. “What we talked about a few days ago, but then I found you breaking school rules with my niece.”

Korra grimaced before dropping her hand. She refused to look at the two of them before shifting her gaze to the ground. Asami had to force herself to keep quiet. “You know we offered. Why didn’t you accept the help?” Tenzin asked quietly.

“You only offered because I’m the Avatar,” she said while rolling her eyes. “I don’t want everything handed to me on a silver plate. I already attend Republic for free.”

“We thought it would be easier on your parents.”

Her face clouded with a mixture of anger and suspicion. “How do you figure?”

“We know how important your education is for them. You’re the first in your family with a chance to go to college.”

Korra bit in the inside of her cheek. She stuffed her hands into her pockets and shrugged. “Yeah, well, I can’t let them down.” She looked over at Tenzin and added, “I want them to be proud of me.”

“There’s nothing wrong with asking for help from time to time.” Tenzin placed a hand on her shoulder. “You have a lot of pride Korra and that’s a great thing, but sometimes you have too much and I worry it will one day give you a rude awakening.”

“Everything is fine, Tenzin,” Korra insisted. “I only stayed at Opal’s and Mako’s place a few times when it was better for me to be close to school. I just never updated my school records.”

“So, where are you staying?” Lin demanded.

Korra jumped. She had forgotten that the chief was there with them. She looked up at the sky, desperate for a thought to cross her mind. “I’m…umm…”

“She lives with me,” Asami piped up, climbing to her feet to stand next to the Avatar. Korra looked over at her in confusion. She pinched the Avatar’s elbow before offering a smile. “My apartment is too big for me to occupy by myself. Plus it is close to the park where Naga gets to run around freely.” Naga barked at the mention of her name. “My apartment…excuse me, our apartment welcome pets, even of her size.”

“As If I’m supposed to believe that,” Lin scoffed.

Korra’s eyes widened a bit as she looked in between Asami, Tenzin, and Lin. “I signed the lease a while ago,” she said before biting her bottom lip. “I just didn’t say anything since I was so preoccupied with studying for my midterms.”

“And she pays rent?” Lin asked Asami. “She doesn’t have any money.”

“That’s why we trade off,” the engineer answered. “I can easily pay the rent and she makes up for it by washing the dishes and…doing the laundry.” She felt her cheeks heating up. Of course, with Korra being the Avatar, she was capable of doing a lot of other household chores. Those were just the two things Asami was able to think of where Korra would be able to use her bending abilities. “Those are two things I hate doing,” she said when Tenzin and Lin looked at her in disbelief.

“It’s not that I doubt what you’re saying,” Tenzin started.

“I do,” Lin interrupted.

“You’d like proof.” Asami nodded knowingly. “I’ll bring in a copy of the lease first thing in the morning.”

“Well then, that’s settled,” Tenzin answered. Lin scowled at him. He just ignored her before giving the two students a low bow. Korra immediately reciprocated the gesture. Asami flushed brightly before leaning over as well. “Have a good day.”

“See you later,” Korra called out. Tenzin have her curt nod before following a fuming Lin across the campus. She let out a big sigh of relief once they were out of earshot. Asami cried out in shock, and a small part pain, as Korra wrapped her arms around her waist, before lifting her off of the ground and spinning in a circle. “You’re the best you know that?” She placed the engineer back onto the ground. “Thanks for having my back.”

“You’re welcome,” Asami said with a laugh. Korra apologized as the engineer stumbled a bit, dizzy from the spinning. She lowered herself back onto the edge of the fountain. Korra sat down next to her where Naga promptly placed her head into her owner’s lap. The Avatar wrapped her arms around her pet’s neck and gave her a hug before pushing her off.

Asami cleared her throat before crossing a leg over the other. “I only intervened because I understand what you’re going through.”

“You do?” Korra’s eyebrows rose in surprise.

“Just because my father is rich and has made a new for himself in the world…” She frowned. “Or did…everyone expects me to have it easy in life. I don’t want easy, I want a challenge. I want to prove to everyone that what I do is my own merit.” She looked over at Korra with a gentle smile. “That’s partially why I work as a model,” she said, “and I design my own line of cars, and I’m trying to fix Future Industries instead of letting it be run into the ground. It’s always why I moved out of our mansion.” Asami waved her hand in the air, indicating that she’ll explain that part later when Korra gasped loudly. “There were too many maids and butlers asking me what I wanted and doing whatever I said. Sometimes I like to do stuff on my own.”

“Like your mysterious Senior Project?” Korra tossed out. “I kind of got the feeling you didn’t really want help even though it’s required.”

“You’re exactly right.”

The two sat in silence, their heads down, focusing on whatever their eyes landed on. Korra stuck her hand into the fountain and started to play with the water. She looked at the raven haired girl when she shifted a bit in her direction, before frowning as Asami tightly squeezed her eyes shut. “It doesn’t sound like a bad idea.”

“What?”

“You living with me.” She slowly opened her eyes and looked over at the Avatar. “Being my roommate.”

Korra blinked.

“Only if you want to,” Asami quickly added. She shifted her gaze away once more. She clasped her hands together before placing them into her lap. “I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in days. Every sound and every thump keeps me awake. I keep thinking he’s going to come back. I’ve hidden a knife in every room and I sleep with my electric glove under my pillow,” she admitted quietly. She brushed a piece of hair back behind her ear before wringing her hands together. “I just want to go to bed peacefully and not worry about whether or not I’ll wake up in the morning. Plus, it gets really lonely.” She looked over at Korra with a sad smile. “You all live close to each other and always get to see each other. Sometimes I don’t want the night to end when I’m out with you, or I don’t want you to leave when you’re at my place. You make things more fun and brighter. I like the company.”

Korra peered at the engineer closely. Asami cried out in shock as the Avatar splashed some water in her face. Laughing, she answered: “Do you have to be so serious all the time?” She wiped her hand dry off onto her pant leg. “How can I say no to that?”

“Do you really mean it?” Asami asked. She closed her eyes as Korra water bent the droplets off of her face. Her green eyes shined with happiness the minute she opened them again.

“Sure. It’s in close enough distance to Republic and it’ll beat having to sleep on a lumpy couch and sneaking around Opal’s roommate,” Korra answered with a sigh. She bent down and scratched behind the polar bear dog’s ears. “Plus, Naga would enjoy more freedom”. She half-smiled. “I’ll move in with you.”

Korra’s smile quickly faded, and a serious look taking over. Asami felt her heat speeding up a bit. A wave of dread washed over her, causing her stomach to churn. There’s a but coming, I can tell.

“You know, I meant it when I said that I would punch Rika for you if the time ever comes,” she said quietly. “I haven’t known you that long but you always put other people first. It’s time for someone to worry about you.” She got up to her feet before holding out her hand. Naga stretched before standing up, bumping her nose into Korra’s thigh.

Asami smiled as Korra pulled her to her feet. She gave her a hug before pulling away, a small tear trickling out of the corner of one of her eyes. The Avatar reached up and wiped it away with her thumb.

“I’ve been waiting for someone to offer that since I was six,” she admitted.

“Well, you did say that you’ve spent a majority of your life trying to prove your self-worth. It sounds like that would go hand in hand, whether it was intentional or not.” Korra. She then half smiled before putting an arm around Asami’s shoulders. “So, roomie, what is there I need to know about you before moving in?”

Chapter Text

"Hey, what was it you wanted to ask me?" Korra questioned. Asami tucked a shirt underneath her chin, folding the sleeves into the middle before folding it over in half. She looked over at The Avatar before turning away.

The two were seated in the apartment living, going through some of Korra's clothing in the few boxes she had brought with her. Naga slept peacefully in the corner of the room, her light snores echoing in the acoustics.

Clothes and various other items from the Southern Water Tribe spilled out of the boxes. Korra was playing with one of Naga's chew toys. She was tossing it up and down into the air, seeing how much higher she could throw it with each pass. Asami rolled her eyes before throwing a pair of jeans over at the Avatar. She laughed when the clothing struck her in the face. The chew toy clattered to the floor, squeaking with each bounce. Naga's ears fluttered at the sound.

"It was nothing," Asami answered lightly. "Forget about it."

Korra hummed in response before getting up from her seat on the floor. She walked over towards the kitchen, peering into Asami's room as she passed by the door. The Avatar paused when she noticed a red dress hanging off of the canopy above Asami's bed. "What's that dress sitting out for?" she asked.

"Oh, I'm wearing that to a party Councilman Tarrlok is throwing," the engineer answered before digging into another box. "As the head of Future Industries, I think it'd be a good idea to attend. There may be some people I can make connections with."

"I have to go to that too," Korra said. She entered the kitchen and pulled two bottles of water out of the refrigerator. Upon re-entering the living room, she took a seat on the couch next to Asami's, careful not to disturb the pile of clothing next to her. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and looked at a photo of an invitation. "Tenzin thinks it'd be a good way to get back into the good graces of Republic City."

"What do you mean?" Asami plucked the jeans off of the floor before folding them and placing them onto the pile.

"Let's just say I had a bit of a run in with the city's police force when I first got here," Korra said ambiguously. She half-smiled when Asami looked over at her with a raised eyebrow. "Plus, President Raiko isn't too happy with me. So, Tenzin believes me going will show Republic City as well as President Raiko that I am not…oh, what did he say…a menace to his city."

"Well, great," Asami said happily. "I will have someone to talk to when I need to distance myself from the uppity and pompous upper class citizens." She covered her mouth before yawning.

Korra threw her head back and laughed. She handed Asami one of the bottles of water before popping hers open. "Wow, Asami Sato actually has something bad to say about someone else."

Asami took a sip of her water before placing it into the table. "I've been to tons of these parties. Trust me when I say, you will be bored the minute you step through the door." She frowned over at Korra before looking in between her and the pile of clothing. "And why am I the only one folding your clothes?" she demanded.

"Because you're good at it," Korra said quickly. Asami grabbed a couch pillow before throwing it over at her. The Avatar blinked as the pillow hit her on the chest. She then glared down at the cushion before slowly placing her water bottle onto the table. Korra then shifted in her seat and half-smiled.

"That's not going to work," Asami said nonchalantly. Korra challenged her with a raised eyebrow before reaching over and dug her nails into the engineer's sides. Asami looked at her and blinked before smiling. "I told you."

"Really?" Korra's eyes widened. She poked the engineer in the neck, the side, and then the hip. She frowned with every pass. Asami playfully rolled her eyes before holding her arms out to the side, proving her point.

"It's all mind over matter," she answered with a shrug. Korra's frown deepened as she continued to poke and prod her way down the engineer's body. "The brain sends signals to our nerve endings alerting us of the tickling feeling in a way to let us know that something or someone is creating the disturbance. So, as long as I can see what you're doing, you can't make me-ahhhh!" Asami shrieked as Korra dug her thumb into the bottom of her right foot. She burst into hysterical laughter as the Avatar skirted her fingers lightly over her arches.

"Stop! Stop!" she begged. "I can't take it." Korra ignored her and continued to tickle the bottom of her foot. Asami let out a shout as the Avatar grabbed her by the ankle before tugging her off of the couch to the floor. The engineer turned onto her stomach and tried to pull her ankle out of the shorter girl's grip, which she quickly found was a futile attempt. Her arms shook with fatigue as she laughed harder. "Okay, okay, I give. I'll fold your clothes," she gasped.

"That's all you had to say," Korra said with a smile. She rubbed the top of Asami's foot as she slowly caught her breath, a smile still set on her face. Asami let out a loud yawn, blushing before covering her mouth. "You really should get some sleep," she added.

"I can't," Asami said quietly. "There are too many noises."

"Does Iroh even know you live here?" Korra asked.

Asami nodded slowly. "Yes, but I already changed the locks," she answered sleepily. "I used to hide a spare key outside the door," she muttered after a moment of silence.

"Take a nap before the party. I'll wake you up in time." Korra pulled her backpack off a nearby chair into her lap. She pulled out her laptop and booted it up before pulling up a music program. She pressed play and rocked back and forth a bit to the light piano filling the room.

"…Will you stay here with me?" Asami asked. She sat up and rubbed the back of her neck. Korra nodded in response before moving the piles of clothes off of the couch. She dropped them into a pile near the table before fluffing up one of the couch pillows, and patted it twice, indicating that she wanted the engineer to lie down. Asami nestled onto the couch before curling up into a ball. Korra took a seat at the other end, pulling the engineer's legs into her lap. She then placed her laptop on her knees, shifting carefully so as the electronic device wouldn't fall to the ground. "Thank you."

"Anytime," Korra mumbled. She turned up the music a bit and started to sing softly with the music.

Spend all your time waiting
for that second chance
for a break that would make it okay
there's always some reason
to feel not good enough
and it's hard at the end of the day

Korra couldn't help but chuckle as Asami grabbed the pillow from behind her head and slap it onto the muscular girl's stomach. The Avatar moved her laptop to the table, before Asami moved her legs and placed her pillow onto Korra's lap before snuggling into it. She let out a light sigh as soon as she relaxed. "You just reminded me of Naga. Whenever I have something on my lap and she wants attention she pushes at it with her nose before I concede."

"I just want to hear you more," Asami muttered, breathing deeply. "You have a nice voice."

"Not as good as yours," Korra answered. She slipped her fingers into Asami's hair and began to lightly scratch her scalp. "Just go to sleep."

There's always some reason
to feel not good enough
and it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
oh beautiful release
memories seep from my veins
let me be empty
and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

Asami smiled a bit as she felt the tingling sensation follow the path of Korra's nails. She wrapped her arms around the pillow underneath her head before shutting her eyes. Korra continued to sing along with the music.

In the arms of the angel
fly away from here
from this dark cold hotel room
and the endlessness that you fear
you are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reverie
you're in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort here

She felt comforting warmth as Korra removed her fingers from her hair and onto her arm. Asami relaxed even more when the Avatar began to run a hand up and down her arm. She concentrated on the music, the piano strings gently lulling her closer to sleep.

"Korra?" she asked sleepily.

"Yeah?"

"Will you walk me to school?"

The Avatar's hand paused on her arm for the briefest of moments before beginning to move once more. "You lied before about Rika bothering you, didn't you?"

"Maybe."

"Is that what you wanted to ask me the other day?" Asami nodded. Korra chuckled, the tremors of her abdomen gently shaking the pillow in her lap. Asami's head moved a bit in synchronization. "Sure, I'll walk you."

"Thank you." Asami's eyes fluttered close and she took a deep breath. I always feel safe around you. You're like my guardian angel. You are my guardian angel.

---

"Man, Asami wasn't kidding," Korra groaned. "This is boring."

"Korra," Tenzin hissed. He grabbed Meelo by the arm and pulled him away from the dessert table. He had tried to shove a handful of chocolates into his pockets.

"It is, Tenzin," she said before popping a piece of shrimp into her mouth. She re-adjusted the strap around her waist that cinched her dress to her hips. "If I knew all I was going to do was talk to people about politics and eat these hors-d'oeuvres then I would have actually eaten dinner. I'm starving!"

"We won't be here that long," he answered. "Just try and stick it out. Ikki, it's rude to ask a woman how old she is," he called out. Tenzin gave Korra an apologetic look before rushing across the room, dragging Meelo by the arm. Jinora followed behind them, her nose buried in a book.

Korra sighed heavily as she scanned the room. She ate another piece of food from her palm before locking eyes on Asami. The raven-haired girl looked stunning in her red wrap dress. She smiled at whatever someone was saying to her before letting out a light laugh. "Looks like Asami is having a good time. I'd love to hang with her," she muttered.

"Avatar Korra, it is nice to finally meet you," a rough voice said from beside her. Korra quickly stuffed the rest of her food into her mouth before wiping her hands on the bottom of her dress. She chewed rapidly and swallowed before turning and gave him a smile. "I'm Councilman Tarrlok." He introduced himself and stuck out a hand.

"Oh, so you're the one who threw this shindig." Korra heartily shook his hand. He frowned a little bit at the food residue on his palm. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief to wipe it away.

"In your honor of course," he added.

Korra blinked in confusion. "For me? Why?"

"I'm sure you've heard of the Equalist threat in the city," Tarrlok said simply. "I sure could use you on my Task Force. President Raiko isn't doing anything to help protect this city."

"Why do you need a Task Force?" she questioned. "The Equalists haven't done anything since their last movement and that was quickly subdued."

"Not yet, but something is bound to happen soon," he answered. " It would be great to have the Avatar on our side, showing them that their movement is futile."

"Sounds interesting."

"I'm surprised you haven't taken action before," Tarrlok said lightly "especially about what they've been saying about you."

Korra raised an eyebrow. She peered at him closely. "What do you mean?" she asked slowly.

"Just that a true Avatar would have been proving their worth instead of hiding."

"Hiding?" she spat. "Tenzin didn't even tell me about this new threat until recently." Korra felt her anger begin to bubble. "I want to help. If they really want Equality they wouldn't try and eradicate benders to make it an even playing field."

Before she could say anything else, she felt a hand on her shoulder. The Avatar turned and found herself face to face with Tenzin. She looked over at Tarrlok before fully turning to face him. "Korra, may I talk to you for a second?" Tenzin asked.

"Please excuse me," Korra directed to Tarrlok before following Tenzin to a secluded area. She crossed her arms over her chest and waited for him to speak.

"Korra, please," Tenzin said gently. "I need you to think about this. You publicly announcing your intent to join this fight will bring everything out into the open." He looked over his shoulder and frowned at a photographer taking photos of a few people. "The press is here and will demand interviews or quotes if you mention anything near them."

"I'm not going to publicly announce anything," she answered with an eye roll. "I will tell Tarrlok in confidence that I will help join the fight. This city and those Equalists need to understand that the Avatar is here to keep everyone safe against any threat."

"You're old enough to make your own decisions," Tenzin answered stiffly. "And I'm not your father, but I hope you know what you're getting into. Violence isn't always the answer."

"But this time, it is," Korra said gruffly. "He's been calling me out at these various rallies and it's time to show him who the Avatar really is."

"What about school?"

"School will be fine," she answered confidentially. "I'll help Tarrlok at night when classes are over. Then, when the leader of the Equalists arrives, I will take him out."

"I hope you're sure about this," Tenzin said quietly.

"I am. I'm the Avatar, remember? I can handle it." She gave him one last lingering look before turning on her heel. She scanned the crowded floor, looking for Tarrlok before pushing her way past a group of people. Tenzin exhaled sharply through his nose before turning around. He cried out in shock as he almost bumped into a server.

"Sorry about that," Tenzin said with a swift bow. The waiter just shrugged before stepping around him. He lifted his tray of food high into the air, walking around the people in attendance. He beelined towards the back of the room, ignoring the shouts and glares of those who tried to pick some food off of the tray.

Upon exiting the room, he stepped into a dark hallway. Placing the tray onto a nearby table, he picked a few pieces of food off of it before popping them into his mouth. He looked over his shoulder a few times before pulling out a radio. After extending the antenna, he pressed the red button, static filling the quiet hall. "Amon, she has agreed to the offer. It's time to move in."

"Good job, Lieutenant. Get back to the base as soon as you can."

Chapter Text

Asami awoke with a start. She blinked slowly and forced her eyes open, her ears picking up a soft melody. Realizing it was her cell phone, she got to her feet to walk over to her desk. She kept walking, and kept walking, and kept walking, until she stubbed her toe.

“Ouch,” she cried, the pain instantly making her aware of her surroundings. She had stubbed her toe against the chair in the living room of her apartment. Asami followed the sound of her cell phone to the kitchen. She couldn’t help but laugh when she found it sitting in her candy cabinet. She looked at the caller id before pressing ANSWER and putting the phone against her ear.

“Asami Sato,” she said into the phone. Asami walked back into the living room and smiled at Korra curled up against Naga on the floor. She rubbed her head and thought back to the night before after the gala. Upon returning from the part, Korra and Asami instantly changed into their pajamas to go to sleep: Korra in long pants and a tank top and Asami in a nightgown. The engineer still had trouble getting to sleep so Korra had convinced her to just sit in the living room and listen to music until the two fell asleep. They happily found that they liked a lot of the same music. Asami had tried to get Korra to listen to a little bit of country music, but she ended up locking herself in the coat closet just to escape the distinctive sounds.

“Ms. Sato, we have a problem,” Raiken, the executive vice president and COO of Future Industries said the minute she picked up the phone.

“That’s news to me since I thought the company was moving forward,” Asami mumbled. She pressed her phone between her shoulder and neck, before walking around the front of the couch and started to clean up the blanket and pillow she had used last night. Korra stirred a little bit before turning onto her side.

“That’s exactly my point,” he snapped. “You haven’t been very attentive to the company these past few months; at least not since you started sponsoring the Fire Ferrets.”

Asami snapped the blanket into the air before folding it. “We knew that things wouldn’t be running as smoothly initially once I took over the company. School has always been my top priority-”

“And now, Future Industries should be your top priority,” Raiken interrupted.

She placed the blanket and pillow on one of the couch’s arm rest before putting the phone back into her hand. She crossed an arm over her chest and started to pace around the room. Before answering, she had to take a few deep breaths to keep her anger in check. “I understand that you worry about the company but I am the CEO and you should speak to me with respect.”

“I’m just thinking, that maybe it is time to accept help from an outside source,” he said slowly.

“No.”

“Ms. Sato-”

“No!”

“It’s what your father would have done,” Raiken added.

“My father accepted outside help from the Equalists and besmirched the name of this company,” Asami answered with a snarly. “I’m running it now and I don’t want help. I don’t need it.”

“Are you sure?”

“I am!” she insisted. “You have been my second in command since I took over. Things are going to be hectic until I graduate and then after that everything will run like a well-oiled machine.”

“I thought you wanted to go to university.”

Asami bit her bottom lip. She breathed sharply out of her nose while looking at a few textbooks sitting on the table. “Well, like you said, Future Industries should be my top priority.”

“…If you’re sure, but…”

“I am,” she answered evenly. “Once I finish my schooling I’ll take over full-time.” She cleared her throat before raising her chin. “As of late, we don’t need outside interference. I’m putting my foot done on this one.” And to drive her point, Asami stomped her foot, even though he couldn’t see her.

“Ow,” Korra screeched while sitting up. She pulled her foot back and rubbed the rapidly swelling portion. She tried to glare up at Asami, but failed with how sleepy she looked. Asami had to cover her mouth with her hand to keep herself form laughing.

“What was that?” Raiken asked.

“My roommate,” Asami muttered. She mouthed an apology to Korra before stepping around her. She sighed before reaching up to rub her now throbbing temples. “I have to get ready for school. Keep me posted on anything that may arise,” she instructed.

“Of course, Ms. Sato,” he answered before hanging up the phone.

“What was that for?” Korra asked.

“Sorry, Korra,” Asami said lightly. “That was an accident. Anyway, it’s time we get ready for school.”

“I hate mornings,” she muttered with a whine. Korra picked up her cell phone from beside her and checked the phone. “Anyway, you’re right. Mako and Bolin will be here soon,” she answered. Asami paused in the doorway to her room. She slowly turned around looked over at the Avatar, whose eyes had widened. Her back muscles tensed as she stiffened up a bit.

“Why are they coming?” Asami asked her voice full of suspicion. Korra quickly took interested in Naga’s big paws. She started to exam every nail and the padding on the underside of her foot. Asami marched over and stood above the darker-girl, her arms crossed over her chest and an eyebrow raised. “Korra?” she said firmly.

“Gosh, you really do have a work voice,” Korra commented. “Mako said that whenever you want things to get done, you use your work voice,” she quickly explained. Asami glared. “Okay, okay. I may have mentioned that I’d be walking you to school,” she admitted.

“When?” she demanded.

“Last night when you were asleep,” Korra quickly answered. “We were skyping and talking about the party.”

Asami gasped before throwing her hands up in the air. “Why would you tell them that?” she demanded.

“It slipped out,” Korra whined. “And in my defense, I only told Bolin.”

“This is just great,” she groaned. “I didn’t want to make too big of a deal out of it.”

“It is a big deal if you’re being bothered on a daily basis,” the Avatar answered gently.

Asami stared at her for a long time. Korra shifted uncomfortably underneath her gaze. Finally, Asami pinched the bridge of her nose before sighing deeply. “Let’s just get ready,” Asami suggested. She reached out and pulled Korra to her feet. The engineer walked into her bedroom and then into her bathroom. She took note of her uniform hanging from the pole that the shower curtains were hanging on. She turned on the shower to its hottest setting so that the steam could get the wrinkles out of her shirt.

Asami looked at her reflection in the mirror before grabbing a wash cloth. She ran it under some water before scrubbing the old makeup off of her face. She winced as the bruise on her side flared up. Asami dropped the wash cloth into the sink and lifted the side of her nightgown, lightly running a finger over bruise.

“Hey, do you have a spare surf board I could use?” Korra asked while appearing in the doorway. Asami jumped and dropped her nightgown. She turned around and looked at the darker girl in confusion.

“A what?” Asami asked.

“Oh.” Korra turned a deep red. “Growing up, that’s what I was told to call a…you know…” she slowly trailed off, growing shyer with each passing word. “I can see in your eyes that you’re thinking hard about this. You’re almost there.”

The Avatar smiled as Asami’s green eyes lit up in understanding. “Oh!” Asami reached underneath her sink a pulled out a package of pads. “Here, just take the whole thing.” She handed the green package over to Korra who took it with a small smile.

“So, how did you get that bruise on your side?” Korra asked casually. Asami bit her bottom lip before looking away. She turned back to the sink, fidgeting with the wash cloth. “Don’t think I didn’t notice.”

“It’s nothing,” Asami answered with a shrug.

“I’m beginning to think that should be Rika’s codename,” Korra snickered. She placed the pads onto the ground before stepping into the bathroom. She bent some water from the shower into a small orb. It then began to blow a bright blue. “Why didn’t you tell me about this? I’m a healer. Let me take care of it.” She walked over to Asami’s side and lifted up the side of her nightgown high enough to see the bruising. Korra pressed the glowing water orb to her side and started to move her other hand to the left and to the right, across the bruise.

“That feels so much better,” Asami sighed, relaxing underneath the soothing warm water. She unzipped her makeup bag that was sitting on the counter next to the sink before reaching in and pulling out a small tube of lipstick and eyeliner.

Korra watched as she applied the cosmetics. “Why do you wear so much makeup?” she asked.

Asami’s hand paused briefly, the lipstick hovering above her bottom lip. She then sighed hard before swiping it across her lips. “…After my mother died, my father barely looked at me. I used to think it was because he wanted to throw himself into his work as a part of his grieving process. It always bothered me because I felt like he wasn’t proud of any of my accomplishments.” Asami unscrewed a mascara container and moved the wand to skirt over her eyelashes. “I got so fed up that one day I cornered him in his office and demanded to know why. He told me, that it hurts to look at me because I looked so much like my mother.” She felt Korra’s hands pause briefly over the bruise. Asami recapped the mascara before tossing it into her makeup bag. “So, I started to wear makeup so that he would look at me like his daughter again, not like someone he lost.”

“I’m sorry,” Korra whispered.

“Well, that and because I was teased a lot when I was younger for being ‘weird’.” Asami made air quotes around the word weird. She started to quickly apply her pink eye shadow. “Apparently, it wasn’t normal for me to wear overalls all the time, be interested in cars, motorcycles, sports like pro-bending, and other guy stuff. Essentially I was a tomboy. Plus, I kind of blossomed late. Aside from my long hair, people would think I was a guy. So, I started to put makeup on to look more like a girl. Then, I started to get interested in clothes and fashion and other things and ended up wearing skirts and dresses more.

“They made fun of you because of that?” Korra bent the glowing orb of water down the drain of the sink. “I’m a tomboy,” she added.

“Yes, but you have the muscles to back it up,” Asami pointed out.

“True.” Korra lifted her right arm and flexed. Asami laughed before throwing the wet wash cloth over towards her. She laughed harder when it hit the Avatar in the face with a loud smack. “Hurry up and get dressed or we’ll be late.”

Korra hummed in response. She picked up the package of pads before walking back into Asami’s bedroom. She stopped by the floor length mirror that was hung up on the wall by the bedroom door. A color flier was tucked into the frame. “What’s this?” she pulled it off of the mirror and held it up in the air so that Asami could it see it in the reflection of the bathroom mirror.

“A flier for the upcoming Winter Formal at my school,” she called back.

Korra scanned the lettering on the piece of paper “Backwards dance?” she asked.

“Yes, it’s somewhat of a theme.” Asami stepped into her bedroom, holding the hanger of her school uniform in between her fingers. “Obviously since it’s a girls school we have to ask our dates, but the girls can wear suits and the guys can wear dresses, if they choose to. Although, no one has done it since the senior class a few years ago graduated.”

“Why not?” Korra gasped. “That sounds cool.”

“I don’t know,” Asami admitted with a shrug. “I think it’s because a lot of girls these days care how they look.”

“Are you going?”

“I wasn’t planning on it,” she answered with a scoff.

“Let me guess: you can’t dance?” Korra smirked. “This is it! I finally found something that makes you less than perfect.”

“I never had someone to go with,” Asami responded with an eye roll. “I never had friends at RITA and Iroh was always gone, so what was the point?”

“It’s your senor year. I think you should go.”

“Who would I go with?” she demanded. Korra stared back at her, blankly. “Exactly my point. Now, hurry up!”

“Geez, calm down, Mom.” Korra playfully stuck her tongue out at Asami before leaving the room to get dressed.

---

Just like she had promised, Korra walked Asami to school with Mako and Bolin in two. Naga had joined them as well since she needed to be walked. They had decided to walk to the Midnight Dragon first to pick up Asami’s rental car before heading to the school. Korra, Mako, and Bolin rode Naga as Asami drove herself the rest of the way.

Upon reaching the school, Asami scanned the campus, looking for Rika, Manami, and Kiyoko. She hadn’t spotted them and was kind of disappointed that they hadn’t seen her entrance. Korra forced Asami to promise her roughly three times that if anything happened, she should call her.

Asami felt much more comfortable walking through the halls of RITA that day. News must have spread to Rika about her friends being with her that morning. She hadn’t seen during homeroom, although she was in their shared classes. Rika just spoke with Manami the entire time. However, during lunch, when she spotted the girl in the cafeteria, Rika seemed to find her chocolate pudding more interesting whenever the two locked eyes. Normally, Rika would find a reason to insult her, causing the whole room to erupt with laughter. While Asami still sat by herself to eat her lunch, she felt much more content in years. She did notice, however, that Kiyoko wasn’t sitting with Rika.

In fact, Asami hadn’t seen Kiyoko at all during the first half of the day. She had explained her worries to Korra, who would occasionally text her to make sure everything would be fine. Asami found herself bubbling with more energy every time her phone indicated a new text message from her roommate.

She was scanning over their conversation, something had happened during Korra’s PE class where Tahno got caught in some netting, as she passed the nurse’s office. Asami heard someone call out her name as she walked by. Since she was so engrossed in her phone, she wasn’t really sure if she was making up the greeting in her head. Asami turned on her heel and walked back towards the nurse’s office. As she stepped into the room, she noticed one of the two exam room doors open. She paused when she noticed Kiyoko gave her a small wave, with her left hand. This spiked Asami’s curiosity since the girl was right handed.

“Kiyoko, what’s wrong?” Asami rushed into the room. She grabbed a nearby chair and sat down next to the examination bed. The nurse had excused herself to go and look over another student, muttering about some unfortunate science lab accident.

“Nothing; just Rika being a bitch.” Kiyoko forced a smile. She sniffed and felt a tear slide down her cheek. She instinctively reached up to wipe it away with her right hand and flinched when she felt the roughness of the gauze wrapped around her wrist.

Asami gasped before reaching out and taking hold of Kiyoko’s injured arm. She gently ran her hand up and down the bindings which ran up to the girl’s elbow and all the way down to her the start of her fingers. “What happened?” she whispered.

“I told her I didn’t want to be her friend anymore,” Kiyoko answered. Asami looked up and couldn’t help but feel her heart ache for the injured girl. One side of her wanted to be happy. She wanted her to feel the pain that she’s been going through for the past few years. And yet, the other side of her felt so much compassion that she could feel herself tearing up. “She was terrible and I don’t know why I put up with it as much as I did. Somehow she turned it around and made it seem like I was the blame. She even had Manami-”

“She did this?” Asami gasped.

“Yeah. I told the nurse I fell off of my bike this morning.” Kiyoko pulled her hand back out of Asami’s grip. “It’s okay, Asami. Everything is fine,” she insisted.

“But, won’t she tell everyone about your…situation.” Asami looked over her shoulder. She peered out of the doorway towards the other room. The nurse had shut the door behind her when she went to check on the other patient.

“Not if she’s smart,” Kiyoko said with a short laugh. “It was an empty threat. She won’t say anything because she is a part of it.”

Asami nodded once. She got to her feet and patted Kiyoko softly on her injured arm. She gave her a soft smile before heading towards the door. “I hope you get better soon,” she said.

“Wait, “ Kiyoko called out. She hopped off of the examination table and rushed over to the door. She pushed it closed with her foot and locked it. “I want to tell you what she was blackmailing me with,” she whispered. “I want to tell you because we used to be friends. I could tell you anything and I knew you wouldn’t spread it around. I want to go back to that. I only did what Rika told me to do because I was scared.”

Asami reclaimed her seat in the chair. She crossed one leg over the other and nodded over at Kiyoko, indicating that she could explain. Kiyoko nodded n response before taking a deep breath. She started to pace around the small room.

“I cheated on the entrance exams,” Kiyoko admitted. Asami’s jaw dropped in shock but she remained silent. “Rika helped me. She used her name and status to be able to find someone to take the test for me.” The girl dropped her head in shame. “That’s how I got a good enough score to get into RITA.”

“For your parents,” Asami concluded. Kiyoko nodded. The engineer got up out of her seat and wrapped her arms around Kiyoko. She held her tightly for a few seconds before taking a step back. She wiped a stray tear from the girl’s cheek with her thumb. “Are you doing anything tomorrow?” Kiyoko shook her head. “My friends and I are going to meet up to go bowling and I’d like for you to come with us.” Kiyoko instantly brightened. “I know what it’s like to go through life without having friends and I don’t want you to go through it as well.”

“…Will Mako be there?” she asked softly.

Asami frowned. “Of course, it was his idea. Why?” She noticed a light flush rising up the girl’s neck. She then smiled. “You like him, don’t you? That would explains a lot.”

“He’s just so cute and athletic, and he’s doing something with his life,” Kiyoko gushed. “I think that’s very admirable.”

“No need to explain,” Asami laughed. “I understand, completely. How about I help you with him tomorrow?”

“You’d do that for me?” Kiyoko asked. “Thanks, Asami. That’s so nice of you.”

“To take a page from Korra: what are friends for?”

---

“We believe there are chi-blockers here, training in combat. Are you ready?” Tarrlok asked. Korra nodded before slipping a piece of black cloth over her mouth. Tarrlok, Korra, and the other members of the task force rushed up to the side of an abandoned building. The wood paneling along the outside was splitting and cracking. Korra peered down into one of the holes and watched as a small group of people

“What’s that?” Korra asked. Tarrlok moved next to her and peered through the hole. “In the corner,” she pointed out. “It looks like a chi-blocker’s pair of goggles.” Sitting in the corner of the room was a long table filled high with bags and coats. In the corner was a pair of yellow goggles, partially sticking out under pile of black clothing.

“This is it,” Tarrlok announced. “Let’s roll.” As the other members of the task force got into position, he placed a mask over the bottom half of his face. “You’re the Avatar, Korra, so I will follow whatever decisions you make.”

Korra scanned the room. She frowned when she noticed the people in the room, pairing off in small groups of two. She got to her feet and faced the rest of the task force, before giving a big nod. Two task force members climbed up into the truck they drove in on, and opened a giant tank filled with water. “On my count,” she instructed.

Tarrlok and task force member stepped up to the main doors of the building. Korra closed her eyes before taking a deep breath. She slowly opened her eyes and stared at the main doors. “Now,” she ordered.

The two task members on the truck bent the water out of the giant tank, shooting towards the doors as Tarrlok and another task force member pushed the main doors open. The water quickly flooded the room and knocked the chi-blockers inside against the walls. Korra charged through and split the water in half, freezing the chi-blockers against the wall.

She spotted movement from the corner of her eye. A chi-blocker had flipped over a table to block the water from him hitting him. Korra rushed over, kicking he table away from him. The chi-blocker grabbed her leg before flinging her across the room. Korra landed on her feet. She waved her arms high in the air, bending some of the frozen water into a stream. She circled the stream of water around her body before punching it forward.

When the water struck the chi-blocker, she expected him to be swept off his feet from the force of the water. She was thrown off guard as a huge cloud of steam filled the room. Korra flinched as the how water vapor stung her cheeks. The Avatar shielded her eyes and peered through the steam, looking for the chi-blocker. She dropped her arms, her mouth opening in shock when she watched the embers of a fire being put out at the end of the chi-blocker’s fist. “What?” Korra gasped. The chi-blocker, no, firebender, slowly moved into a low, crouching position. He raised his arm high into the air and stepped forward, before being pushed back by a giant wave of water. It instantly froze “Wait, Tarrlok, what are you doing?” she demanded as he unfroze the bender and put him in handcuffs.

“They’re being arrested,” he answered simply. Tarrlok nodded his head once. The task force members were quickly subdued and put into handcuffs. Korra watched as they were marched out of the room and towards the truck that they had all driven in together. A bender looked over at the Avatar in a silent plea for help. She moved forward to help but Tarrlok stepped into her path.

“They aren’t chi-blockers, they’re benders,” Korra explained. “They’re one of us. They weren’t doing anything. They’re innocent.”

“They’re benders who are working for Amon,” Tarrlok said harshly.

“We don’t know that,” Korra shot back. “And why would they work for Amon if he’s forcing equality?” He rolled his eyes before holing up a hand. The other members of the task force quickly exited the building. As he turned to leave as well, Korra ran up and grabbed him by the arm. “Councilman Tarrlok, this isn’t what I agreed to do. I order you to let them go. You can’t-”

Korra gasped in pain as she felt her limbs beginning to twitch and turn in various directions. Pain erupted out of every nerve ending. She grunted as she felt herself being flung across the room and into the wall. The wind was knocked out of her and her lungs began to spasm. She dropped the floor, gasping for air. Tarrlok stood above her, staring down at her.

“You said…back up,” she rasped.

“Only when you made the right decisions,” Tarrlok answered. He stared down at her for a moment before exiting the room. Korra flipped herself to her back and stared up at the ceiling. Her vision blurred and corrected itself over and over again.

“Korra!” a voice called out.

“Mako?” she muttered. Mako quickly ran over to her and helped her to her feet. Bolin and Asami arrived a few seconds later. The engineer’s electric glove glowered brightly in the dark room. It crackled every few seconds from the electric current running through it.

“What happened?” Bolin asked.

“Tarrlok,” she muttered. She rubbed head before slowly moving her arms and legs, working the circulation back into them. “How did you all know I was here?”

“We heard a news report about the task,” Asami answered. “We kind of knew you’d be at the center of all the action,” she added with a small smile. Korra chuckled in spite of herself. She stepped out of the building and into the open. She took in a deep breath of the cool air.

“You joined Tarrlok’s task force?” Mako asked. She looked at him in surprise and confusion. “Lin mentioned it in one of my criminology courses. She has suspected that it wasn’t created to help the city but to help himself to political power,” he explained.

“I did join. Man, that was stupid,” she spat. Korra cried out in frustration before stomping her foot into the ground. A piece of rock popped out of the ground and traveled high into the air. Asami cowered behind Bolin as it fell back in their direction. He punched at the air, a tower of rock erupting in front of him. The piece of rock hit the top of the towel before rolling away. He dug his heel into the ground, bending the earth back. “Sorry,” she apologized. “Tenzin told me that Amon and the Equalists are suspected to be organizing an attack. Councilman Tarrlok made it seem like his group would be defending the city.”

Asami stepped forward and placed a hand on Korra’s shoulder. “Everything will be fine, Korra. The Equalists were stopped before, so they’ll be stopped again.”

“But innocent people, right now, are getting their bending taken away,” Korra answered. “Everything isn’t fine. I made a mistake,” Korra whimpered. She reached up dabbed the corner of her eyes with a finger. “Now I think Republic City will pay for it,” she added.

“Then we’ll be there to stop them,” Bolin insisted. He placed a hand on her shoulder. “Together as Team Avatar.”

“Aang had his friends by him, so we’re by you 100%,” Mako added. He stuck his hand out. Bolin placed his hand on top of his, and Asami placed hers on top of his. The three of them looked over at Korra expectantly. She smiled softly before placing her hand on top of the pile.

“Thanks, guys, for having my back,” Korra said sincerely. “I think Amon will only attack once the city has settled. He already struck fear into everyone in the past with the Equalists kidnapping and taking away people’s bending even before I arrived. This way he can sneak up on everyone.”

“Then we’ll be ready for him,” Mako answered simply. Korra looked at each of them before nodding in confirmation.

Chapter Text

Asami waved to Kiyoko’s mother before pulling out of the driveway. She smiled over at Kiyoko, who looked the happiest she had been since the beginning of the school year. Not that the girl hadn’t ever been happy, but now being out from underneath the watchful eye of Rika, Asami could tell the relatively shy girl is finally opening herself up.

November quickly rolled into December and Asami had missed hanging out with her friends. She hadn’t seen them that often ever since they had their in school suspension sentence, aside from Korra of course. Korra hadn’t seen Bolin, Opal, and Mako in a week either since they were busy studying well into the night to keep their grades up before their upcoming final exams.

“Are you cold or is the heat high enough?” Asami asked as they made their way to the bowling arena.

“No, I’m fine,” Kiyoko said with a smile. She shifted a bit in her seat before crossing her arms over her chest. “So, what are your friends like?”

“Well, Bolin has the biggest heart. While he does have this ability to say something at the wrong time, you can tell he only means the best intentions. He’s very funny and always tries to make everyone smile. Opal is kind of like a little sister to me. She’s very sweet and caring and will step in to do what she believes in. Mako can be very studious, quiet, and reserved which balances us all out. He is driven to make sure he and his brother don’t go back to living on the streets. He really wants to make something of himself. He is also very caring and kind. Then there’s Korra.” Asami smiled softly. “Korra…she’s amazing. She’s great. She’s fearless and determined and will stand up for what’s right. She very funny, and has a great smile, and will make sure to put other’s well being before herself. She’s just…gosh, I feel like I could go on and on and still not have enough to say about her.”

“Asami,” Kiyoko said with a small laugh.

“I mean, she is also very complex and challenging which makes her that much more interesting. She’s multidimensional. Once you think you got an understanding of her, she shows another side of herself

“Asami.” The girl dug a fingernail into the engineer’s arm. Asami jumped before frowning and rubbing the sore area. “We’re here,” she said. The raven-haired girl blinked before looking up at the bowling arena. She felt the back of her neck grow hot as she turned the car off and opened the door. Asami smiled when she spotted Korra walking over towards them in a light shirt and cargo pants.

“Hey, this isn’t your car,” Korra commented.

“Yes it is.” Asami nodded. “Remember, when we raced to RITA, when you were on Naga? I said that the other one was a rental until this was finished. This is my baby.” She lovingly patted the hood of the satomobile. “Everything is custom made.”

Korra looked at the car, over to Asami, and then back at the car once more. “I didn’t think it was possible,” she muttered.

“What?”

“I didn’t think it was possible that you could fascinate me any more than you normally do,” Korra answered, her blue eyes lighting up as she smiled. She then shifted her gaze to Asami’s clothing. “You look good. I like your top.”

Asami shifted from foot to foot before thanking her quietly. She was dressed in dark wash jeans and a red off the shoulder knit sweater. Her long hair was naturally wavy that day; she didn’t bother to straighten it too much since she had woken up late to pick up Kiyoko.

“So, are you the first one here?” Kiyoko asked. She shivered violently. Her cheeks and the tips of her nose and ears had turned a bright pink.

“No, everyone else is already inside.” Korra turned and led the two girls in through the door. “I was just making sure you all got here okay since it started snowing,” she explained.

“You’re not cold?”

“I’m from the south. This is a day at the beach for me.”

Bolin and Opal shouted in excitement when they spotted Asami walk over to their lanes. Kiyoko smiled and stood off to the side as they wrapped their friend in a hug. Her cheeks turned a darker red when Asami introduced her friend to Mako and Bolin.

“Opal, I’m surprised your mom let you come,” Asami commented as she shrugged out of her jacket, placing it on the back of a chair. She noticed Kiyoko was struggling with her jacket, her right arm protesting to come out of the sleeve. Before turning to help her, Mako instantly stepped forward and help slide the material over her bindings.

“Well, there’s a catch,” Opal muttered before pointing over her shoulder. Asami followed her gaze and spotted Kuvira at the snack bar, purchasing a plate of nachos. She gave the younger girl an apologetic look. “My mom and aunt have her watching me like a hawk ever since we got ISS.”

“Doesn’t she have a job or something better to do?” Korra asked.

“She’s a teaching assistant at my school, but it’s only part time,” Asami answered.

“The way I see it, the more she’s around me then the more she’s around Baatar Jr,” Opal said with a laugh. “It’s only a matter of time until they officially get together and she’s off my back.”

“Don’t count on it,” Kuvira commented as she sat down in their section. She placed her plate of nachos onto the table and sat down in a seat, leaning back and crossing one leg over the other. “I’m a good multi-tasker. If I can handle working at RITA and helping Asami with her senior project, then I can watch you with no problems

“But how can you watch me with your tongue shoved down my brother’s throat?” Opal asked with a smile.

Kuvira’s eyes narrowed as a light flush raced across her cheeks. She angrily picked up a nacho and shoved it into her mouth, chewing harshly. Asami bit her lip to keep herself from smiling, whereas Korra threw her head back and laughed loudly. The earthbender glared at her out of the corner of her eye. “So, who’s playing who?”

“You’re not joining us?” Asami asked.

“This is a kid’s game,” Kuvira scoffed. “Come find me if you’re talking about DDR.”

“Well then, I guess we could split up in twos.” She suggested before scanning their small group. “So how about-” Before she could finish, Bolin grabbed Opal’s hand and dragged her over to a lane on the left. Kuvira watched them with intent, her eyes not shifting focus as she continued to eat her food. “Well, then Bopal is a group. So how about Mako and Kiyoko can be a group. Then that leaves me and Korra.”

Kiyoko grabbed Asami but the elbow and pulled her a few steps away. “You paired me up with him? I was hoping I could work my way up to talking to him. What do I do?” she hissed.

“Relax,” Asami said gently. “You’re right handed and your arm is injured. Mako bowls with his left hand. Ask him to teach you how to bowl left handed,” she explained slowly. She then placed her hands on Kiyoko’s shoulders and pushed her off in Mako’s direction at the middle lane. That left the right lane to be used by Asami and Korra.

“I got this, no problem,” Korra said confidentially as she stretched.

“I don’t think you do,” Asami said with a shake of her head.

“Do you see these muscles?” The Avatar lifted both arms before flexing them. She then turned around to show off her toned back. “I will win. It’s a fact,” she boasted.

“Bowling isn’t all about strength,” the engineer said gently. “It’s about precision, and careful thinking, and-” Korra interrupted her with an over exaggerated snore. Asami punched her on the arm but couldn’t help but laugh. “If you’re so sure, then let’s go.”

“I’m always up for a challenge,” Korra said with a half-smile. She spotted a janitorial cart nearby. She reached over and plucked a mop from its holder before holding it out to the raven-haired girl. “Here, you’re going to need this.”

Asami eyed the mop with confusion. “What’s this for?”

“To mop up your tears after I win,” she answered proudly. Kuvira snorted, trying to fight off a laugh. Asami rolled her eyes before shoving the mop into the Avatar’s chest. Korra placed her hands onto the mop handle to brace herself against the impact of it hitting her chest. Her eyes widened in shock at the force she had used. Asami’s pinkies brushed against Korra’s thumbs.

“That won’t be necessary since you can waterbend and it’ll be your tears you’ll be cleaning,” Asami answered with a smirk. She slowly dropped her hands, feeling the warm of Korra’s hands still burned into her skin. “That’ll be a new bending form for you: tearbending.”

Korra laughed before placing the mop back on the janitorial cart. “For someone so smart, that is the corniest thing I have ever heard you say,” she commented.

“Enough talking, then. Bring it on, Avatar.” Asami turned and picked out a bowling ball to use. After scanning the selection, she chose a bowling ball that was a dark red and weighed about twelve pounds. Korra selected a light blue ball that weighed fifteen pounds. She pulled it off the rack before tossing it into the air and catching it with one hand repeatedly. “Show off,” the engineer commented. Korra shrugged before half-smiling.

The group of six bowlers chatted animatedly as they went over to the rental booth and gave them their shoe size; all the while, Korra continued the bowling ball up and down.

Asami took a seat and slipped off her shoes. She looked down at the other lanes to see how her friends were fairing. Bolin was clearly trying to win the game, but wasn’t too good of a bowler. More often than not, he would get gutter balls, but when he’d knock down a few pins, even one, he would get really excited. Opal laughed happily at his antics and ended up doing a bit worse than her boyfriend. Asami assumed she was throwing the game on purpose since she comes from a family that has connections to science and most likely knows enough about physics to do well.

Kiyoko wasn’t doing too well either, but she was playing at a disadvantage. She would blush brightly every time Mako would look in her direction. With every throw of the ball with her left hand, it would just plop to the ground and roll slowly down the lane. Kiyoko buried her face in her hands and offered up Mako an apology. He simply shook his head and smiled calmly over at her. He took a hold of her wrist and suggested a different way to throw the ball. Kiyoko smiled at him in return before jumping a bit when the loud sound of a ball hitting pins erupted their silence. Mako stood next to her and watched as her ball continued to slowly roll down the lane. Their fingers lightly brushed together. The two looked down at their hands, before facing each other, and quickly turning away.

Asami smiled to herself, mentally patting herself on a job well done before she felt uncomfortable. She could feel someone was watching her. She flipped her hair, before lifting her head to see Korra staring at her with a smile, still tossing the bowling ball up and down. “Why are you looking at me like that?” Asami asked with a small laugh. She reached up and started to toy with her hair. “Is something in my hair? On my face?”

“No,” Korra answered simply. “It’s just…I like seeing you like this.”

“Like what?”

“So sure of yourself. Confident.” The Avatar stopped tossing the ball up and down before cradling it against her toned stomach. “That’s how you were when we met: knowing what you want and going after it. It’s the Asami I like to see, the Asami who enjoys herself and her life, not the Asami who’s afraid of it.”

Asami smiled brightly. As she sat down to tie on her shoes, her hands began to shake. She grabbed the two laces and began to tie them in a knot, but they slipped out of her sweaty palms. She could hear her heartbeat pulse in her ears. She just complimented you, Asami. Say something.

“Th…thanks,” she squeaked. Asami’s eyes widened. What the hell was that?

“Are you okay?” Korra smirked. “Nervous that you’ll lose?”

“Never. You can go first.” Asami finished lacing up her shoes before getting up out of her seat. Korra walked up to the lane and held the bowling ball up close to her face. Her eyes narrowed in concentration as the machine at the back of the lane lowered the pins into their proper placement. Once I had lifted back up into the frame, Korra threw her arm back, muscles flexing, before throwing the ball down the lane.

---

Asami and Korra were on their last bowl for the tenth frame, and as much as Korra hated to admit it, she was close to losing. Their scores were close, with Asami having 98 points and Korra at 102. The engineer had received a strike with her first bowl for the frame and stepped up for the second. As she moved her arm back to bowl, she felt a tug on her hand. Asami looked over her shoulder and found Korra’s hand on top of the ball, holding it in place.

“Korra, stop,” Asami giggled. “You’re only distracting me because you’re worried you’re going to lose.”

“Obviously,” Korra answered. She smiled before placing her other hand onto the ball and plucking it out of Asami’s hand. The Avatar laughed before transferring the ball from her right hand to her left. She then held it out of Asami’s reached, holding the girl back with her right hand on her shoulder. “Try and get it from me.”

Asami laughed harder as she tried to reach around Korra. She ended up leaning into the girl’s side, her right arm brushing against her abdomen. She paused when she felt the hard muscles. She drew her arm back and started to poke at each muscle in fascination. Korra let out a slight squeak before jerking away, her grip loosening on the bowling ball.

Kuvira flinched as the ball almost dropped on her leg. She had moved a chair so that she could stretch out her legs. She tore her cell phone away from her ear before placing it on her chest, blocking the speakers. “Watch it,” she snapped.

“Sorry, Kuvira,” Korra laughed an apology.

While she was distracted, Asami reached out and slipped her hand in between the bowling ball and Korra’s palm. “Gotcha.” Asami grabbed the ball out of Korra’s hands before rushing over to the lane. She squealed in surprise when she felt strong arms wrapped around her waist and lift her off of the floor. Asami could feel her abdomen starting to hurt from how much she was laughing. She struggled against Korra’s grip, kicking her feet so that her heels would smack the girl in the shins.

“Ouch,” Korra laughed before dropping her arms. Asami quickly rolled her ball down the lane before hunching over, placing her hands on her knees to catch her breath. She cheered excitedly as she watched her ball knock down six pins, bringing her final score to 104 points. “Okay, you win.”

Asami reached out and flicked Korra lightly on the end of her nose. Korra blinked in shock before grabbing her wrist and pulling her to her side. She then used her right arm and wrapped it around Asami’s neck, putting her in a light headlock.

“Did you let me win at the end?” she laughed and pushed Korra away. “Because with your muscles and your physique you should have been able to withstand my kicking for a while.” The engineer picked her ball up out of the return bin and held it in her hands, lightly spinning it in between her palms.

“Have you been checking me out?” Korra asked with a raised eyebrow. Asami stared at her. She jumped as her bowling ball fell to the floor in between her feet. The engineer looked at her hands in confusion. She felt her cheeks grow warm and quickly dropped down, causing her hair to hide her embarrassment. “No, you’re right. You are better,” the Avatar admitted.

“As if you had a chance,” Kuvira commented, again placing her phone against her chest to blow out the speakers. “She had physics on her side. She probably calculated everything before her first throw.”

Korra looked over at Asami with a smile. The raven-haired girl bit her bottom lip before shrugging. “You don’t mess with an engineer,” she boasted before lifting her right arm and flexing her muscles. The Avatar squeezed her arm and let out a low whistle.

“I’ll remember that next time,” Korra answered with a laugh. She then turned towards Kuvira and smirked. “Your turn.” Kuvira frowned over at her. “You seem to have a lot to say. Let’s go. Put your money where your mouth is.”

“You do remember that I graduated from RITA right?” the earthbender asked.

“Hey, put up or shut up.”

A sly smile formed on her lips. “Baatar, I’ll call you later.” Kuvira hung up her phone before tossing it onto the table. She stretched her arms and rolled her neck a few times before walking over to the rental table to get a pair of shoes.

Asami slumped down into an empty chair and let out a deep breath. She looked over at Bolin and Opal and found them sharing some french fries and a chocolate milkshake. Kuvira walked up to the two of them and whispered something into Opal’s ear before glaring over at Bolin. Opal frowned and nodded once before waving her away.

Kiyoko smiled shyly as Mako patted her lightly on the back as she bowled successfully with her left hand, albeit it she only knocked down two pins. Mako said something to her before heading over towards the snack bar. Kiyoko waved after him before catching Asami’s eye. She quickly rushed over and sat down in the chair next to her.

“How’s it going?” Asami asked.

“Slow?” Kiyoko answered. “I mean, how else would it go, with this thing on my arm?” she joked while raising her wrapped up wrist. Kiyoko covered her face with her hands. Asami chuckled a bit when she noticed her cheeks turning a light pink. “He also talks to me like I’m smart.”

“You are smart,” she insisted. “Give yourself some credit.”

“May I ask you a question?”

“Shoot.”

“…Is he always….awkward?”

Asami let out a loud laugh. She covered her mouth as Kiyoko elbowed her in the arm and insisted that she quiet down. Asami let out a soft apology before scanning the room to make sure she hadn’t disturbed anyone. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched as Korra and Kuvira reluctantly shook hands. “Only around girls he likes,” she admitted, “but then he goes back to normal. I kind of know from experience.”

Kiyoko nodded as she pondered this thought. Asami smiled as Korra prepared herself for her first frame. The Avatar turned and gave Asami a thumbs up. The engineer quickly turned away and focused her attention back Kiyoko. “I have second question: would it be weird if I invited him to our Winter Formal?” she asked quietly. Kiyoko looked over her shoulder to make sure Mako was still at the snack bar. “I mean, this is the first time we’ve met and everything.”

“I say go for it.” Asami shrugged. “There’s nothing wrong with being confident and going after what you want. The worst thing that can happen is he says no.”

“He could laugh,” she muttered while looking down at her hands.

“He’s too much of a gentleman to do that.”

“What kind of a bowl was that?” Korra shouted. She slapped her knee before laughing wildly. Kuvira growled at her before stomping over to the ball return, waiting impatiently for her bowling ball to come back. Korra picked up her bright blue ball and waited for the pins to be set up. She drew her arm back and quickly threw the ball down the lane.

Asami’s eyes trailed over Korra’s form. She started at her legs, making note of the their general shape underneath the loose clothing, up her back to where her muscles bulged and flexed with each movement, to her arms where muscles were clearly defined, to her blue eyes. Korra pumped an arm into the air and cheered happily as she bowled a strike.

Their eyes locked and Asami felt a twinge in her stomach. She swallowed down the lump that rose in her throat. All of a sudden she felt very jittery and nervous. Her right leg started to rapidly bounce up and down. She slowly clasped her hands together, mentally wincing when she felt how warm, and slightly damp, they felt. Korra’s smile widened as she waved over at Asami.

What is wrong with you, Asami?, she thought to herself as she raised a shaking hand to return the gesture.

“Wow, she’s incredible,” Kiyoko commented.

“Yeah….she is,” Asami muttered, wondering if Kiyoko could hear the sound of her heartbeat.

Chapter Text

There’s got to be something I can do to turn Future Industries around. Why did you have to ruin everything? You were so proud of the company you built. It was from the ground up. You always told me that you didn’t have anything until you started a family and took the loan from your first supplier. Were you that lonely?

Asami pulled on the throttle and felt her body jerk forward as her scooter sped up. She zipped past a few shops, her hands gripped tightly on the handlebars. She easily swerved in and out of traffic, not minding the painted lines on the ground or the car’s honking around her.

Suddenly Mako dashed into the street. Asami gasped and firmly pressed onto the breaks. She shifted her weight and moved the scooter to its side, sliding the last few inches along the ground. Mako let out a yelp as the metal frame hit his shins, he landed on the ground but not without rolling over a few times.

“I’m so sorry, Mako,” Asami cried. She tugged at her helmet and pulled her goggles down around her neck. “I wasn’t paying too much attention. Are you okay?”

Mako groaned as he sat up. He moved every muscle of his body, starting with his arms all the way down to his toes. “I’ve been beaten up worse than this during practice,” he muttered while rubbing his shin. “This will bruise though.”

“I’m so sorry.” She bent down and helped pull him to his feet. A few cars behind her started to honk loudly. The drivers waved frantically from behind the wheel. She glared sharply at them before ripping her helmet off. The minute her dark hair flowed down her back, their eyes widened. The cars quickly merged into the other lane and continued on.

“What’s got you upset?” Mako asked.

Asami looked over at him in surprise. “What makes you think I’m upset?”

“You’re the best driver I know.” Mako climbed to his feet and brushed the dirt off of the back of his pants. Asami turned off her scooter and moved it up along the sidewalk to lean against a pole. She pulled a lock and chain out of a hidden compartment in the scooter and started to lock it up. “If you weren’t in your head, you would have stopped in time.”

Asami hummed quietly before nodding in understanding. She slipped the lock in to two chain links and started to press the lock close. Asami had a difficult time locking up her scooter with the way she wrapped the chains around it. She grunted while pushing her palms together, her right palm on the base of the look, and her left palm on the hook.

“You may need some muscle for that,” he joked.

“That’s what Korra’s for.” She looked up at him with a smile. “Avatar muscle.” Asami let out a quiet cheer as it finally locked with a light click.

“Weren’t you heading somewhere?” he asked.

“No, I was just taking a drive to clear my head. How about some lunch while I’m here?” Asami suggested. Mako nodded in response before following her into Narook’s Seaweed Noodelry. She followed the waiter to a small round booth and quickly sat down before shuffling towards the middle. Mako did the same but from the other side of the table. “How are things with Kiyoko?” she asked.

“Good,” he answered quickly. “She’s really nice, and sweet, and…different. And…” Asami smiled before taking a sip of her glass of water. She picked up her napkin and lightly dapped around the top of her lip before placing it into her lip.

“And not me or Korra?” she asked.

Mako shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “Well, she isn’t as intimidating.”

“I don’t know if I should take that as a compliment or an insult.”

“It’s a compliment,” he reassured her with a smile. “There’s nothing wrong with women wanting to take charge. I mean, look at Beifong.” Asami pointed at him before nodding. “How else would you be able to handle the business world?”

“That’s true,” Asami said quietly, “sometimes I wonder if I’m doing the right thing by trying to turn Future Industries around.” She picked up her menu and quickly scanned it as the waiter walked up to their booth. She looked over at Mako and he motioned in her direction, letting her order first. She read off what she wanted before handing the waiter her menu. Mako just handed the waiter his menu and asked for his usual. He placed his elbows onto the table and sighed deeply. “Anyway, you seem a bit off.”

“It’s Bolin.”

“Is everything okay?”

“I worry about him sometimes,” Mako muttered. He started to toy with his napkin; crumpling it up in his hands before smoothing it out onto the table. Asami waited patiently for him to continue speaking. His eyebrows were furrowed and the more he messed with the napkin the jerkier his movements became. “I graduate next semester and I may leave for university. Or find a job. Who knows? I just wonder what will happen when I’m gone.”

“I think Bolin is perfectly capable to be on his own,” she added gently. While she didn’t have a family anymore, Asami always knew that it was a sensitive subject to offer advice for anyone. She had learned that the hard way when she was younger.

“Honestly, I don’t,” he admitted. “He just got into his first relationship. It’s not that I don’t like Opal,” he quickly added, “but I wonder if he is too wrapped up in having a girlfriend.”

“Isn’t having a girlfriend better than having tons of screaming fans around?” Asami asked with a shrug. Mako scrunched up his nose before slumping a bit in his seat. He folded his arms over his chest and exhaled sharply through his nose.

“Okay, point made,” he finally admitted. Asami laughed into her palm as the waiter came back with their food. She stirred her noodles around in the broth a few times before picking up a small section with her chopsticks. She blew lightly on the food before slipping it into her mouth. “It’s also his future. He doesn’t know what he wants to do in life,” Mako said before slurping a large portion of noodles. She fought the urge to roll her eyes before continuing. “He will need to figure it out before the end of the school year since he’d have to declare his intent soon.”

“Declare his intent?” she repeated in confusion.

“Republic has a system kind of like college and their degrees, but different. When we’re in our sophomore year, we have to declare our intent; basically the track you’re intending on pursuing when you get to university level,” he answered. “This way we take fewer gen ed courses, or courses that sound interesting, and then take a few courses to get a feel of what college will be like.”

“But what if you declare your intent and then change your mind?”

“You can change your intent twice a year; one time per semester, but it’s not something you need to have nailed down by the time you graduate in senior year.” Mako groaned in frustration as a few pieces of noodles slipped through his chopsticks at every pass. “It’s just a great way to figure out what you may like and may not like before you head to higher education.”

Asami held her hand up to her mouth as she chewed. “What does Bolin want to do?” she asked quickly before finishing and swallowing. Having proper table manners was something she was taught at an early age. She tried not to mentally scold herself as she went against one of the rules she was taught.

“I don’t know. Every time I bring up the topic we get into a fight.” Mako shrugged. He gave up on eating the last few pieces and just stirred the broth at the bottom of his bowl. “We just had one a few moments before you almost ran me over.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t push the topic?” she asked gently. “It sounds like you’re talking to him like a parent and not a brother.”

“I have to look out for him,” he answered sharply. “There’s no one else.”

“You do look out for him and that is something I’ve always liked about you, but you can’t make his decisions for him. Just be supportive in whatever he chooses to do. That’s all that matters in the end, even if you don’t agree with it.”

“Are you going to the Winter Formal tonight?” Mako asked abruptly.

“Are you changing the subject because you don’t want to admit that I’m right?” she responded with a wink. Mako laughed, breaking his rough composure. “No, I’m not going.”

“It sounds like it’ll be fun,” he commented.

“Hey, if you’ve been to one dance you’ve been to them all.”

“I wouldn’t know.”

Asami’s eyebrows rose in shock. “Republic doesn’t hold dances?”

“No.” He shrugged. “We don’t really know why, but we get a lot of funding for sports teams to no one really complains.” He smiled happily. “I mean, the Fire Ferrets wouldn’t be around without it.”

“Speaking of school, I’m curious; who did Tenzin end up calling when we all got into trouble?

“Toza,” Mako answered with a smirk. “When Bolin and I were trying to get off of the streets he gave us a place to stay. We worked odd jobs for him and he got us into pro-bending which is why I formed the association at Republic. Anyway, he helped us fill out the applications for the school and helped us get scholarships to attend. He’s something like a guardian to us. He didn’t even care that we got into trouble. He thought it was funny.” He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and checked the time. “I have to go. I need to pick up a corsage for Kiyoko.”

“I hope you’ll have a great time tonight,” Asami said. She got up and slipped out of the booth before reaching into her pocket for her wallet. She tossed a few yuan bills onto the table. Mako stepped to the side to make room for her, and followed her out of the restaurant. As they both walked over to her scooter, he placed a hand lightly on her shoulder to catch her attention.

“Do I have to wear a dress?” he whispered.

“No,” Asami laughed. “The switching of clothing is more for the girl’s anyway. Some guys do attend the Winter Formal in dresses but you don’t have to.” She cocked her head to the side and raised an eyebrow. “Haven’t you talked about this with Kiyoko?”

“We’ve exchanged a few text messages here and there. I just didn’t want to ruin the school’s tradition or anything,” he said while rubbing the back of his neck.

“Don’t worry about it, Mako. Just dress like you did when we went to Quang’s Cuisine, but not as formal.” Asami smiled. “I’m sure you’ll be very handsome.”

“Thanks, Asami. I’ll see you later.”

“Bye, Mako.” Asami gave a small wave before heading over towards her scooter. She zipped up her jacket before reaching into her pocket and pulling out her cellphone. After turning the volume back on, her phone lit up and vibrated for a few seconds. A small envelope flashed in the corner of the screen, indicating that she had a few new messages.

Korra: -1:26 pm- Are you on your way back? I’m bored and I have no idea how to work this TV setup to play a videogame.

Korra: -1:45 pm- It looks like it’ll snow soon. Be careful on your scooter

Korra: -2:07 pm- Just checking to make sure you’re okay and that nothing happened.

Asami smiled as she quickly typed out a response. She re-read the message to herself, lifting her hand to bite on her pinky nail. Her thumb shook as she hovered over the send button. After a few more seconds, she squeezed her eyes shut and pressed down.

Asami: -2:28 pm- Everything is okay, Angel. I’m fine. I just had some lunch with Mako and I’m on my way back now. I’ll be there soon.

Why did you text that? She’ll think it’s stupid. She’ll think it’s weird that you have a name for her. Why don’t phones have the option to stop text messages after they’ve been sent?

Korra: -2:32 pm- Angel? I think I’m more the opposite. XD Drive safely, please.

Korra: : -2:32 pm- Oh, can you stop by Tenzin’s place? I left one of my textbooks there when I was babysitting the air kids a few days ago. I also left my glider…I worry more about that than the book to be honest. :)

Asami let out a huge sigh of relief as she read the new text messages. Her thumbs raced against the screen as she depicted her response.

Asami: -2:33pm-No problem, just message me the address. I’ll text you when I’m on the way back home.

A few minutes later, Asami pulled her scooter up into the driveway of a small white house. Columns on the porch were decorated with red and gold ribbon. A swinging seat rocked gently against the crisp air. The engineer pulled her jacket up tightly against her neck as she hurried towards the front door. She knocked rapidly before bouncing on the tips of her toes, trying to keep her blood moving and her body warm.

“Hi, Pema. I’m sorry to bother you,” Asami said as soon as the woman opened the door. She crossed her arms over her chest and shook violently as a strong wind picked up. “I’m just here to grab a book for Korra, and her glider.”

“She texted me and told me you’d be by,” Pema answered with a smile. “Come in, you must be freezing.”

“Don’t tell Korra that; she’ll make fun of me for days,” Asami answered.

“Just because she comes from the South doesn’t mean we all like the cold,” she laughed. Pema held her hand out for Asami’s jacket. Once the heiress placed it into her palm, she hung it up in a nearby closet. “I just put some soup on the stove. Would you like some?”

“I’m fine, thank you.” She shook her head. It was then she noticed how quiet the house was. When she had visited Pema in the hospital around Thanksgiving for the birth of her baby, her children were very lively and loud. Judging by that and stories she’s heard from Korra, they could be a handful. “Where are the children?” she asked.

“Tenzin took them to visit the zoo today,” Pema answered. “Baby Rohan was a little ill so we decided to stay home. Would you like to see him?”

“Oh.” Asami blinked. She smiled sheepishly. “…um…I’m not too good with kids.”

“He’s asleep. Don’t worry.” Pema took a hold of her hand and led her up the stairs towards the master bedroom. Asami lightened her footsteps as she followed the older woman over to a crib on the opposite side of the room. “Here he is.”

“He’s so small,” Asami whispered. She couldn’t help but gush as she watched the baby’s nose twitch every few seconds. She reached down into the crib and lightly traced a finger down the baby’s cheek.

“He’s great,” Pema said lovingly. She pulled a blanket up around the baby’s neck before lightly scratching his scalp. “Rohan is just like the men in this family; the minute their heads hit the pillow they’re down for the count.” She motioned for them to quietly leave the room. Pema closed the door behind them before rubbing her eyes. Asami had noticed how tired she looked when she first opened the door but didn’t say anything. It was a look she had seen etched upon her father’s face after long nights at the factory. While he did look rundown, he also looked proud and happy. Pema radiated the same energy. “So how have you been?” the older woman asked.

The two walked down into the kitchen and took a seat at the table. Pema lit a flame underneath a teapot before dumping a few herbs into the opening.

“I’ve been pretty busy with school and Future Industries, like usual,” Asami answered with a shrug.

“Do you miss modeling for my art class?” Pema looked over her shoulder and offered up a smile. After her first time model, Asami had spoken quietly with Pema saying that she enjoyed her time in the room but couldn’t help but let her mind wander and constantly slump and shift her body around, even with her past modeling experience. Although, after her initial meeting with Korra, Mako, and Bolin, the later sessions weren’t horribly and quickly became entertaining.

“Do I miss having random guys hitting on me every time I sit in front of them? Not at all,” Asami scoffed. Pema laughed politely. “I do miss hanging out with Korra and the group more often though,” she admitted. “I mean, aside from Korra of course since we live together now.”

“I heard about that.” Pema snatched the teapot off of the stove as soon as it started to whistle. Asami reached towards the middle of the table and picked two small cups off of the small plate holding numerous colored cups. She placed one in front of her and one in front of Pema. She poured the two some tea before placing the teapot onto a towel that laid by the plate of cups. “Thanks for taking her in.”

“You knew?” Asami asked.

“Of course I knew. I’m a mother.” Pema shrugged. “I know everything about every child who steps foot under this roof. Which makes me wonder what is upsetting you?”

The engineer took a sip of her tea before reaching up and tapping her face lightly with her hand. “Am I that easy to read?” she frowned.

“I told you, I’m a mom.”

Asami nodded before looking down into the liquid in her cup. She stared at her reflection watching as the picture distorted with the ripples on the surface. “I’ve been thinking of two things: I either cease my studies after I graduate from RITA or I turn my company over to someone else.”

“Why would you give up the company?” Pema asked.

“My father ruined its reputation. While I am able to handle both school and being a CEO, I have yet to come up with a marketing plan or a new innovative idea to turn its reputation around.” She placed her elbow onto the table and rested her chin in her hand.

“You are extraordinarily gifted. If anyone can handle things, you can,” Pema said with a soft smile. She reached over and rubbed the top of Asami’s left hand that was resting on the table. “You’re worry too much about the future that you’re not enjoying your time now. Even though you’re a CEO and had to grow up quickly, you’re still a kid. It’s okay to just relax and do nothing. Just have some fun and don't worry about anything else.”

“I have fun,” Asami said with a small bite.

“Yes, but if you’re anything like your father, fun to you is coming up with a new set of blueprints.” Asami took sudden interest in the painting that was resting on the wall above them. It was an art piece depicting the air nomad culture. She took in the colors of the reds and golds before Pema’s laughter brought her back. “Tell me the truth, when was the last time you had fun?”

Asami looked up at the ceiling in thought. “When we went bowling about a week ago. Korra and I had a bit of a competition.” She smiled softly at the memory. “I won.”

Pema’s eyes widened in surprise. She took a quick sip of her tea before placing the cup back onto the table. “And she didn’t let you win?”

“I don’t think so.” Asami shook her head, her dark her shifting across her back. “When she noticed that she was close to losing she tried to cheat by distracting me.”

The older woman laughed into her palm. “Yeah, that sounds like Korra. When did you have fun before then?”

“…Around Republic’s Spirit Week and Family Weekend activities. We all went to a karaoke bar. Korra thought it’d be a great place to go and just have fun. It helped take my mind off of things. She seems to always have time to put others before herself. I mean, how often does she get to see her parents, but she spent a majority of the weekend trying to keep me in the loop and entertained.” Asami frowned as she looked over at Pema. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Pema pulled her bottom lip in before shrugging. “No reason, it’s just that I noticed whenever you mention Korra you light up.”

“I do? Oh, well she’s just helped make things better in my life since we became friends.” Asami shrugged. “She’s very trustworthy, and loyal, and a great energy to be around. I don’t’ see her as the Avatar, I just see her as her.”

“It’s nice to know that you admire her.” Pema laced her fingers together, a pensive look crossing her face. “She won’t tell anyone but sometimes what the newspaper articles say gets to her. It’s good to know that she has someone like you in her life.”

“Well, what’s not to admire about her?” Asami asked. “Even if she may act without thinking, her heart is always in the right place and will always follow what she believes in. I think everyone deserves those qualities. That’s something that I strive for.”

“You know, there is only the smallest of difference between admiring someone and liking them.” Pema smiled.

Asami’s eyebrow furrowed as she rested her hand over her mouth. She stared down at the table in thought. “I…I don’t understand,” she finally said.” If you admire someone isn’t normal to like them as well? It’s not like you’d admire a villain or something like that…” she trailed off, her mind racing, trying to comprehend what the older woman had just said to her.

“Having a powerful mind is one thing, but you’re over thinking this one.” Pema smiled.

Asami sighed before half-smiling. “That would also explain how bad i am at jokes; at least that’s what Korra says.” She shrugged.

“Speaking of Korra, knowing her protectiveness, she may be wonder where you are.” Pema looked at the clock hanging above the stove before shifting her gaze towards the window. “You might want to head home before the roads get too bad.”

“I have yet to find a road that has been a challenge,” Asami boasted as she got up out of her seat. “Bring it on, I say.”

“Asami!”

“What?” she widened her green eyes to try and promote innocence but she couldn’t help but smile as well. “You told me to have some fun and I love to drive.” Pema raised an eyebrow in response. “I’ll be careful, I promise. Thank you for the tea and this nice chat. We should do it again sometime.”

“Just call whenever you need me.” Pema gave the younger girl a big hug before walking her to the front door. She reached into the closet and handed Asami her jacket. “See you soon, oh and could you tell Korra something for me?”

“Sure.”

“Tell her that final projects in my class are canceled and whatever grade the students currently have is their final grade for the semester,” Pema recited.

Asami reached into her the collar of her jacket and fluffed her hair up and out of it. She zipped her jacket and pulled the keys to her scooter out of her pocket before twirling them around her finger. “Why do I need to tell Korra that?”

“Because she’ll be so excited that it’ll spread around campus faster than sending out an email. It’ll save me some time,” Pema commented.

---

Asami stepped into the apartment and quickly slipped out of shoes. She sighed happily as her feet touched the cool ground. “Korra, I’m back. I got your book and glider,” she called out, walking down the hall and towards the living room. “I also stopped by a small bakery and picked up some cookies.”

She paused when she noticed Korra, Mako, Bolin, Kiyoko, and Opal sitting in the living room. All five of them were dressed in black suits, with different accent colors: Korra’s was blue, Mako’s was grey (along with his red scarf), Bolin’s was Green, Opal’s was gold, and Kiyoko’s was purple. They each wore matching fedora hats but Korra’s, Opal’s, and Kiyoko’s had a small piece of embellishment added to theirs. Asami was shocked when she noticed Korra’s signature wolf tail sticking out of the top of the hat.

“What’s going on?” Asami asked slowly as her five friends got to their feet as she entered the room. She noticed the small corsage on Kiyoko’s wrist, the flowers matched the color in her suit. Asami couldn’t help but smile when she noticed they were holding hands.

“We’re waiting for you to leave,” Bolin answered with excitement.

She blinked rapidly in confusion. “Leave where?” She dropped her left shoulder, causing her purse to slid down her arm to the floor. She had Korra’s glider tucked underneath her right arm, and her textbook and box of cupcakes in her right hand.

“To your senior year Winter Formal.” Opal matched Bolin’s happiness. Normally, people being overly perky annoyed Asami to no end, but they both looked bright, and cute together that she let it slide.

“I didn’t buy a ticket,” Asami answered.

“Don’t worry about it.” Opal waved away the notion as if she were shooing a puppy. “I’m sure my dad can get you in. It worked with me and Bolin,” she added. “Plus, that school loves you.”

“I don’t understand.” The engineer slowly looked at the five of them. Her eyes landed on Korra and stopped as the dark girl shifted slowly from foot to foot.

“All of this was my idea,” Korra said sheepishly. “I saw how much fun you were having when we went bowling and realized that you hardly just let yourself loose and just be a teenager.” She looked over at the other four and nodded. Kiyoko reached behind a chair and pulled out a dress bag. Mako pulled a fedora from behind his back, while Bolin produced a red feather from his pocket. Opal then reached underneath the table and held up a pair of black high heeled boots. Korra held up a finger and raced into the kitchen. She re-emerged with a plastic container carrying a pink corsage.

“You set me up,” Asami stated with a smile. “With Mako and Pema?”

“No, you running into me was real,” Mako commented. “I stormed into the street after talking with Bolin.”

“More like yelling,” Bolin interjected.

“But, I did purposely leave my book at Pema’s to get you to talk to her.”

“What about your glider?”

“That was an accident. Gimmie.” Korra reached over and plucked her glider out from underneath Asami’s arm. She held it to her chest as if she were holding her old security blanket. “I was worried the kids would turn you into firewood,” she whimpered. Korra’s eyes widened when she noticed everyone else in the room staring strangely at her. She cleared her throat as a light flush rushed her cheeks. “I thought if anyone could lend an ear, it’d be her.”

“I don’t have any clothes,” Asami muttered.

“All taken care of.” Kiyoko stepped forward and unzipped the dress bag. “Check it out.”

Asami gasped before squealing happily when she looked inside the dress bag. She ran her hands over the clothing, her jaw open in shock. “That’s beautiful,” she commented. “Wait, how’d you know my size?”

“School uniform,” Korra answered simply. Asami looked over at her with a raised eyebrow. “I told you, I have everything figured out.”

“Then who am I going with?” she playfully demanded. She placed the box of cookies onto the table before crossing her arms over her chest. “I mean, I assume it’s a group thing but you two are dating,” she said while pointing at Opal and Bolin, “and you’re taking Kiyoko. Or, rather, she is taking you.”

Korra reached into her pocket and pulled out a folded up piece of paper. She quickly unwrapped it and held it out in front of her. Asami recognized the colors and realized it was the flier from the mirror in her bedroom. “Well, the flier says that the girl is supposed to ask the date.” The Avatar folded the flier back up before returning it to her pocket. “So, you being a girl times you asking me equals having a fantastic time with the funnest person in Republic City,” she explained. “See, I’m good at math.”

“Hey!” Bolin exclaimed. “How am I not fun?”

“And funnest isn’t a word,” Mako added with a smirk.

“Fine.” Korra rolled her eyes. “The most fun girl in the Republic City. Happy?” she glared over at Bolin who nodded in confirmation. Asami laughed at the exchange before turning to face her roommate.

“Korra, will you go with me?” she asked.

“I don’t know.” Korra shrugged. She crossed her arms over her chest and shifted all of her weight to one side, popping her hip out. “It’s kind of last minute. I mean, I think I deserve better than that.”

“Fine, then I’ll use my sixth question.” Asami took a deep breath before smiling brightly. “Korra, would you go to Winter Formal with me?” she said with an air. It was a combination of her normal voice and her ‘work’ voice. She thought that it would make her asking sound much more important than the first time she tried. Korra half-smiled but remained silent. “With seaweed noodles, moon cakes, meat buns and-” Asami picked up the box off of the table, “and some cookies on top?” She shook the box before holding it out to her.

“You had me at noodles.” Korra happily received the box from her before tearing it open. “How can I say no when food is involved?” She happily bit into a cookie before passing the box around to the other four in the room.

“Wow, I feel special,” Asami said sarcastically. She laughed regardless, overflowing with happiness as she took another look at her friend’s clothing. “No, I really do. Thank you, everyone.”

“So go and get ready.” Korra received the dress bag from Kiyoko before shoving it into Asami’s arms. She then placed her hands on Asami’s shoulders, turned her around, and walked her over to her bedroom. “We’re going to head over to Opal’s to take pictures and then head to the dance. Now, move it,” she ordered.

Chapter Text

“What’d you do, fall in?” Korra joked as she knocked on Asami’s bathroom door. The door handle twisted to the left before the door opened. The engineer rolled her eyes in response before turning back to the mirror.

“I’m almost done,” Asami muttered. Korra stepped into the room and watched as Asami continued to put on her makeup. Her white button down shirt was open, showing the middle of a black laced bra and her pale abdomen. “Sorry I’m taking so long.”

“That looks to have cleared up nicely,” Korra commented as she pointed to Asami’s side where her bruise used to be. “I still can’t believe they were able to jump you.”

Asami sighed hard through her nose as she placed her makeup brush onto the counter of the sink. “I may know self-defense, but it is different when you’re having a flashback. You don’t have much control over anything.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. You’re the Avatar. What do you have to be afraid of?” she asked with a laugh. Korra forced a smile before turning away. Asami buttoned up the rest of her shirt before placing her fedora onto her head. Korra picked up Asami’s suit jacket and held it out so that Asami could slip her arms into it.

“This.” Korra pulled her cellphone out of her back pocket. She pressed a few buttons and held it up to Asami’s ear. The engineer looked at her in confusion before listening to the phone. As the seconds passed her green eyes crinkled with a smile, before slowly widening, before finally landing upon a wince. She slowly pulled the phone from her ear and gaped at the Avatar who simply nodded. “Mom wasn’t too happy when she found out about sneaking Bolin and Mako out of the dorm and everything.” She placed her phone back into her pocket. “But she did remind me to get you to call her so, congratulations, you are her new favorite daughter.”

“Please, I could never replace someone as awesome as you,” Asami laughed. “But I will call her later.” Asami reached underneath her collar and flipped up her hair so that it cascaded down her back. “So, what do you think?” She did a quick turn before holding her hands out to the side.

Asami was wearing a black suit jacket, with red buttons down the middle, and red pockets. Her skirt was red and reached mid thigh. She had paired knee high boots with her outfit, along with red laces. Her fedora had a red feather tucked back on the left side.

“I think we’ll be the best dressed group at this dance,” Korra answered as she looked at her reflection. She tipped her hat a bit lower over her eyes before winking into the mirror. “I promise, you’ll have fun tonight.”

“I’ll be holding you to that,” Asami answered. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket before turning it around in her hand and lifting it high into the air. Korra stood close next to her and held up a peace sign as Asami snapped a picture.

“You’ll have a great time as long as you don’t let Rika bother you,” Korra insisted. She placed her hand on top of Asami’s as she moved to put her phone back into her pocket. The Avatar pressed a few buttons before smiling at the picture they just took. “With your friends by your side, you’ll have nothing to worry about.”

After taking numerous selfies, and trying to keep Bolin from eating all of the cookies Asami had brought back to the apartment, the group piled into Asami’s satomobile and she drove them over to Opal’s house. Upon arriving she got caught in a conversation with Baatar and her Senior Project. While she didn’t mind talking about her project, she didn’t want to worry about school related topics at the moment. Soon, the conversation switched over to her satomobile and the customizations Asami had put onto it. She then promised to look at the Beifong’s family car when she’d get the chance.

“Geeze, Asami,” Korra said with a snicker. “You just can’t help but tinker with things can you?” In response, Asami stuck her tongue out at her. Korra was about to sit down in the living room, but offered her seat to the raven-haired girl instead, with a wave of her hand. Asami smiled graciously up at her before taking the seat. Korra sat on the armrest before turning to talk to Kiyoko about an upcoming probending tournament the Fire Ferrets were going to join.

After their bowling trip, Korra had become more talkative with Kiyoko. While they didn’t have much in common, they did both like pro-bending which seemed to be the topic of all of their conversations, not that either of them had a problem with it.

Lin briefly stopped by the house. She complimented the group on their clothing, saying they looked better than they normally did. She and Mako had a brief conversation about one of his criminology courses, which had struck Asami as odd until Korra explained that while she was a gym teacher and head of campus security, she also taught a few criminology courses at Republic. Asami shifted uncomfortably in her seat as Lin and Korra talked quietly. Every few minutes, she would look over at the engineer out of the corner of her eye. Korra picked up on the exchange after a few moments but remained quiet on the topic.

Asami couldn’t help but smile every time she took a glance at everyone’s attire for the Winter Formal. Mako and Bolin dressed in their nicest suits; Mako had grey accents while Bolin had green accents. Of course, Mako’s red scarf was draped around his shoulders.

Opal’s suit consisted of a pair of shorts and gold accents. Her sleeves were rolled up to her elbows and her fedora had a gold bow. She decided to wear a pair of gold ankle boots to match her outfit. They were Kuvira’s and she had to promise five different times that she would return them in better condition. When asked where and why she purchased the shoes, Kuvira would just scowl and change the subject. Once Korra picked up on this, she drilled her with questions, watching in amusement as Kuira excused herself with to her bedroom with a light blush on her cheeks.

Korra’s suit had light blue accents, and the jacket was left open to reveal her dark blue shirt underneath. The bottom of the shirt stopped a few inches from the top of her pants, showing a decent sized sliver of her abdomen. Her fedora had a water tribe pin attached to it. Kiyoko was wearing a dress suit with purple accents, and a light blazer on top. Her hair was pulled down from its signature bun into a ponytail, which curled down her back. Her fedora had a small purple heart pinned to the side.

“Mom, this is Asami Sato,” Opal said as a woman stepped into the room with a camera around her neck. Asami looked down at her clothes, before smoothing out her skirt and rising from her seat. “This is my mom, Suyin.”

“Please, call me Su,” the woman said with a smile. “So you’re the bad influence,” Su said while shaking Asami’s hand. The engineer paused, her eyes going wide and her jaw dropping. “I’m only kidding. I just noticed that Opal started to get into more trouble once she began talking about you a lot.”

“Mom,” Opal moaned.

“Not just you,” she added. “You and Korra and all of her news friends, but especially Bolin.”

“Mom!”

“Calm down, Opal,” Korra said. She had taken off her hat and started to tossing it up into the air and catch it. “Parent’s do stuff like this all the time. It’s better to just accept it instead of being embarrassed.”

“Yeah, her mom tells us stories about her all the time,” Bolin added. Korra missed catching her hat, letting it fall to the ground as her eyes widened. She stared at the earthbender, her right eye twitching.

“What do you mean, all the time?” she demanded.

“Come on, you guys,” Mako groaned. “Let’s just get these pictures taken.” Asami and Korra shared a look with each other before giggling into their hands. While dating Mako, both noticed that he had the tendency to get stiff when taking photos. Or, it would take a lot to convince him to sit still long enough for one picture.

“Let me just double check my makeup, really quick,” Asami said after she calmed down.

“Me too,” Opal said. “I’ll show you to a bathroom.” She grabbed the raven-haired girl by the arm before exiting the room. Kiyoko shrugged before following the two of them out of the room. The three girls burst into giggles and quiet chatter as they made their way to a bathroom.

Korra threw her hands up in the air and let out a big sigh. “Now I understand the guy’s side of this,” she muttered. Mako chuckled softly. “This is why I don’t wear makeup.”

A split second later, a loud shriek came from the other room. Korra, Mako, and Bolin looked at each other for the briefest of seconds before rushing after the screams. As they rounded a corner of the hallway, they paused to see Asami, Opal, and Kiyoko standing outside of the bathroom, holding each other tightly.

“What happened? Bolin rushed to his girlfriend’s side. He pried Asami’s and Kiyoko’s arms off of her before wrapping her in a big embrace.

“There’s an ant-spider,” Kiyoko wailed.

“Kill it!” Asmai demanded. Mako looked at them in disbelief as Korra marched into the bathroom. She stared at the sink, watching as an ant-spider, the size of a cookie crumb, scurried across the marble.

Korra slammed her hand down on top of it. She lifted her palm and flicked the crushed body into the sink before turning on the water to flush it away. As she emerged from the bathroom, she turned off the light, before leaning against the door frame.

“You three,” she said while pointing at Opal, Asami, and Kiyoko, “are pathetic,” she concluded. “It wasn’t even that big.”

“You picked a great roommate, Asami,” Opal wheezed from underneath Bolin’s grasp. “She can kill all of the bugs for you.”

“How did I ever get so lucky?” Asami gushed as she rushed over to Korra’s side. She wrapped her arms around Korra’s left arm and smiled over at her. Korra playfully rolled her eyes before brushing the girl off. How did I get so lucky?

“Come on, you guys. We have a party to get to,” Kiyoko said before grabbing Mako and pulling him down the hallway.

---

“Look at them.” Korra nudged Asami with her elbow before nodding out in the direction of the dance floor. Asami took a sip from her cup before turning and placing it on the table behind her. She looked out at the dance floor and let out a slight squeal of happiness as she watched Bolin and Opal, and Mako and Kiyoko slow dancing.

“Just call me the group’s matchmaker,” Asami gushed, clasping her hands together. She rested her chin on her fingers, smiling happily.

“So then, when are you going to find someone new for yourself?” Korra crossed her arms over her chest before leaning up against the edge of the table, crossing one leg over the other.

“Not for a while,” she answered. “Things are too hectic right now. I wouldn’t give them enough attention.”

Korra hummed a response before nodding. The two sat in silence, swaying a little bit to the beat of the music as they continued to watch every other couple on the floor. Asami noticed Rika sulking in the corner. Manami was saying something to her, but the girl just scowled and looked away. Asami chuckled a bit to herself. While in the back of her mind, she knew things with Rika were far from over, she was glad that the girl had been defeated if only for one night.

Upon their arrival at the dance, Rika immediately tried to dig into Asami with as many passive aggressive comments she could make. Manami was by her side, smirking and adding in extra insults where she could. Mako and Bolin cracked their knuckles before taking a step forward. Korra held out her arms, forcing them to stay put as Asami had taken a step forward. All it took was one mention of Iroh and his absence that had the girl walking away in tears. Manami glared at Asami before punching her left palm with her right fist. Asami just brushed her away before taking in the sights of the room.

The Winter Formal was being held in one of the conference rooms at City Hall. The room was dark with a disco ball spinning from the ceiling. Large white cloth spiraled around some of the poles in the room, creating the image of Greek columns. An arc of balloons were hung high above the stage where the DJ was spinning a great mix of dance songs. Christmas lights were strung up along every wall, and the various tables around the room were decorated with purple table clothes and glitter.

While not many people had been dancing, Korra and Bolin rushed the floor. All Asami heard over the music was something about “showing the smart kids how to really have fun”. The two danced wildly to Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon. Eventually Asami found herself dancing next to them. At first, she tried to stay in rhythm of the song. Whenever she caught someone’s eye, a small wave of embarrassment caused her to second guess herself. Bolin grabbed Asami around the waist spun her in a huge circle. As soon as her feet returned to the ground, Asami started to dance as wildly as they were, not caring who was watching. It wasn’t as if they were blending in any way since their group was one the only that had the girls wearing suits as well.

Mako, Opal, and Kiyoko had soon joined them and they had a mini contest to see who could be the worst dancer. Mako won hands down when he had attempted to perform the Roger Rabbit and ended up tripping over his feet. The group danced through many songs, and it wasn’t until the DJ announced a medley of slow songs, that Asami went over to the refreshment table to catch her breath. Korra was by her side in an instant and the two talked quietly about the music, the decorations, and the whole dance in general.

“Hey,” Korra said, nudging Asami once more. “Want to dance?” Asami’s eyes widened a bit as she looked between Korra and the dance floor. “What? Two friends can’t dance with each other?”

“Girls normally don’t-” she started before Korra held up her hand.

“What happened to the Asami who was going to throw caution to the wind? You were doing so great before. Who cares what anyone else thinks, remember? You should only care about your friends.”

“I was more worried about who would lead,” she concluded.

“Ah.” Korra answered. She held out her hands so that Asami could grab a hold of them. Asami stepped closed and wrapped an arm around Korra’s waist, before placing her right hand on her shoulder, and gripping her other hand. “What are you doing?” she demanded.

“Leading,” Asami said. “I’m taller than you.”

“Yeah, but I learned the other way.” Korra then switched their hand placements so that Asami’s hand was on her shoulder, and her arm wrapped around the engineer’s waist. “This feels weird too,” she said after a moment. She quickly held up her palms in the air. She flattened them out and placed them a few inches apart from each other. Asami watched with amused look before pressing her hands against the Avatar’s. “And so does this.”

“Here.” Asami placed an arm around Korra’s waist and pulled her close. She then took Korra’s arm and wrapped it around her own waist before grabbing her hand. “How about that?”

“Better,” Korra said with a laugh. The two shared a smile before slowly moving around the dance floor as a new slow song began to play.

Lying here with you
Listening to the rain
Smiling just to see the smile upon your face
These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive
These are the moments I'll remember all my life
I found all I've waited for
And I could not ask for more

From time to time, Asami would break her gaze with Korra just to glance around the room but found herself looking back into her blue eyes. The Avatar smiled, her blue eyes glittering with mischief. Before Asami could say anything, she found herself going through the motions of a spin. As Korra pulled her back in, Asmai tripped over her feet and stepped hard on the darker girl’s right foot.

“Sorry,” she apologized.

“It’s no problem,” Korra said with a shrug. Asami repositioned herself and the two started to move to the music once more.

Looking in your eyes
Seeing all I need
Everything you are is everything to me
These are the moments
I know heaven must exist
These are the moments I know all I need is this
I have all I've waited for
And I could not ask for more

As they moved in a slow circle, Asami spotted Rika from the corner of her eye. The girl was staring at them with a raised eyebrow. Asami briefly let go off Korra’s hand to wave in her direction.

“Is something wrong?” Korra asked. She turned to look over her shoulder. Asami quickly sent Korra into a dip, laughing as the darker girl flailed her arms and let out a cry of shock as her balance changed.

“No.” Asami answered simply. She pulled Korra back up and laughed as she received a glare. Korra playfully rolled her eyes before repositioning the fedora on her head. “For once, everything is perfect.”

I could not ask for more than this time together
I could not ask for more than this time with you
Every prayer has been answered
Every dream I have's come true
And right here in this moment is right where I'm meant to be
Here with you here with me

These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive
These are the moments I'll remember all my life
I've got all I've waited for
And I could not ask for more

“Ow,” Korra muttered as Asami stepped on her foot again.

“Sorry,” she instantly apologized.

The two continued to dance for a few more seconds before Asami, once more, stepped on her foot. “Ow!”

“Sorry.” Asami sighed hard as she took a step away. “I’m not much of a dancer.”

“Stop apologizing,” Korra said through a wince. “It was just an accident. You’re not stomping on my feet on purpose,” she said with a laugh. Asami knew she was joking, but it didn’t help to lighten her mood. Korra easily picked up on this seeing as, for the first time since they’d met, the normally mature girl was pouting. “Just relax.”

“My dad was the one who taught me how to dance,” Asami muttered as Korra moved her back into her arms. “He wasn’t too good either. I think I got that gene from him. My mom was good. So he told me.”

I could not ask for more than this time together
I could not ask for more than this time with you
Every prayer has been answered
Every dream I have's come true
And right here in this moment is right where I'm meant to be
Here with you here with me

As the song started to wind down a bit, Asami finally felt herself relaxing. She caught a deep breath of the perfume Korra was wearing: a mixture between seaspray and marshmallows.

“Are you having a good time?” Korra asked.

“I always have a good time when I’m with you,” Asami answered. Korra smiled proudly, her chest puffing up a bit, as they continued to dance. You just make everything so much easier.

I could not ask for more than the love you give me
'Coz it's all I've waited for
And I could not ask for more
I could not ask for more

“Thank you for indulging me,” Korra said as the music changed. She lifted her hat off of her head, before deeply bowing. Asami giggled before giving her a curtsey in response.

“Thank you for asking.” The raven-haired girl looked towards the dessert table and spotted two chocolate cupcakes down at the end. “Hang on, one second.” She stepped around various couples and groups as she made her way to the dessert table. Asami quickly picked up the two plates and turned around. She let out a loud gasp as she almost smashed the dessert into Korra’s abdomen. “You didn’t have to follow me.”

“Hey, I’m your date. Where you go, I go.” Korra plucked one of the cupcakes off of the plate. She slowly unwrapped the paper from the bottom before stuffing the whole thing in her mouth. She smiled happily as she chewed. “Isn’t that how this works and these things?”

“No.” Asami looked around for a napkin to wipe the smear of icing from the corner of Korra’s lip. When she couldn’t find one, she tapped the corner of her lips. Korra’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Asami rubbed the icing off of her friend’s face with her thumb. “Girls tend to come with a date and then talk to their closest friends all night.”

“Then what’s the point in bringing someone?” Korra asked around a mouthful of food.

“I have no idea.” Asami shrugged before licking the icing off of her thumb. She peeled the paper off of her own cupcake and started to eat the desert little by little. Korra stood next to her, bobbing her head to Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, as Asami continued to eat. The Avatar looked out on the dance floor and noticed Opal and Kiyoko smiling at each other as the two couples slowly danced by each other’s side. Asami hummed happily before throwing her plate away in a nearby trash can.

Korra grabbed Asami by the wrist and pulled her back out onto the dance floor. She tapped Mako on the shoulder, and once he turned around, she pulled him and Kiyoko closer towards them. Bolin and Opal appeared in the small group, Bolin saying something about not wanting to be left out, their hands held tightly together.

Korra placed her arms around Asami’s and Mako’s shoulders and began to sway back and forth, happily singing the words aloud. Asami smiled, before nodding, and placed an arm around Korra’s and Bolin’s waist. Soon, the rest of the group were together in a small circle, arms wrapped around each other, loudly singing the lyrics of the song as they rocked to the beet.

I don't wanna close my eyes
I don't wanna fall asleep
'Cause I'd miss you, baby
And I don't wanna miss a thing

'Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream would never do
and I'd still miss you, baby
And I don't wanna miss a thing

Don't wanna close my eyes
I don't wanna fall asleep, yeah
I don't wanna miss a thing
I don't wanna miss a thing

---

“My feet!” Asami moaned as she and Korra entered the apartment. She quickly slipped off her boots before tossing them haphazard by the door.

“I told you to take them off,” Korra answered with a laugh

“But they went so well with my outfit,” she moaned. Asami walked over to the couch and collapsed. She let out a huge sigh before closing her eyes and relaxing into the pull of her seat. She didn’t move when she heard Korra heading in the direction of her bedroom. “It’s too bad Opal had to leave early.”

“We could have stayed,” Korra called out from her bedroom.

“No, I didn’t want her to miss out on anything.” Asami reluctantly pulled herself up off of the couch. She walked into her bedroom and shut the door behind her, eager to change out of her clothes. A few minutes later, she exited the room in her pajamas, making her away around the apartment, turning off lights and making sure all windows and doors were locked or closed.

“Hey, come here,” Korra said.

“Korra, I’m not falling for it again,” Asami said with a bit of bite. On the way back from the Winter Formal, Korra had played a prank on Asami. She had told her that there was an ant-spider on her hand as she was moving the gears in her car. In her haste to get the offending creature off of her, she threw the car into reverse and almost backed up into a tree. What Asami had thought was an art-spider was actually a piece of lint that had fallen from one of their sleeves.

Korra was successful in tricking the engineer two more times on the way up to their apartment. Asami had sworn her revenge, which Korra did not believe in the slightest. As the two rode the elevator all of the way up to their floor, the Avatar would spontaneously burst into a fresh fit of giggles, which Asami knew was directed at her.

“No, I need to tell you something.” At that, Asami walked into Korra’s bedroom. She paused in the doorway when she spotted the Avatar standing in front of her laundry basket, tossing her suit and dress clothes into it. Korra was only dressed in a tank top and a pair of boxer shorts. Her hair was pulled down from her usual wolf tails.

Wow, Asami thought as her eyes followed every ridge and bumped of Korra’s muscles. She felt her cheeks heating up as Korra turned to look at her. Asami dropped her chin to her neck, and bent down to roll up the bottom of her pant legs so that they didn’t drag on the floor. Anything, so that she wouldn’t have to admit that she had been caught looking.
Normally, she would wear nightgowns to bed, but she started to bundle up the colder it became. Now she dressed in pants and a long sleeved shirt.

“Remember when you made that comment about being scared about stuff?” Korra climbed onto her bed and crossed her legs. Asami crossed the room and sat down across from her. She nodded while pulling her hair up to the top of her head. She pulled a hair tie off of her wrist before securing her hair into a bun. “To give you an honest answer, I’ve been having nightmares on and off for a while now.”

“What are they about?” Asami rubbed her hands together to warm them up a bit. A draft had suddenly entered the room. She stuck her hands into the sleeves of her long-sleeved shirt, her fingertips barely poking out of the elastic of where the shirt would fall on her wrists.

“Around the time I arrived, when the Equalist movement first started. I was captured and brought to Amon.” Korra’s voice cracked. Her hands grabbed at the comforter they were sitting on, bunching it up in her fists. “I thought I could take him, but I couldn’t. He…he almost took my bending away. That was the most scared I’ve ever been in my life.”

Asami placed a covered hand over her mouth. “Are you okay?” she asked quietly.

“I joined Tarrlok’s task force as a way to prove my worth to myself,” Korra continued as if she weren’t interrupted, “but since then, I get flashbacks sometimes.”

The raven-haired girl placed a hand on Korra’s knee and rubbed small circles on it. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

“No, I don’t think so.” Korra shook her head. She lifted her blue eyes to look at her. They seemed to glow a bit in the darkness. “I just wanted you to know.”

“Well, thanks for trusting me.”

Korra shrugged before turning away. Her eyebrows furrowed as she looked over at her curtain covered window. “Asami,” she said, moving quickly to her knees. Asami flinched before pulling her knees to her chest.

“Korra, when will you stop?”

“Chill, Tinkerbell. Look at this.” Korra crawled over to the window and grabbed the curtains before pulling them over to the side. She flicked the bedside lamp off and motioned for Asami to come closer. The engineer curled up into Korra’s side and rested her chin onto Korra’s shoulder.

“That’s really beautiful,” Asami whispered as she watched snow begin to fall. The lights from outside of the apartment caused the ground to glitter brightly in the darkness. She relaxed into the darker girl’s warmth and fought back a yawn. She was so mesmerized by the scene on the other side of the window that she didn’t even ask where her new name had come from. “I had a great time tonight. Thank you for forcing me to go.” Asami sat up and pressed a light kiss to Korra’s cheek. The Avatar smiled and shrugged in response.

“No need to thank me. Everyone deserves some fun once in a while.” Korra yawned. “Goodnight, Tink,” She closed the curtains before leaning back into the pillow. She quickly turned onto her side and closed her eyes.

“Night, Angel,” Asami muttered. She lightly stepped over Korra and moved off of the bed before making her way to the door.

“You can stay if you want,” Korra said through the darkness. “So you don’t have to go all the way back to your room. I know you were trying not to yawn before”

“Busted,” Asami joked. She climbed up onto the bed and crawled to the empty side. She turned onto her side and wrapped her arms around the end of the pillow that was behind her head. She took a deep breath and found the last few traces of Korra’s perfume enter her nose, lulling her to sleep.

“Asami, how did Lin know your dad?” Korra asked. Asami slowly opened her eyes as the words floated in the air. “When we first came up with our twenty questions game at the gym. That was when Lin was mad at me for always leaving doors unlocked. You said she knew your father.” Her voice was light and airy. “That’s my sixth question.”

“She was the one who arrested him,” Asami admitted. Korra muttered a response, but Asami didn’t hear it. The sleep she had been fighting off was taking over her. She melted into the bed, ready to slip into another world. She felt a shiver move down her spine as the wind picked up outside. Asami lifted her head off of the pillow and peered through the darkness at the curtains; they moved gently with each breeze. She looked closer and found a small crack in the windowsill.

Korra must like the bit of cool air, Asami thought as another shiver raced over her body. She turned on her side and found herself looking at Korra’s back. She could feel the heat radiating off of the darker girl’s skin as she slept peacefully. The raven-haired girl slowly moved her legs up so that she was in the fetal position. Once her feet were free of the sheets, she placed them lightly onto Korra’s back, relishing in her warmth.

A second later, Korra let out a loud scream as her back arched away from Asami. She sat up before turning and glaring at the wildly laughing girl. “Keep your cold feet away from my back,” she demanded.

“You’re really warm, though,” Asami said through her laughter. “That’s what you get for the ant-spider joke.” Korra huffed before turning onto her side facing the engineer.

“I’m keeping my eye on you,” Korra said, as her eyelids began to droop.

“Good luck doing that while you’re sleeping, Angel,” she answered. Korra muttered a quiet response before closing her eyes. She took in a deep breath, before exhaling slowly, letting her body relax into the bed. “What is Tinkerbell suppose to mean?”

Korra’s eyes snapped open before she sat up in shock. Asami looked up at her in confusion before sitting up as well. “She’s Peter Pan’s partner, and the star of her own set of movies,” she answered slowly. “You know; the Disney Fairies movies?”

“You watch Disney Fairy movies?” Asami asked with a laugh.

“Ikki likes them,” she said with a shrug. “She always asks me to watch them with her when I babysit. I’m sure Jinora likes them too, but she probably thinks she’s too old to admit it.” Korra rubbed her eyes before grabbing her cellphone off of the bedside table. “This is Tinkerbell. She’s a tinker fairy. She creates all sorts of gadgets and comes up with ideas to help make things for the other fairies.” Asami shielded her eyes as she glanced at the bright screen. “You’re like her; always creating things and working with your hands, and just making everything better for everyone else.”

“Oh, that’s so sweet,” Asami said before yawning. “Thank you.” She flopped back onto the bed. A few seconds later a smile started to creep onto her face as she moved back underneath the covers. She turned onto her side towards Korra, their knees brushing against each others through the thin barrier of sheets. The two quickly drifted off to sleep as the snow continued to fall outside.

Chapter Text

Korra groaned loudly into her science book. She closed sat up on the couch and looked over at Asami who was sitting at the other end of the couch, curled up into the side, furiously marking one of her books with a highlighter. Opal was sitting on the floor reading a text on air nomad culture, Kiyoko was curled up in a chair flipping rapidly through flash cards, while Kuvira was seated next to the coffee table grading some papers.

“Asami, may I borrow a highlighter?” Korra asked.

“I broke it,” she muttered. The Avatar raised an eyebrow as she watched the girl’s jaw clench. She was resting her right cheek on her right hand, her elbow propped up on the arm of the couch, while using her left hand to mark various passages in the textbook as well as a notebook sitting by her feet.

“Is this payback for me accidentally breaking your science calculator?”

“Yes,” Asami answered with a curt nod, her eyes still glued to her book. Opal instantly tossed her history text to the side, turning around to face the couch with a giant smile..

“Oh, is this your first fight as roommates?” she asked.

“We’re not fighting,” the Avatar muttered.

“Yes we are.” Korra flinched as she heard Asami closing her text book with a loud snap. She tossed it to the ground, not caring that it flopped open and some pages started to bend. “Korra, I let you borrow it because I thought you could be trusted to take extra special care of my things.”

“I’ll buy you a new one.”

Asami crossed her arms over her chest, pulling her lips into a straight line. “Do you have six hundred and seventy-five yuans?” she demanded.

Korra’s eyes slowly widened. She reached into her pocket for her wallet, feebly opening and closing every pocket and zipper. “S…s….six hundred…”

“And seventy-five yuans, yes.”

“Who needs that expensive of a calculator?”

“We do,” Kiyoko answered. “My parents set up a payment plan for me to pay them back for the calculator.”

Korra sighed hard before turning towards her roommate. She rubbed her right arm, looking over at her with a pained expression. “Asami, I’m sorry. I’m just really stressing out right now. When it comes to exams, I either handle them really well or I have a meltdown,” she explained with a shrug. “It’s kind of why Mako doesn’t allow Bolin and I to study together. I didn’t mean to put your calculator in the freezer when I was making myself a snack. I just wasn’t focusing.”

Asami visibly relaxed. She smiled gently before waving a hand in the air. “It’s okay. In the long run, it’s just a calculator.” She pushed up the sleeves of her sweatshirt to her elbows.

“Maybe you can make a new one for your senior project,” Korra commented. Her roommate rolled her eyes before throwing a couch pillow in her direction. “Your project is next month. When will I find out what it is? Every day, when you get back from work or school you just lock yourself in that room.”

“I am allowed to invite people to my presentation,” Asami explained. “If your school schedule doesn’t conflict, I’d like for you to come. You too Opal, and the rest of the group.”

“Republic doesn’t start school again until February,” Opal answered with a smile. “One whole month back home in Zaofu. I can’t wait!”

“Which also means fun and good times at the South Pole,” Korra cheered. She leaned over and lightly swatted Asami on her arm. “You definitely have to come this time. The Summer Solstice Festival will be held at the same time.”

“But the Winter Solstice is in a few days,” she answered. “Oh, because you’re from the southern hemisphere things are switched.”

“Please come, it’ll be a lot of fun, I promise.”

Asami bit her lower lip. “I don’t know, Korra,” she said slowly. She reached up and started to twist and turn the earring in her right earlobe. “I’m still trying to come up with a way to keep Future Industries open.”

“Varrick,” she immediately answered.

“What?”

“I’ve been thinking about your problem with your company, and I think this may be the answer. There is a well-known engineer who supplies boats, submarines, and other technology in the Southern Water Tribe.” Korra leaned back on the couch, placing her hands behind her head. “His name is Varrick and he is the head of Varrick Global Industries. Check it out.”

“Shouldn’t you all be studying?” Kuvira interrupted with a loud sigh. Kiyoko, Opal, and Asami all looked over at her in surprise; as if they forgot she was in the room. Korra lazily glanced over at her. “Especially you, Korra. You have an exam in less than four hours.”

The Avatar instantly sat up on the couch. “How do you know that?” she demanded.

“The last time you checked your phone for the time, you said ‘only three hours and fifty-five minutes until doomsday’” Kuvira answered without looking up from the papers in her hands.

“Thanks, mom,” she muttered.

“Welcome to my world,” Opal said with a snicker.

“Asami, my mom would love it if you came to visit, plus this may help keep your company afloat.” Korra moved to sit next to her roommate on the couch. She placed her head on the engineer’s shoulder, pouted, and slightly widened her blue eyes. Asami immediately turned when she saw the look. It was what Bolin called “A Blue Vortex of Guilt.” One look into her sad eyes and she would be able to get most people to do what she asked, even someone as stoic and in self-control like Mako.

“Let me just double check everything with work and school, and then I’ll give you a definite answer,” Asami sighed.

“Awesome! Christmas here and then the Summer Solstice Festival. This will be great.”

Kiyoko frowned when she noticed Asami slightly lower her head. Her green eyes seemed to turn a dull shade. She moved from the chair she was sitting in and took a seat on the floor next to the couch, gently rubbing the girl’s knee. “What’s wrong, Asami?” she asked quietly.

“Nothing, it’s just that Christmas was my parent’s favorite holiday,” she answered quietly. “They got married around this time.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” she insisted. Asami tried to smile but it ended up looking more like a grimace. “After my mother died, my dad didn’t really put in too much of an effort as it was. We were always busy around this time of year, trying to come up with a new invention to get out before the holidays for an additional push.”

Korra sat up straight and gripped Asami’s hands tightly in hers. “Then you have my Avatar guarantee that this year, Christmas will be great.” She slammed her hand on her thigh, as if acting like it was a stamp of approval. “When will you be heading back to Zaofu, Opal?”

“Depends on the work on my dad’s plate at RITA,” she answered with a shrug. “While home, my mom is going to be holding presentations and going through applications for our Metal Guard.”

“Are you nervous, Kuvira?” Asami asked lightly. She wasn’t too sure but it had seemed like Kuvira and Korra were starting to become friends. Well, friendlier to each other that is. Korra did initially have reservations with Asami accepting Kiyoko as a part of their group, but eventually gave her a chance. Although, Kuvira is a bit older than them and somewhat intimidating like Opal had initially warned, Asami did find herself being cordial towards her, especially with how much they worked on her Senior Project.

“I don’t get nervous,” Kuvira firmly answered.

“I don’t know, your knees were shaking pretty badly when we had that bowling match,” Korra taunted.

The metalbender continued to work on the papers in her hands, but she did raise an eyebrow signaling that she had heard the remark. “You only won because you tricked me into thinking Baatar had shown up.”

“Hey, it’s not my fault you’re so in love with your boyfriend,” Korra said with a smile.

“He’s not my…” Kuvira let out a deep sigh. “Forget it. It doesn’t matter. It was just as game and besides, I could easily beat you at everything else.”

Korra frowned. She was trying really hard to work up the bender but found her her attempts to be futile. It drove her crazy at how calm and reserved she was. “Oh, really?” Korra huffed. She tapped her foot on the ground in thought. A second later, she snapped her fingers. “I’m thinking of a number between one and ten.”

“Seven,” Kuvira instantly answered.

“I didn’t think of one yet!”

Kuvira finally looked up from the papers she was holding. She gave Korra an amused smirk. “If you had time, would the number have been seven?” she asked. In response, Korra glared before slumping down on the couch. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

“Well of course you’d win that, you attended one of the most prestigious schools in our city,” she mumbled, crossing her arms over her chest.

“Prestigious?” she repeated. “Nice word, choice.” Kuvira snickered, which caused Korra to exhale sharply through her nose in anger. She jumped to her feet, glaring down at the girl sitting on the floor. Kuvira looked up at her in amusement.

“We need to do something physical,” she declared. “First person to spin in a circle twenty times without falling over wins.”

Kuvira blinked in response. She looked over at Opal before smiling gently. Gathering up the piles of papers she had in stacks on the floor, she placed them onto the table before walking behind the couch. She stretched her arms across her chest before wiggling her legs, one at a time. Kuvira stared at Korra before holding her arms out in a giant L, bending her knees. She then pushed off with her right foot and began to spin rapidly. Kiyoko gasped in surprise as Opal nodded her head. Korra’s jaw dropped as Kuvira continued to spin. She backed away as the dancer’s long braid whipped around in a circle. She jumped on top of Asami on the couch and cowered in fear. Asami was too entranced by watching to push her off.

After a final spin, Kuvira came to a sudden stop, both of her feet out in second position. Her breathing pattern was steady as she picked up the papers and reclaimed her seat on the floor. “For the record, I’ve been dancing since I was eight.”

“Opal, why didn’t you tell me that?” Korra demanded.

“Because I wanted to see that look on your face,” she answered with a laugh. Kuvira snorted.

“Just you wait, I will beat you,” she declared.

“I highly doubt it,” Kuvira said as she gathered up her things. She turned to Asami and gave her a swift nod. “Thank you for your hospitality. Just let me know when you’d like to go over your presentation one more time. Although, I’m sure you’ll do excellent next month.” She faced Opal and jerked her head in the direction of the apartment door. The young girl quickly scurried around to gather up her things.

“Okay,” Korra shouted as she followed Kuvira to the door. “I’m thinking of another number between one and twenty.”

“Three.”

“Will you give me time to think?”

“Would it have been three?”

Korra stared at her. “Get out.” She grabbed the door handle and swung it open, pointing to the hallway. Kuvira laughed before stepping out of the way, allowing Opal to exit the apartment first. She gave the Avatar one last smirk before exiting the apartment. Korra slammed the door shut behind them. “I hate her.”

“I didn’t think you two would become friends so quickly,” Kiyoko laughed.

“Friends?” Korra’s eyes widened in disbelief. “Me and Kuvira? Ha! It’s bad enough that I have to deal with this one on a regular basis.” She lightly flicked Asami on the back of her head as she passed by the couch.

“The way you two argue reminds me of you and Mako,” Asami said teasingly. “Is there something you’d like to tell us?”

“Shut up and study, Asami,” Korra demanded, flipping open her textbook.

---

Rika’s right eye twitched as she tightened a screw into the metal frame of a chair. Her hands shook, making it hard to steady the screwdriver held tightly in her hands. After a few seconds, the screw fell out of the small hole and clattered to the floor. She dropped to her knees, scrambling to pick up the piece of metal, but it rolled past her fingers and fell in between two pieces of the wooden floor. She groaned loudly before getting back up on her feet.

She crossed the room to her desk, harshly grabbing the plastic bag filled with more screws. A shower of screws fell to the floor out of the hole in the package. Rika watched as the scattered, rolling around and falling underneath the floorboards. Slowly she dropped the bag, not caring where the rest of them landed. She launched herself onto her bed, covered her face with her pillow, and let out a giant scream. The screwdriver she was holding rolled off of the bed and onto the floor.

“Rika, honey,” her mother called gently from the doorway. She slowly stepped in to the room, her eyes scanned over the screws on the floor, the metal frame to a chair, and the general mess of clothing and books scattered everywhere. “Are you okay?”

“No,” she whimpered. Rika tore the pillow from her face, her eyes brimming with tears. “Everything is going wrong! Just everything.”

“I’m sure it’s not that bad.” Her mother crossed the room and sat next to her daughter on the bed. Rika instantly threw her arms around her neck and buried her face in her chest.

“Not that bad?” she repeated. “One of my best friends ditched me, my boyfriend breaks up with me, and now I can’t finish my project because I’m living in this hell hole!” she cried. “I want things to go back to the way they were.”

“Iroh broke up with you?”

Rika nodded. She looked up at her mother before breaking down in sobs. “He said he needed some space, and that I wasn’t the girl he fell for,” she explained. Her mother listened, running a hand through her daughter’s hair. “He said I could be mean for no reason.”

“Is that true?”

“No, I have reasons,” Rika answered with a pout. Her mother chuckled a bit before slowly shaking her head. “I just want to keep everything the same. I’m tired of things changing for the worse,” she admitted.

“Maybe you just don’t need to be so controlling. You won’t have good relationships with people if you have to tell people how to act and what to do.”

“But, what if they only wanted to be my friend under false pretenses?” her voice was suddenly soft and light, like a child’s. She leaned down and rested her head in her mother’s lap, relaxing in her embrace.

“Your friends stuck around when we hit hard times and lost a lot. Those are some friends to keep.”

They wouldn’t understand if I told them. “Thanks, mom.”

“You’re welcome.” Her mother looked at the metal frame to the chair in the middle of the room. “How is your project coming?”

Rika slowly opened her eyes, looking at the object in the middle of the room and then to the pile of screws that littered the floor. “Um, could you run to the store and buy me some more screws? I kind of had an accident,” she said with a soft smile.

“No problem, honey,” Her mother answered with a laugh. She gently pushed Rika up into a sitting position before kissing her on the forehead. “I’m so proud of you. There are so many good things to look forward to: your presentation and your graduation at the end of the year where you’ll give the valedictorian speech. If you stop dwelling on the negative you’ll see that there’s always good things down the road.”

“You’re right.” Rika nodded. She bent down and picked up the screwdriver from the floor. “I should get back to my project. Maybe I can work on the blue prints while you are at the store.”

“Keep up the good work.”

Rika smiled and gave her mom a kiss on the cheek. Once her mother closed the door, she tightened her grip on the screwdriver, drew her arm back, and threw it across the room. She watched with a frown as it struck a picture frame, knocking it to the floor. The glass instantly shattered and spilled on the floor. She walked over and picked up the frame. Inside was a picture of Rika, Manami, and Kiyoko. Their arms were wrapped around each other and they were smiling brightly at the camera, standing in front of the Senior Parking Lot sign.

She sighed heavily before plucking the picture out of the frame. She pried the screwdriver out of the wall before sticking it into Kiyoko’s face in the picture, poking a hole. The girl then ripped the picture apart, leaving only Manami and herself intact.

Rika pulled out her cellphone and brought up the instagram app. She typed in Kiyoko’s username and waited for the screen to load. She frowned at the first picture that came up. It was a photo of Korra sitting on the floor with a bowl of grapes in her lap. Her cheeks were puffed up, and she was moving a piece of fruit to her mouth. Opal was seated opposite of her, holding a smaller bowl of grapes, her cheeks puffed up as well but not as much as Korra’s. Asami was sitting on the couch, painting her toe nails with one hand, the other hand holding a science text. Kiyoko was in the foreground of the picture, smiling at the camera and giving the peace sign. If this is what we call studying, then I’m sure to fail. LOL; the caption read.

She gripped the phone tightly in her hand, her thumb pressing into the screen. The pixels underneath her thumb turned the screen a green and then purple. She let out a loud growl before walking over to her desk. She plopped down in the chair and pulled out one of the drawers. A math compass was nestled next to a stack of lined paper, a small box of paper clips, and a calculator. She lifted the compass out of the drawer, and ran her hand over the cold surface. As she pressed the sharp end to her arm, a tear slid down her cheek.

---

“Asami!” Korra shouted as she ran out of the science building on Republic’s campus. The art model looked up from the book she was reading, sitting next to Naga underneath a tree. The polar bear dog’s ears perked up at the sudden shout. “I did well, I know it!”

“What happened?” Asami closed the book she was reading and got to her feet. She let out a cry of surprise as Korra wrapped her arms around her and spun her around in a circle.

“Once the professor passed out the exam, I looked at every question and marked the ones I knew the answer to.” Korra placed her hands on Asami’s shoulders and shook her. “A lot of them were marked.”

“That’s great!”

“I wouldn’t feel this good right now without your help.” Korra gave her another tightly hug. “You’re the best!” she said into her ear. Asami smiled, returning the hug, nowhere near as hard or as tight as the Avatar’s.

“I’m nothing special,” she said with a shrug once they pulled away. “That was all you.”

“So, let’s go grab something to eat to celebrate.” The Avatar’s blue eyes shined with happiness. “Or how about a movie? I need to relax a bit after that.”

“Sure, let’s go.”

“You didn’t have to wait for me.” Korra frowned as if she just realized that they were outside. “It could have taken a while, besides its December. You could catch a cold.” She instantly slipped off her jacket and handed it to her roommate. Asami wanted to decline to offer, but even she had to admit she was cold. She had only been sitting outside for ten minutes after Korra had taken her exam before snuggling up into Naga’s side.

“I have a book.” Asami smiled graciously as she slipped on the blue jacket. “I’ve been researching Varrick and his company, so I was preoccupied.” She bent down and rubbed the top of Naga’s head. “Plus I had Naga with me. She’s good company.”

“I can see that,” Korra commented and reached up towards Asami’s hair .A second later, she pulled back and held a small bundle of fur in her palm. Asami felt her cheeks redden before smiling softly.

“Korra, we need to talk,” Tenzin said, walking over towards the two of them. His long red cape billowed in behind him.

“No.” She shook her head. “Whatever it is, I don’t want to hear it. Nothing can ruin my mood right now. I know I did really well on science exam.”

“Republic is closing early for the holidays,” he explained. “All finals are cancelled and whatever mark you have at the time will be your final grade.”

“…I can live with that,” Korra said. Asami looked at her with a raised eyebrow. “The only thing I’m worried about is my science grade. I’ve been teetering in a C+ and a B-. Whatever comes out of it, I can handle it.”

“That’s not it, Korra.” Korra’s smile quickly faded when she finally took the time to notice the unpleasant look set upon his features. “While you were taking your exams, Tahno and a few other members of the Wolf Bats probending team where at the city’s probending arena practicing for the upcoming charity tournament. Amon attacked them. Lin was able to subdue the chi blockers, but he took away their bending.” Korra looked over at Asami who looked just as troubled. “Republic City is at War,” Tenzin declared.

“And, there it goes,” she muttered.

Chapter Text

Through her haze, Asami felt her body being jostled, back and forth. She muttered under her breath, reaching her arm out from underneath her covers, swatting at the air. The shaking only intensified. A second later, she felt her bed jumping around, bouncing her up and down. “Whazzhappanin?” she mumbled. The bouncing concluded with one last jumped. Asami sat up, rubbing her eyes. “Is there an earthquake?” She forced her eyelids open, wincing at the light shining through her bedroom window. It was then she noticed Korra seated on her bed, crossed legged, watching her with an amused smile. “What? What it is?” she asked.

“It’s Christmas, that’s what it is,” Korra announced.

“That seems kind of trivial doesn’t it?” Asami asked, flopping back onto her pillow. She placed her hands onto her stomach as she stared up at the ceiling.. “With everything that’s happened in the last few days, it just seems weird to celebrate something so cheerful.”

“It beats spending it in jail,” she pointed out. Korra instantly softened. “I know…that it seems out of place, what with Tenzin and his family in hiding, Lin losing her bending, and the city under siege…”

In the few days between the Republic City being declared at War, and Christmas Day, the Equalists had upper their attack on the city. While Korra had gone to try and talk to Tarrlok out of his methods in keeping the city safe, Korra ended kidnapped while Mako, Bolin, and Asami were arrested under false accusations. Lin was able to rescue them from their imprisonment while Korra broke free of the container Tarrlok had locked her in. While there was no word on where he had gone to, she had stayed up most of the night since then, trying to track him down. Lin had informed her that Tenzin's family went into hiding from the recent attacks on the councilman members of the city. The Avatar didn't hear of her encounter with Amon until a few days ago after Mako brought up the news.

“To name a few,” the engineer scoffed.

“But, I feel like we all could use a little bit of hope.” Korra shrugged, dragging her finger across the sewing pattern on the comforter. “That’s what this holiday is all about.” She then reached out and grabbed Asami by the wrist, pulling her up off of the bed to face her. “Plus, I gave you my Avatar promise that you would have a fantastic Christmas.”

“Ok,” Asami sighed. Korra excitedly did a backward somersault off of the end of the bed. Naga slowly walked into the room, sniffing the ground. She marched herself over to a pair of Asami’s work shoes sitting by her bathroom door. “No, Naga, don’t!” she ordered.

“Hey, “Korra shouted! She put two fingers to her lips and whistled loudly. Naga’s ears perked up when she heard the sound. Her owner then slapped her thigh twice. The polar-bear dog’s ears instantly folded back. She whimpered lightly before lowering her head, walking slowly over to the darker girl. “You know what I told you. You listen to two people now. Understand?”

Naga whimpered before sticking her nose into Korra’s hand. She then sniffed it hard before moving over to her pocket. She barked happily, her tail wagging against the floor. “No, girl, because you didn’t listen, you get your present later.” The Avatar snapped her fingers and pointed out of the room. The polar-bear dog gave her hand a soft lick before making her way back out of the room. “Now don’t bother us, Asami and I have a lot of work to do.”

“We do?” Asami asked. She slipped out of the bed, shivering at the cool temperature in the room. “What are we doing?”

“We are going to build a fort in the living room,” Korra announced, her chest puffing out with pride. The raven-haired girl regarded her with a confused look. She blinked slowly, tilting her head to the side in thought.

“What are we going to make it out of?” she finally asked.

“Pillows, blankets, chairs, the couch, whatever we can find.” The Avatar tugged at the sheets on Asami’s bed before they finally pulled out from being tucked underneath the mattress. “Come on, you’ve made one before right?” she grabbed the pillows from the bed, tucking them under her arm. Turning, she paused when Asami glanced back at her, eyebrows furrowed. “Oh my spirits,” she said slowly.

“But it’s so cold out there,” the engineer almost whined. She bounced on the balls of her sock covered feet, rubbing her arms. Dressed in a long sleeved shirt and pajama pants, she scurried over to the thermostat next to her bedroom door, peering at the reading on the screen.

“Which is why we’ll be warmer in the fort,” Korra concluded. “Come on, it’ll be fun. With you being an engineer this will be the best fort ever!” she kicked Asami’s backside. “Let’s go,” she ordered behind the pile of bedding in her arms. Asami shrugged before stepping out of the room, directing Korra into the living room with the sound of her voice.

In the next forty-five minutes, Asami and Korra worked together to turn the living room into a giant fort. With Korra’s strength, and Asami’s critical eye for detail, they were able to balance a few chairs along the frame of the couch to cause for the fort to have a higher ceiling. Blankets of various colors and length, bed sheets, and a few towels made up the walls of the structure, and pillows lined the floor to create a seating area.

Korra had specifically made sure that the fort included the coffee table and the television inside so that they would have a place to put their items and be entertained at the same time. Asami was able to string up old Christmas lights on the inside of the fort to give them some proper lighting. The construction wouldn’t have taken them as long if she didn’t initiate a pillow fight, although Korra did start it by making comments about Asami delegating the work and not joining on the construction with her “noodle arms”. Eventually the Avatar admitted defeat after the engineer was able to pin her down to the ground in an ankle lock.

“Korra, may I ask you something?” Asami asked, taking a sip of her hot chocolate. The coffee table was littered with bowls filled with different candies, cookies, and popcorn. Korra had stayed up late into the night, preparing the food while Asami crashed early from being consumed by Future Industries work.

“Is this one of your official questions?” she asked around a mouthful of cookies. The engineer smiled softly, reaching out and wiping a smear of chocolate off of the Avatar’s chin before shaking her head. “Shoot.”

“Are you okay?” she wondered. “After being kidnapped I mean?”

The darker girl’s chewing slowed as silence filled the fort. Asami slumped a little low against the base of the couch. She stared at the intricate snowflake design on her mug, waiting for a response. Finally, Korra swallowed the lump of food before washing it down with her own mug of hot chocolate. “I guess,” she shrugged. “I was worried, wondering what was happening to you all in jail but, I was also scared.” Korra peered down at the chocolatey swirls in her mug. “I had faced Amon once before, and that led to nightmares. Tarrlok was planning on making it so that I disappeared. I don’t know why I trusted him.”

“You were just doing what you thought was right,” Asami said, scooting a bit closer to Korra’s side. She relaxed as she felt warmth radiating off of the Avatar’s body, instantly warming her. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“They shouldn’t be using their powers to eliminate powers,” Korra continued, her blue eyes fixed on her mug. “It makes no sense. I’m the Avatar, and I was used like a pawn in their own game. I understand equality but they’re using fear to get their way. I will stop Amon from terrorizing the city.” Her grip tightened on the handle. Asami jumped when she heard the ceramic cracking underneath the tight grip.

“I know,” the engineer said. She slowly reached out, uncurling Korra’s hands from around the mug. “I believe you will.”

“Enough of this sad talk.” Korra’s eyes brightened once more. “This is supposed to be a special Christmas for you. We need music.” With that she crawled out of the small opening to the fort and made her way towards her bedroom. Asami laid down on the pillow covered floor, placing her hands underneath the base of her head, staring up at the Christmas lights. She reached up and turned the switch on the cord, hanging by her left ear. The lights started to gently brighten and face, causing the fort to be filled with multiple colors.

“What’s this song?” Asami asked as Korra re-entered the fort, her laptop in her hands. The Avatar moved the bowls around on the coffee table to make room for her laptop. Turning up the volume, she hummed softly along with the music before laying down next to the engineer.

“It’s one of my favorites,” Korra said with a smile. “It’s ‘Another Year Has Gone By’ by Celine Dion.”

Asami couldn’t help but let out a bark of laughter. The darker girl turned towards her with a raised eyebrow. “You never struck me as someone who’d listen to female singers,” she said sheepishly. Her shoulder shook as she forced herself to keep her laughter inside her chest. “Your music playlist is filled with hardcore rock.”

Korra turned onto her side, resting her head on her left bicep. She looked down at one of the pillows beneath her arm, tracing the fringe with a finger. “Well, there’s a lot of stuff I don’t tell people,” she muttered.

“Why not?”

She sighed hard, before shrugging. “It’s kind of embarrassing. People wouldn’t take me seriously if I told them I like girl things.” Asami turned onto her side, facing the Avatar, fluffing up the pillow underneath her head. Her eyes narrowed a bit in confusion. “Things like getting dressed up or getting my nails done,” she explained.

“I’ve never seen you with your nails painted.”

“That’s because I’m always wearing shoes,” Korra admitted, curling her feet up underneath her. A light blush crept across her cheeks. “Oh wait, this is the best part. Just listen to the harmony.” She sat up and increased the volume as the song reached the chorus.

Another year has gone by
And I'm still the one by your side
After everything that's gone by
There's still no one saying goodbye
Though another year has gone by

“That’s a really nice song,” Asami commented. “It has a good message to it.” She turned and flopped onto her stomach, wrapping her arms around the pillow in front of her. Korra did the same, resting her chin on the pillow.

“You know, I pegged you wrong when we first met,” Korra said quietly. “I apologize for trying to push you away. It’s good to have a close friend that’s a girl. Some of these things, the guys just wouldn’t understand.” She snickered. “Although, Bolin could be an exception.”

Asami giggled. “I think we fit because we’re both something each of us haven’t had growing up,” she answered. Turning her head, so that her right ear rested on the pillow, she scanned the side of the Avatar’s face, noting the confused look etched upon her features. “A girl friend,” she added.

“That’s true.” Korra nodded. “I mean, I love hanging out with the guys, and I love the air kids, but there are things I can only talk to you about.”

“I know we’ve only been friends for a few months, but I’m glad you gave this a chance.”

Korra rested her left ear on the pillow, turning to face Asami. She smiled, her blue eyes flowing brightly in the dimly lit fort. “Me too,” she said sincerely. The engineer smiled happily before burying her face into the pillow. As the music slowed to a stop, she sat up, brushing her hair out of her face. “May I pick the next song?”

“Go ahead, it’s your day.”

“It’s not a Christmas song, but I listen to it every year.” Asami said quietly. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and pressed a few buttons. As the music started to play she drained the rest of her hot chocolate, wincing as the cold liquid slid down her throat, before drying out the bottom with a napkin and placing her phone inside. “More Than Words” by Extreme amplified in the fort from the makeshift stereo.

Asami laid back down on the ground, singing softly along to the music. It was the first time Korra had listened to the song, but she found herself lightly singing to the words as well. Sure, she stumbled over the lyrics a few times, but used Asami as her guide. Their two voices swirled and matched, creating a raspy sound the filled each corner of the fort.

Now that I've tried to talk to you and make you understand
All you have to do is close your eyes
And just reach out your hands and touch me
Hold me close don't ever let me go
More than words is all I ever needed you to show
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me
Cause I'd already know

“This is a really nice song,” Korra commented. “How did you find it?”

“It was played a lot in my house around this time of year,” Asami muttered. Her eyes were downcast, a frown set upon her features. “My dad played it when he proposed to my mother, showing her that he would use his actions to prove he loved her and not just his words,” she said in a monotone.

“That’s so sweet. Is it your parent’s song?” Korra asked. She frowned when she heard a soft sniffle from her right. She turned and noticed Asami’s face buried in her pillow, her arms tightly wrapped around it. “Did I say something wrong?”

Asami shook her head, breaking into loud sobs. Korra tentatively reached out, rubbing the back of the engineer’s crown with her hand. The Avatar bit her bottom lip, frowning at her lack of empathy. “What do you want me to do? I’m not good at this stuff,” she admitted. “Do you need a hug?” she asked.

The engineer sniffed before pulling her head out of the pillow. “Yes, please,” she whimpered. Korra scooted over; lying on her side, throwing her right arm across Asami’s back, pulling her close. Asami continued to lie on her stomach but slightly turned her head so that the top was tucked a bit underneath the Avatar’s chin. She deeply inhaled Korra’s scent, relaxing underneath the light circles that were being rubbed on her back.

The two sat in silence, letting the soft music fill the fort around them. Asami’s sobs gradually faded to sniffles. She snuggled a bit deeper into Korra’s embrace. “I’m sorry; I didn’t think the song would affect me that much. I think it all just hit me at once.”

“There’s no reason to apologize,” Korra answered softly. Asami squirmed as her breath tickled her ear. Her body quickly went from warm to overheated. She felt her cheeks and the tips of her ears beginning to burn. Her pulse began to pick up a bit, roaring so loudly in her ears that she was sure the Avatar could hear it as well.

Asami frowned, pulling herself away from their embrace, turning to look at Korra’s laptop that was emitting a loud ringing.

“Mako is calling,” she announced. Korra sat up, stretched her arms above her head, before pressing the ACCEPT button.

“Hey guys,” Mako greeted as soon as the video call connected. Bolin was sitting next to him with Pabu nestled in his lap. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry, Merry,” Korra answered. Asami ducked away, wiping the tears off of her cheeks. She glanced at her hands to see if any of her makeup smudged before moving next to Korra in the camera’s view.

“Why is it so dark?” Bolin asked. He leaned in close to the camera, glancing at the picture. Korra and Asami chuckled as his green eye filled the screen.

“We made a fort,” Korra announced.

“Lucky!” he pouted. “Anyway, we’re video calling like you asked Korra.”

“What’s he talking about?” Asami wondered. Korra gave her thumbs up before crawling out of the fort once more. The engineer watched with a raised eyebrow before turning her attention back to the computer screen. Mako grabbed Bolin by the collar, pulling him back.

‘Well, our tradition for Christmas is to give a gift to each other. Kind of like Secret Santa, but after drawing the same names two years in a row, we just decided to stick with the same names,” Mako explained. “I got Korra, she got Bolin, and Bolin got me.”

“Since I’m normally in the South at this time of year, we usually open our gifts over video chat,” Korra added as she made her way back into the fort. She was pushing a giant box in front of her. It was wrapped in shiny red paper and white ribbon.

“Oh that’s nice,” Asami said politely.

“But this year, things were different since you were added to the group,” Bolin announced.

“We all agreed that you deserved to have the best Christmas so, we all got you something for Christmas.” Korra grabbed the wrapped box and held it out towards the engineer. Asami gasped, taking the box from the Avatar’s hands. She peered at the gift wrap, entranced by the twinkling lights reflected off of the shiny paper.

“Merry Christmas, Asami,” the three recited.

“Oh, thanks you guys,” Asami squeaked. Korra stuck her arm out in the engineer’s face. Asami dabbed the corners of her eyes with the darker girl’s sleeve as tears threatened to fall once more. She tearfully smiled over at the Avatar and nodded a thank you before unwrapping the gift.

She was instantly hit with a wave of the smell of cinnamon. She pulled the top of the box open and gasped when she looked at the contents inside. A small basket was filled with bath bombs, exfoliating soaps, scented candles, and monogram wash clothes. A nail kit was included, which also had a pumice stone and red nail polish that changed color in the sun. A red and black journal was nestled next to the basket, with a quill pen and a small bottle of ink. Finally, there is a small book filled with comics about science and engineering.

“Do you like it?” Bolin asked quietly.

“I love it,” Asami whispered. She carefully pulled every item out of the box, carefully inspecting each one. Korra watched happily, her elbows resting on her knees, holding her face in her hands.

“We were originally going to get you some makeup but then we thought you probably have most of it,” he said.

“We were also going to get you some engineering textbooks, but you probably have them all as it is,” Mako added.

“You’re right on both counts, but I love these.” She ran her hands over the smooth cover of the journal before clutching it tightly to her chest. “I will use all of them, I promise.” Asami got to her knees and threw her arms around Korra’s neck, squeezing tightly. “Thank you, so much.”

“You’re welcome,” Korra warmly answered. “It’s too bad Kiyoko and Opal couldn’t be here,” she added once they pulled away. Asami went back to admiring her gifts. Bolin physically deflated when he heard his girlfriend’s name. He turned to his right, gasping loudly and pointing.

“It’s understandable that Opal’s family went back to Zaofu early. Plus, Kiyoko’s family evacuated the day President Raiko declared the city to be at war. It’s a mad house out there. Lin is working tirelessly trying to find Amon with city’s Metal Bending Police Force,” Mako pointed out.

“Why would she work with them?” Korra asked.

Mako let out a deep sigh, closing his eyes and shaking his head. Bolin slapped him on the arm, continuing to point off screen. The firebender brushed him off. “Lin is the Chief of Republic City Police,” he admitted.

“I knew it!” Korra snapped her fingers. “I knew she was out to get me. I mean, why would a campus cop worry so much about a few busted buildings?”

“She’s going to need help,” he added. “Amon needs to be stopped and fast.”

“Guys, look outside,” Bolin shouted.

Korra instantly moved to crawl out of the fort. Asami gently placed the gifts, that she put in her lap, down on to the floor before following her. The Avatar bent down, holding out of hand, and pulled the raven-haired girl to her feet before the two rushed over to the closest window. Korra flung the curtains open.

Numerous airships hovered over the city, filling the sky. A loud humming sound emitted over top the Christmas music that was playing in the apartment. Naga let out a loud whine at the noise, scurrying over to Korra’s side, burying her face in her leg. “Oh no,” Korra muttered. “Well, how are we going to stop that?”

“You fight fire with fire,” Mako suggested. “If he has airships, then we need airships.”

“Great, where are we going to get a fleet of airships?” Bolin asked. Mako tapped his chin in thought. Korra banged her fist against the window, before leaning forward and pressing her forehead against the cool glace.

Asami tapped her fingertips together, stepping away from the window. She tightly closed her eyes, before announcing quietly: “…I know where we can get some airships.” Korra quickly turned towards, her blue eyes lit up with hope. “Iroh is a general in the United Forces. At this point, he owes me a favor.”

“Are you sure?”

“No, but what other choice do we have?”

Chapter Text

Korra sighed hard, her arms were crossed, and she tapped her right foot impatiently as Asami spoke with the gentleman behind the desk. The two were at Republic City’s PTSD & Rehabilitation House, trying to get permission to see Iroh, and yet every idea they came up with has come to a dead end, including Korra pretending to be married to him and pregnant with his child by stuffing a large watermelon underneath her shirt, which she snatched from a fruit stand outside of the building. While she was stumped as to why someone was selling fruit, that was out of season, in the middle of winter, she didn’t dwell too much on it. The ruse was quickly discovered as the fruit ended up being very rotten, juice dripped down her tight abdomen, and the rancid smell wafted around the room.

Asami had received an email from Iroh after their altercation in the parking lot. He had checked himself into the rehabilitation center because of its reputation of having a good program. While he didn’t necessarily need to move into the center, Iroh had thought his recovery would have been more beneficial if he were to give up ‘outside influences’. While he didn’t name it specifically, Asami had assumed he meant Rika but didn’t press the topic. In fact, she never responded to the email, she just skimmed it before sending it to the Trash.

“Sir, it is very important that we see Iroh,” Asami said with a gentle smile.

“As I told you before, you are not on the list,” he answered gruffly.

The engineer glanced over her shoulder at Korra, slightly widening her eyes. The Avatar shrugged her shoulders and made a shooing motion with her hand, silently urging the girl to continue. Asami cleared her throat before facing the gentleman once more, biting her bottom lip. “But, sir, the city is at war and we kind of need his assistance.”

“The city could be ripped apart by earthquakes for all I care,” he said with bite. “I’m just doing my job.”

“Do it,” Korra hissed. Asami held up a finger, before looking over at the Avatar. Korra gave her a firm look before rolling her eyes. “Do it,” she stressed

“Do what?” Asami mouthed back.

The darker girl rolled her eyes before reaching up and brushing one of her long wolftails away from her face with the back of her hand. She then proceeded to blink rapidly. Asami’s eyebrows rose before she frowned at the Avatar. Taking a deep breath, she faced the man with a dazzling smile, and proceeded to roll her neck, flipping her dark hair in giant arc before coyly brushing a strand away from her cheek with her neck.

Normally, Asami’s hair flip was able to catch anyone’s attention. It helped get her out of numerous speeding tickets as well as being let off with a warning on any overdue library books at school. While it was most effective of young men around her age, she tried not to use it too often, unless it was needed in special circumstances. “I said, no,” the man answered.

Korra pushed Asami to the side, quickly grabbing her by the elbow so as she wouldn’t fall, but all the while glaring daggers at the man behind the desk. “Listen, I’m the Avatar, and we need to see him,” she roared.

“I don’t care who you are,” he said. The man picked up the paper on the desk, holding it tightly in his right hand, before poking at it with the index finger on his left hand. Korra’s right eye twitched with every strike to the paper. “Unless you are family or on his approved list, I can not let you come and in and change up his daily routine.” With that, the man smacked the paper back onto the desk before crossing his arms.

“Okay, you leave me no choice.” With that, Korra lifted two fingers and pressed them against her lips. Asami quickly covered her ears and took a few steps to the right, tensing up. The Avatar took a deep breath, before blowing hard against her fingers, causing a shrill whistle to fill the lobby. The gentleman watched her with an unimpressed expression, blinking slowly, and only moving to reach up and wiped a glob of Korra’s spit off of his cheek.

“If you are finished…” he muttered.

The front doors burst open as Naga ran through, growling loudly, her jaw snapping. Korra grabbed the man by the collar, pulling him close to her face. Naga walked up to her owner and brushed her head against her side before narrowing her black eyes in the man’s direction. Beads of sweat erupted on his forehead, trickling down his face and onto his collar.

“You were saying?” she asked, with an over-the-top smile.

“Sixth floor, second door on your right.”

“Thank you. Have a nice day.” Korra released her grip on his shirt, causing him to fall forward and smack his chin onto the desk. She ordered for Naga to stay put, who wagged her tail happily in response before leering over at the man, and then followed Asami up the stairs.

“I cannot believe you made me flirt with him,” Asami hissed.

“Oh, you’re just mad that your powers of evil didn’t work, for once,” Korra sneered. “This is why you should perfect the puppy dog pout. Works with anyone.” She half-smiled. The engineer rolled her eyes, remembering how the Avatar was able to get her to let her guard down and actually consider a vacation, albeit a small one, to travel to the South for the Summer Solstice Festival even though she’d still be working in a way; to try and negotiate a business deal with Varrick of Varrick Global Industries.

About halfway up their trip of six flights of stairs, Korra was gasping for air, and practically crawling on her hands and knees. “How…(pant)...are you…(pant)...still…(pant)...running?” she huffed.

“When I was younger and my dad took me to work, I used to run the stairs since I would be away from a gym for most of the day,” Asami answered with a smile. She reached up and wiped at her forehead. “Come on, slowpoke,” she taunted.

Korra growled in response, before pushing herself up. In a matter of seconds they two raced each other up the final three flights of stairs. The Avatar cheered weekly before collapsing to the ground at the landing as Asami came up right behind. “You…(pant)... go…(pant) ahead…I…will…(pant)...wait here…and…die!” she wheezed.

“When we start sparring together, remind me to make you run stairs.” Asami chuckled as she heard Korra’s loud groan while making her way over to Iroh’s residency door. She paused outside of it, taking note of the empty white entrance. All of the other doors on the floor had a few handwritten notes, pictures, or cards taped to the front. She shook her head, before knocking twice on the door. Without listening for a response, she barged right in.

“Iroh, I need your….help…” she trailed off. Iroh quickly ripped the white towel from his head and glanced over at her, drips of water sliding down his face. Clad in a white towel across his lower body, he fully turned to face her, his ripped abdomen and bulging muscles glittering from his recent shower underneath the lighting.

“Are you alright?” he asked, tossing the towel from his hands onto his bed. “Is everything okay?”

“N-no,” Asami answered quietly. She shook her head rapidly, hoping that her cheeks weren’t turning as red as her clothing, before shifting her gaze up at him. “We need your help. Amon and the Equalists are taking over the city. You’re the only one I know who has access to airships.”

“I’m way ahead of you.” Iroh held out his hand. She swallowed around the lump that rose in her chest before taking his hand. Silently cursing herself for her shaking hands, she followed him over to her closet. Keeping her eyes straight ahead, so as to not be distracted by his chiseled upper body, she looked on in fascination as he retrieved a small red and white walkie-talkie from a false panel in the wall. “We were supposed to have all of our items confiscated but I hid this on purpose. Just in case” He waved the walkie-talkie before tossing it over to her. Asami effortlessly caught it in the palm of her hand. “I already have a fleet arriving in the bay. They were to come by and pick me up from here, but it looks like I’ll have a personal escort.”

“Iroh-”

“I was talking about the Avatar.” Asami couldn’t help but deflate as he corrected her. “If anyone can get things done, it would be her.” Iroh stood up straight, his shoulders square, and a look of determination set upon his features. “It would be my honor to fight alongside her in battle. My grandfather trusted the Avatar, so I should too.” He softened and smiled. “And you, of course.”

Asami looked him over twice, distracted by his physique the first time, to take note of his build. He had bags underneath his eyes, and yet they looked more bright and alert than she had seen in years. The last time was right before he had left to join the United Forces, back when they were happy, back before he saw the horrors of war.

It was then she remembered why she had fallen for him in the first place. It wasn’t about his looks, but how he made her feel. After her mother died, she felt like an empty shell, at times looking for validation from her father who could hardly cast a glance in her direction. With him around, she felt like she belonged somewhere.

Now, when she looked into his eyes once more, Asami didn’t find herself floored. Butterflies weren’t playing tag in her stomach, her pulse was steady and calm. She saw a friend, something she was desperately looking for before meeting the Krew, but didn’t realize she had always had. She had ‘fallen in love’ with him because he cared.

“You should get dressed first,” Asami answered.

“Asami,” Iroh called out as she turned to leave. He licked his lips and let out a slow breath. “I really am sorry…about everything. I know I can’t change things, but I just want you to know, it was the biggest mistake of my life, and I will work hard in the future, to get you to see me how I once was.”

“I accept your apology.” She raised her chin before turning on her heel and exiting the room. Korra looked up from her seat on the ground as the engineer walked towards her. Asami held out her hand, helping the Avatar to her feet. “He’s coming with us.”

“Are you okay?” Korra asked, placing a hand on the raven-haired girl’s shoulder. “He didn’t try anything?”

“He only tried to make amends and I accepted it. I can’t keep dwelling in the past and the pain he caused me. It’s time to move forward.”

“Avatar Korra,” Iroh called out as he walked up to them, dressed in his General attire. Asami would have asked how he was able to keep his uniform, but then remembered he had successfully hidden his walkie-talkie from the physicians at the rehab center. “I have been in contact with Commander Bumi. He is on his way with a backup fleet.”

“Perfect. I’ve heard some of his stories. If we ever need a miracle, he’ll be it.” Korra nodded. Iroh reached out his right hand, before bowing low. Korra glanced at this open palm, and then over at Asami. The engineer half-smiled and blinked slowly, her green eyes filled with softness. The Avatar half-smiled in response before tightly gripping his hand and pumping it twice. She then clapped him on the arm. “You’re okay.”

“Coming from you, after what I’ve done, that’s probably the best thing I’ve ever heard. I’m honored.” Asami began running down the flight of stairs with Iroh right behind her. Korra groaned and rolled her eyes as they disappeared around the corner. She waved her arms in the air, creating a small vortex of air before forming it into a sphere. The Avatar jumped onto the air scooter and rode it all of the way down the stairs, sticking her tongue out as she passed Asami and Iroh on the way down.

“Okay, let’s go,” Korra shouted as the three ran outside into the winter air. Mako shifted over in the back seat as she jumped into the Sato Mobile. Iroh took the empty space in the back as Asami plopped herself down in the driver’s seat.

Naga ran over to the car before skidding to a stop. Iroh leaned out of the way as the polar-bear dog stretched into the car and licked Korra alongside of her face. The Avatar nuzzled the animal’s neck before placing a light kiss on the top of her head. “Naga, you should stay here. It’s too dangerous.”

“You too, Pabu,” Bolin said, unzipping his jacket. The fire ferret poked his head up and instantly shivered in the cool air. He nipped the earthbender on the tip of his nose before jumping out of the satomobile and climbing up on the polar-bear dog’s back. “Be safe.”

A dark black truck zipped down the road, sending a wave of slush and ice towards the car. Iroh stood up in his seat and bent a wall of flame, quickly evaporating the wintery mix before it hit the car. “They’re Equalists!” Mako announced.

“Follow them!” Korra ordered. She quickly reached up and pulled Iroh back into his seat as Asami sped off after them. She leaned over and popped open the glove box, keeping her eyes on the road. A pair of goggles fell out into Bolin’s lap. She snatched them up before slipping them over her eyes, using her knees to keep the steering wheel as center as possible.

“Look out, Equalists!” Bolin shouted. “Team Avatar is coming to equalize you.” Two motorcycles rode up alongside of the satomobile. Mako flicked his wrist and sent a burst of flame at the back tire to the motorcycle on his right. The Equalist riding the vehicle let out a loud scream as his motorcycle veered to the right, rolling down a flight of stairs and crashing into a wall outside of a below ground café.

The black van tore through an intersection as the last Equalist on the motorcycle japed an electric baton into the car towards Asami’s head. She lurched to the right, covering her left hand with her ear, as Bolin punched a fist in the air. The ground underneath the motorcycle popped up, sending it airborne. Korra waved her arms in the air and caught the bike in midair, keeping it suspended high above the ground.

“The light is about to change,” Mako shouted as he pointed straight ahead. The engineer sat up straight, eyeing the black van and the distance between them and the satomobile. Glancing down at the speedometer, she applied more pressure to the accelerator. Korra looked ahead, slightly dropping her arms. The motorcycle landed on the ground with a low thud before gaining on them.

“I wonder if I can make this light,” Asami pondered as the traffic light turned yellow.

“I don’t think you can.” Korra shook her head. The light had turned red, while on the opposite side of the road, the traffic signal turned green, prompting a large delivery truck to move through the intersection.

“I think I can.” With that, she pressed her foot firmly onto the accelerator, propelling the car forward. All of the occupants in the car shouted in fear, cowering with their hands over their faces as they drove through an intersection, narrowly avoiding being t-boned by the delivery truck. Korra turned around and laughed in triumph as the other Equalist on the motorcycle tried to skid underneath the truck, getting wedged between the metal and the ground.

“You just ran a red light,” Mako shouted.

“Not the time, bro,” Bolin answered.

“We won’t be able to catch them,” Iroh announced.

“No, but we might be able to stop them,” Korra said, standing up in her seat. “Bolin, help me make a ramp. Everyone, out,” she ordered. Bolin nodded and stood up in his seat. Asami, Mako, and Iroh jumped out of the satomobile, performing summersaults to brace themselves against the fall. “Ready?” she shouted over the howling wind. “Go!”

Korra and Bolin pressed their feet into the seats of the satomobile, crouched low, and punched their firsts into the air. Two long strips of ground popped up in front of the vehicle, arching up into the air. The Avatar quickly grabbed Bolin around his waist and jumped out of the car, airbending them a cushion to the ground.

The satomobile roared loudly as it was pitched high into the air. The five teenagers watched in silence, their eyes following the path of the satomobile, as it struck the body of the van. A giant fireball rose up high into the air, before the resounding bang followed a few seconds later. Iroh helped Asami to her feet as everyone brushed themselves off.

Lin Beifong ran up to the group from a nearby building. Korra brightened when she spotted the older woman running in their direction. “Lin, you’re okay,” she cried. “All things considering…”

“I am for the time being. I wouldn’t stop protecting this city, even without my bending,” she explained. “I’ve been trying to help evacuate the city, but then some news crossed my desk.” Lin glanced over at Asami out of the corner of her eye before turning to fully face her. The engineer pulled her goggles down off of her face, letting them rest around her neck. “Your father was broken out of jail.”

“What?” Asami whispered.

“There’s even worse news.” Lin turned towards Korra and placed a hand on her shoulder. She took a deep breath, turning her head away. “Amon has Tenzin and his family held as captives.” Korra’s eyes widened and her jaw slowly dropped. “I sacrificed myself so that they would be able to escape, but I guess it didn’t work.”

Korra bit her bottom lip. She brushed Lin’s hand off of her shoulder before gazing up at the sky. A fleet of airships slowly hovered over the city. The Avatar looked at the pillar of smoke rising up into the atmosphere, the black van in a heap of flames and metal. She scanned the street, taking in the sight of a once bustling and bumbling street, to the emptiness. Windows were boarded up, doors were left wide open, indicating a swift leave. She finally faced the group, her blue eyes narrow in determination.

“I think the best thing to do at this time is to split up,” she announced. “Mako, why don’t you come with me and help me take on Amon? You know firsthand what we’re up against.”

“Wouldn’t know firsthand what we’re up against?” Bolin interjected. “I was the one who was kidnapped, remember?”

“What?” Asami gasped.

“Long story; it occurred before you joined us,” he answered with a shrug. “But I’m fine now. That’s the important thing.”

“Bolin, you need to go with Asami and help take out Amon’s airship fleet,” Korra barked. “If you can stop them on the ground then we won’t have any problems in the air. “Besides,” she said, placing a hand on the engineer’s shoulder, “Asami knows how to work technical things like this, so she can be the second row of defense.”

“I know how to fly planes as well,” Iroh said, slowly raising his hand in the air. He quickly moved it to rub at the back of his head, whistling lightly when everyone turned in his direction.

“Sorry, I wasn’t trying to neglect you,” Korra apologized. “I just don’t know you…aside from…you know…attacking Asami…” she trailed off before turning over in Bolin’s direction. “So, good luck!”

“I won’t let you down Korra,” Bolin saluted. Korra smiled and nodded back in response.

“Lin, you stay here in the city. Your metalbending police force can continue to help those who want to evacuate. No one knows these streets like you do.”

“You sure know how to take charge, kid,” Lin said, the corners of her lips twitching. “Even if you are the Avatar.”

“Before you go, I’m curious about something.” Korra crossed her arms over her chest, cocking her head to the side.

“Make it fast,” she ordered.

“How do you hold down so many jobs?”

“I don’t. I hold down one.” Lin placed her hands on her hips, resting all of her weight to one side. She raised an eyebrow, frowning hard. “Since you arrived in Republic City and damaged three buildings-”

“By accident!

“The Equalist threat was rising so Tenzin convinced me to watch over you while you attended school,” she continued as if she weren’t interrupted. “Kind of like the few members of the White Lotus were doing in the past few weeks. Being the PE teacher, a criminology instructor, and head of campus security kept me around.”

“How do you have the time?” Bolin wondered.

“You make time when it’s necessary.” She raised a hand and rubbed her glabella with her thumb, sighing hard. She tapped her foot, before pointing up at the sky as a few airships hovered low along the skyline.

“And you didn’t mind spending all of that time with Tenzin?” Korra pressed.

“Why would she?” Asami wondered. Lin groaned loudly, throwing her hands up in the air.

“Right, I keep forgetting that you’re still a bit new.” Bolin snapped his fingers. “Korra spread it around campus that Tenzin and Lin used to date,” he announced. Asami’s eyes widened as he eyebrows rose.

“Are we done here?” the chief of police snapped.

“Thank you for your help, Lin,” Korra half-smiled. “I owe you one.”

“All of you do, kid,” she pointed out. “Be careful.”

The darker girl rolled her eyes in response before shaking Lin’s hand. The older woman punched her lightly on the arm before running off down the street. The Avatar let out a deep sigh, rubbing the back of her neck. “Will you be okay?” Korra asked, turning towards Asami. “This is different for you. We’re just stopping a monster. You’d be stopping family,” she pointed out.

“My father is a monster,” Asami said dryly. “There is no difference.” She reached into the waistband of her skirt and pulled out the electric glove. “It’s time to take down my father. Once and for all.” She slipped her hand into the electric glove, clenching her fists and activating the electricity feature. Her green eyes flashed darkly as she watched the current crackle in the palm of her hand.

“Are you ready, to do what is necessary, if and when the time comes?”

“No,” she admitted with a sardonic laugh, “but I don’t have a choice.”

“Yes, you do,” Korra insisted. “You always have a choice. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It only matters if you think your choice is right or wrong.”

“I’m ready to go, if you are.” Mako stepped forward. Korra nodded in his direction. He then turned and walked over to Bolin. Grabbing his younger brother’s hand, he pulled him in close into a one-armed hug. “Be careful, bro.”

“You too, bro,” Bolin answered. He then turned towards Korra and gave her a big hug around the middle. “Don’t do anything stupid,” he warned.

“I make no promises,” she laughed, ruffling his hair. Once her feet touched the ground, she picked him up in her own bone crushing hug.

“Take care, Asami,” Mako said gently, pulling her into a hug. “I'm sorry things messed up between us. I want you to know how much I care about you."

"I care about you too,” she answered sincerely. “Now, get back safe and in once piece or Kiyoko will have my head. It’s always the quiet ones,” she joked.

“Everything will be okay,” Korra said as she stepped up for a hug. “Take care of Bolin.”

“Should you be telling him to worry about me?” the engineer asked, wrapping her arms lightly around Korra’s waist. She breathed deeply and closed her eyes, lingering in her soft touch before pulling away.

“No, I think you can handle yourself. At least, that’s what you told me.” Korra lightly punched Asami on the arm before half-smiling. “Now, let’s go kick some Equalist ass!”

Chapter Text

Korra yawned loudly into the palm of her hand. She was seated at one end of the couch in the apartment she shared with Asami, trying to keep her eyes open. Asami giggled into her hand before patting the top of the Avatar’s foot and mouthing, “They’ll be gone soon”.

The Krew had gathered at Asami’s and Korra’s apartment earlier in the day, spending the holiday together. Korra had originally planned on visiting Tenzin and his family, but they were on an early vacation at the Southern Water Tribe. She had agreed to meet up with them later when she and the Krew were to attend the Summer Solstice Festival. She didn’t blame the family for wanting to leave the city as soon as the Equalist threat was defeated.

Opal had begged her parents to let her travel back to Republic City to celebrate the New Year with her friends. After her family traveled back to Zaofu during the Equalist attack, she wouldn’t be back in the city with her friends until February when the second semester started. Bolin of course was over the moon to hear that his girlfriend would be in town even though she would have to leave again the next day.

Kiyoko’s family had evacuated to a small city on the outskirts of Republic City. Once the fighting was over, they decided to spend their vacation time there. This made it easy for her to travel back to the city to spend New Years with Mako and the rest of the group.

Since the early morning they had followed Bolin’s makeshift schedule to fill in as much time together as possible. They had a giant snowball fight, which Korra lost, unwilling to accept defeat gracefully, since she wasn’t allowed to waterbend, played numerous rounds of Mario Party, decorated cookies, exchanged late Christmas gifts, and was slaughtered by Asami in games of Mario Kart.

Eventually the girls moved to the kitchen to make dinner, which included talks of boys, pro-bending, shopping, and cars. While the latter category was more of what Asami was interested in, since she was thinking of the customizations on her new satomobile, the other girls just nodded along, not entirely sure what she was talking about. In the meantime, Bolin and Mako were in the living room sparring and trying out new moves they had picked up from marathoning past pro-bending tournaments on DVD.

Now they were all seated in the living room, collapsed on the couches and chairs, gazing at the television screen. It showed a picture of Harmony Tower, lit up with Christmas lights, and a giant ball of confetti hooked at the top. It was Republic City’s tradition to pop the ball at the turn of the year, releasing confetti with the colors of the four nations into the air above the residents that gathered at the base of the tower. Bolin had tried to convince everyone to travel out to be in the center of the celebration, but he was quickly shot down as the temperatures dropped. A time was set in the corner, counting down the seconds until the New Year arrived.

“So, since we only have a minute left, what do you all wish for the new year?” Asami asked, curling up into the corner of the couch, a champagne glass clenched tightly in both hands. Korra reached out to take hers, but paused when the engineer frowned at her. “Not yet, you’ll spill it.”

“Gosh, we’re getting sentimental again,” Bolin groaned. Opal giggled into her palm as the engineer threw a pillow over at him. He gasped loudly as the liquid in his glass sloshed around, threatening to spill on his clothing and the floor.

“I won’t spill it. Besides, that’s what water bending is for,” Korra answered with a half-smile. She took her glass out of Asami’s hand and gently placed it on the floor next to the couch. “As well as a good washing machine.”

“I just hope to graduate with as little stress as possible,” Mako said.

“Well, we know one of those things will come true,” the Avatar snickered.

“Do you have to comment on everything?”

“Only when you make it easy.”

As Mako ran a hand through his hair, his eyes narrowing, Kiyoko sat up and kissed Mako lightly on the cheek. He instantly turned a light shade of pink, shifting the red scarf around his neck as if it had suddenly tightened. Asami smiled brightly at the two of them before quickly glancing away, becoming engrossed in reading the title of a book from across the room when Kiyoko looked in her direction, her cheeks their own shade of pink.

“I want to find a subject to declare in,” Bolin announced. “I mean, taking gen eds are fine, but I want to find something that I’m passionate about. Like you guys.”

“I want to find my voice more,” Kiyoko quietly said. She began to rub her left hand up and down the a/c bandage on her right wrist. Her cast had been removed a few weeks ago, and while she still couldn’t fully use her arm, she was happy she didn’t have to deal with the constant itching anymore. However, she had kept a small portion of the cast, seeing it as a memento that brought her new friends. Of course, it was the portion that had Mako’s signature on it. “I can’t keep letting people walk over me. It’s time I let people know what I’m thinking.”

“Well, I would like for my mom to change and not see me as her little girl anymore,” Opal said with a sigh. “I know she loves me and I know she cares, but I don’t think I can handle having Kuvira on my tail for much longer.”

“Well, she’s not here now,” Asami pointed out.

“That’s because she’s back in Zaofu training. She wants to make sure she’s in top shape before they start accepting new people to the Metal Clan. I’m glad I get one day free.”

“Korra?” Kiyoko prompted.

“More sleep,” she immediately answered. After their laughter died down, she sat up a bit straighter in her seat on the couch. “No, seriously, I’d like to focus more on my friends and the people around me. I need to take the time to pay attention to others around me instead of myself and my life.”

“You already do that,” Bolin pointed out.

“Yeah, but things are more in perspective now,” she sighed. Korra reached over and slapped the engineer on the arm. “What about you, Asami?”

Asami smiled gently, looking around the room at everyone. “I already have everything.” Naga lifted her head up from the floor and licked the back of her hand. Pabu jumped down from Bolin’s lap and ran over to the engineer, perching himself on her shoulder. He nuzzled her cheek with his cold, black nose. “I wish for the next year to be filled with great memories with my friends,” she said sincerely. “Even if bad things occur-”

“And with this group, it will occur,” Korra interrupted. She muttered an apology, curling herself into the corner of her end of the couch when Asami glanced over at her with a raised eyebrow. Naga sat up before placing her head in her owner’s lap, looking at Asami with a sharp eye. Korra chuckled before scratching behind her pet’s ears, muttering words of reassurance. Naga instantly relaxed.

“…it’s good to know that we’ll always have each other’s backs and be there for one another,” she concluded. Asami shrugged before looking out the window at the falling snow. “I don’t have much of an immediate family anymore, but you all perfectly make up for it.” She chuckled softly, before swirling the champagne around in her glass. “It’s funny to think that I almost turned down that art modeling job. I took it as an escape from my peers. Then I met all of you and things turned for the better. I wouldn’t change a thing that has happened.”

Bolin sniffed loudly, wiping at a stray tear on his cheek. Everyone turned to look at Korra as a loud sob broke past her lips. Her blue eyes widened as she furiously rubbed at her cheeks. “I’m not crying you are!” she shouted, burying her face in Naga’s fur.

“You must really be tired if you were moved by that,” Opal commented.

“Hey,” Asami laughed. “Those are my real feelings.”

“I’m just saying, Korra only lets her emotions run freely when she’s really tired.”

As everyone burst into laughter, the numbers on the television screen gradually grew bigger as they counted down. “Oh, it’s almost here,” Kiyoko pointed out. Everyone shifted to sit around the coffee table, their champagne glasses held high in the air, as they counted with the television.

10!

9!

8!

7!

6!

5!

4!

3!

2!

1!

Happy New Year! The group of six teenagers clinked their glasses together in the center of their circle, before tilting their heads back and draining their drinks in one giant sip.

“Look at that, Korra,” Asami cooed. Kiyoko quickly placed a light kiss on Mako’s lips before turning beat red. She rubbed the back of her neck, lowering her head as he froze. A second later, he placed a hand on her chin, tilted her head up, and kissed her back. She let out squeak of excitement, before pulling away and burying her face in her hands in embarrassment. Bolin placed his hands on Opal’s cheek and pressed a tender kiss to her lips. She smiled into the embrace, wrapping her arms around his neck.

Asami and Korra glanced at each other before laughing. The engineer leaned forward, pursing her lips, ready to place a light kiss on the Avatar’s cheek but cried out in shock as Naga popped her head up and gave her a long lick along the side of her face. Korra happily received her kiss from her pet, before burying her face in the white fur. “Happy New Year, girl. We made it.”

“Well, we officially now have Bopal and Miyoko,” Asami giggled.

“Miyoko?” Bolin repeated, throwing his head back in laughter.

“Hey, it’s better than Mayoko and Kako,” Korra answered sleepily. “Don’t judge, it took me forever to come up with it.”

“Happy New Year, everyone!” Opal said happily.

“Happy New Year…now get out!” Korra demanded. Everyone in the room burst into laughter at her abruptness. “You all think I’m joking, but you’ve been here eating our food since nine am. A girl needs her sleep.”

The group got to their feet and slowly made their way to the apartment door. Korra handed everyone their shoes and jackets as Asami bid them a quiet goodbye.

“Bye, love you,” Bolin said, giving the engineer a giant hug, lifting her up off of the floor.

“I love you too, Bolin,” Asami answered. Once she was back on the ground, she gave Opal a quick hug, rubbing small circles on her back. “Take care.” Kiyoko smiled graciously as Mako helped her into her jacket, being careful of her right wrist. Asami winked in her direction as their eyes locked. “Be careful,” she said to Mako.

“Bye, Asami! I love you,” Korra wailed loudly, clearly over exaggerating, before wrapping her arms around the engineer’s midsection, holding her in a tight embrace. Asami wheezed at the tightening before watching Mako and Kiyoko as they filed out of the apartment, hand in hand.

“Korra, I’m not going anywhere,” she laughed. “Let go.”

“Not until you say it back,” she whimpered.

Asami turned her attention to Bolin and Opal as they slipped on their jackets. She tried to wave to them, but her arms were pinned to her sides. She shrugged before smiling apologetically. “See you later,” she called out as the couple exited the apartment, running to catch up to Mako and Kiyoko. Asami closed the door with her foot before struggling to pull herself out of Korra’s grip. “Get…off…me,” she panted.

“Say it, and then I’ll let go,” Korra said, defiantly tightening her grip even more.

“I’m not going to say it,” Asami gasped. The Avatar instantly let go of her friend, causing her to collapse to the floor. The engineer grunted before pushing herself up into a sitting position. Korra glanced down at her, a hand covering her heart. Asami rolled her eyes when she spotted the familiar puppy dog pout on her friend’s face.

“That hurts!” she whimpered. “And I thought we were getting close.” Korra broke into a half-smile before helping Asami to her feet. She then walked back into the living room, shooing Naga to her bed, the corner of the room littered with old blankets and pillows, before slumping down onto the couch, draping an arm over her eyes.

Asami tiptoed over to the couch, sitting down next to it. She rested her head against the cushion, glancing up at the ceiling. “Korra?”

“Hmmm?”

“Are you okay?” she asked quietly. The Avatar stirred on the couch, moving to lie on her back, trying to get more comfortable. “I mean, after your bending being taken away and everything.”

Korra took in a deep breath, and exhaled slowly, but otherwise remained quiet. Asami sat in the silence as well, stewing in her own stupidity of asking about an event that had only occurred a few days prior. While she was able to regain her bending and enter the Avatar State, the brief time period in between not having her bending and regaining it must have been hard. Tenzin had even flown his mother, Katara, up from the South for her assistance with no results. Mako had chased after Korra when she wanted to run, wanted to leave everything behind her. Twenty minutes later, the two returned and announced that Korra had successfully regained her bending as well as the obtaining the ability to energy bend; Lin was the first person to have her bending restored,

“Asami, I didn’t feel like myself when Amon took away my bending,” Korra finally answered. “I was so surprised that I was able to keep my airbending, but even that felt like a burden. I’m not the most spiritual person, and the fact that it was the one element that stayed, and I gained a connection with the past Avatars…it’s a lot to think about.”

“Isn’t there a connection to that, though?” Asami said gently. “Avatar Aang’s main element was air and that was the element you kept.”

“Yeah, but…I don’t know!” She sat up on the couch, running her hands through her hair. She shook her head slowly from side to side. Asami glanced up and noticed the fatigue in her blue eyes, the ones that used to brilliantly shine in any circumstance. Now, they were just faded and full of worry. “It’s hard to explain. I just…felt like a shell. I mean, I felt normal without my bending. I didn’t feel special anymore.”

“….Oh.”

Korra inhaled sharply. She placed a hand on the engineer’s shoulder, giving it a tight squeeze. “Asami, no, that’s not what I meant,” she said quietly. I didn’t mean to offend you. Let’s see, how can I explain this?”

Asami turned and faced the couch, bringing her knees to her chest. She toyed with the edge of her skirt, mentally reminding herself to find a needle and some thread to fix the small section that was beginning to come undone. “You know how your nose gets stuffed up when you’re sick with a cold? Then everything all of a sudden becomes harder and you’re gasping for air after walking up one flight of stairs? It’s kind of like that.” Some mischief returned in Korra’s blue eyes.

“It’s like a swollen nose?” Asami repeated, raising an eyebrow.

Korra laughed weakly before yawning. “No; it’s like you don’t realize how much you depend on something until you can’t use it anymore.” She grabbed a pillow and threw it at the engineer who began to snicker. “Think about it! You work with your hands and your mind a lot. What if you wound up not being able to use your hands anymore? Then you wouldn’t be able to create all of your amazing inventions and visions.”

“I think I get it now. You just used weird reference material.” Asami fluffed up the pillow in her hands. The two sat in comfortable silence, the only sound came from the crackling of the fireplace across the room. She recently had it installed into their apartment after one too many small comments of the living space being too cold. While Korra had insisted on her saying something sooner, the engineer didn’t want to be a bother. Eventually, the Avatar was able to get her to admit to her discomfort and fix the problem. “What’s going to happen now?”

“Well, with the passing of Amon and Tarrlok, here’s hoping I can get some decent sleep,” Korra sighed. “In the long run, it might take a bit for Republic City to regain its footing. I’m sure Lin can cover than though. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if President Raiko finds a way to blame me.” She snickered. “I mean, he’s wanted me out of his city since I got here.”

Asami ‘s stomach tightened. “Will you leave?” she asked.

“If and when I do leave, it will on my own terms, but not until after I graduate.” Korra nudged Asami’s knee with her foot. “What about you?” she wondered. “You had to fight your dad and send him back to jail.”

“I’m just glad Bolin was there,” she answered quietly. “I don’t know what would have happened if he didn’t arrive. I’m also glad Naga didn’t listen to your orders to stay put.” In the corner, Naga’s ears perked up at her name. She stretched out before flopping to her side, her tail slowly moving across the bedding. Asami smiled at the polar-bear dog before biting her lower lip.

“Korra, I wanted to kill him.” The Avatar’s eyebrows furrowed, but she remained quiet. “I mean, really kill him. But, I couldn’t do it.” Her voice caught, her eyes began to sting. She sniffed before swallowing hard. Asami reached up and pressed her thumb on her right temple, trying to keep her budding headache at bat. “And yet, he was ready to kill me. How can the passing of a loved one cause someone to change that much? I don’t even know him anymore.”

“I wouldn’t personally know,” Korra muttered. She shifted uncomfortably on the couch, rubbing the back of her neck. “…Will you go and visit him again?”

“No,” she said firmly. “He doesn’t deserve it. He doesn’t deserve anything except to sit in his jail cell.” The tears began to spill down her cheek, her breathing wavered. “Korra, I hate him. I hate him and I feel guilty about it because you shouldn’t hate your parents.”

Asami glanced at the flames, watching it flicker and dance to its own tune. She jumped when Korra thrust her arm in her field of vision. The engineer looked at it in confusion before looking over at the Avatar, who raised her eyebrows and tilted her head to the side. Asami held Korra’s arm with one hand, before wiping her eyes on the warm skin, careful not to smudge her makeup. Asami watched as the Avatar made herself comfortable once more on the couch, marveling in the gentle way the shadows of flame swept across the darker girl’s face. “Korra, if you need help, I'm here for you.”

“What would help me right now is letting me sleep until the end of time,” she muttered in response. A second later, she rolled onto her side, placed her hands together underneath her right ear, and began to snore. Loudly. That was the sign Asami knew that she would be asleep for a long time.

It was something she had noticed one of the first few nights Korra had moved in, all the way in her room. At first the disturbance bothered the engineer, but it soon helped her sleep through the night. It was a sound that let her know she wasn’t alone. Korra’s cell phone lit up and began to vibrate, gently moving across the coffee table. Asami looked at the caller ID, and picked up the phone, pressing the ANSWER button so that the ringtone wouldn’t wake the sleeping girl.

“Hi Senna,” Asami quietly greeted the woman. She walked into her bedroom and shut the door behind her with her foot. “Korra just fell asleep.”

“I figured that would happen,” she chuckled over the phone. “It gets pretty hectic as the Avatar, even dealing with school and other things. She always crashes right after the turn of the new year.”

“Would you like for me to tell her you called?”

“That would be great.” Senna exhaled loudly. Asami bit her bottom lip, trying to find something to say, when her friend’s mother’s voice floated through the phone. “How are you doing? Korra has been telling me all about those girls at your school.”

“She has?” her voice lifting an octave in surprise.

“Yes; even though she believes you can handle it, she still worries. It doesn’t seem like you talk about it much.” Asami couldn’t help but feel a wave of guilt wash over her. Even though she was just an acquaintance, Senna knew exactly how to speak to make it seem like she was being scolded for not wanting other’s to worry about her. Must be a mom thing, she thought.

“Every time I call she says she gets anxious whenever she drops you off at school. Don’t tell her I’m telling you any of this, though. She’ll deny it and then have my head.”

“Your secret is safe with me.” Asami smiled.

“On another note, I hear you’ll be traveling down here for the Summer Solstice?”

“Yes, I have been in contact with Varrick of Varrick Global Industries.” She looked across the room at the manila folder sitting on her desk. She made a mental note to move it to a hiding spot, just in case her apartment was to be compromised in her absence on a simple trip to the grocery store or other errands. “I’m hoping he can help keep the company from going bankrupt.”

“Well, then it’s no wonder Korra has so much to say about you,” Senna said with a soft laugh.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, she may be the Avatar and have her own things to worry about, but you’re going to school, running a company, and brainstorming new inventions. That’s a marvelous feat for someone your age,” she complimented. Asami couldn’t help but beam with pride at the praise she had just received. It had been a while since someone had vocally mentioned the hard work she was doing. Being a woman in a male dominated industry left her feeling alone. “I’m glad she has you as a friend to learn from. Not that I’m saying Mako and Bolin aren’t great, but….every girl needs another girl to talk to.”

“I understand.” Asami nodded.

“Well, tell her I love her, and that I’ll call her again soon,” Senna said. “Happy New Year, Asami.”

“Happy New Year to you too, Senna.”

“Call me if you need anything.” Senna’s voice dropped to a stern tone. “I meant it. I’ll see you in a few days.”

“I’m really looking forward to it. Bye.” Asami pressed the END button on Korra’s phone before exiting her room, placing it into the coffee table. After taking the time to clean up the kitchen and the living room, moving quietly around Korra, she glanced at the clock with her burning eyes and took note of the time. She looked over at Korra and felt a flutter in her chest as she took in the peaceful look on her face. “Korra, your mom said to tell you that she’ll see you soon and that she loves you.”

Asami walked into her bedroom and pulled a spare blanket out of her closet. Unfolding it, she walked back out into the living room and draped it over Korra. Carefully, without waking the Avatar, she lifted her head and placed a pillow behind her neck. “Oh, and I love you too,” she said in a mocking tone, brushing some of her dark hair out of her face. She cleared her throat before smiling warmly. “You’re the most amazing friend a girl could ask for.”

“Goodnight, Angel,” she whispered. A section of her dark hair fell back into her face, dangling right above the Avatar’s nose. She chuckled as the sleeping girl’s nose twitched at the tickling sensation. Asami tucked the section of hair back behind her ear, her hands suddenly shaking. Her pulse began to speed up, roaring loudly in her ears.

She began leaning forward. Little by little, she felt Korra’s gently breathing move across her top lip. Asami’s eyelids twitched rapidly before closing shut. All sounds in the room ceased, except for her rapidly increasing pulse. After a small inhale, her lips brushed against Korra’s in the lightest of touches. Korra’s deep breathing filled Asami’s mouth, before she gently pursed her lips, closing them together.

A brief pause, a twitch, firmness. Warmth washed over her body, her mind went numb, and a fluttering erupted in her chest. Moments passed between the four lips before Asami pulled back. She slowly opened her eyes once more, reaching out and wiping the smallest of lipstick remains from the darker girl’s skin with her thumb.

Asami got to her feet, turned off all of the lights in the apartment, and locked every door and window before making her way over to the room. She turned on the overhead light, and shut the door, immediately collapsing against it. She brought her hand to her lips, lightly touching the plump skin, trailing her fingertips across the still warm section where her lips had touched her best friend’s.

After a few moments of silence, Asami tilted her head back, knocking it lightly against the door before slowly sliding down until she reached the floor. Wrapping her arms around her knees, she groaned loudly.

“What the hell did I just do?”

Chapter Text

-Three Weeks Later-

Asami pulled her lips into a thin line as Raiken, Future Industries Vice President, glared over at her. She laced her fingers together in front of her on the table. Bolin leaned over and tapped her on the elbow. She glanced at him, noting his slight pout and furrowed eyebrows. The engineer smiled and patted his hand reassuringly before focusing her attention on her VP.

"How can you go and make such a big decision without consulting the rest of us?" he demanded.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Asami answered airily, her eyebrows rising, and her eyes widening in shock. "I didn't mean to go behind your back with my company and sign a contract to help keep my company afloat, and to turn around its reputation." She slowly pushed back her chair and got to her feet. "I'm sorry that it ruined your plans of a hostile takeover."

"What?" he asked. "What are you talking about?" He glanced at the other people sitting around the conference room table. Asami could tell by the slight twitch to his right eye that he was panicking, trying to find some solace and comfort in having someone defend him. Not one other person in the room looked in his direction. She had suspected as much.

Growing up and shadowing her father as he ran the company, Asami never did like Raiken. Being close to her father's secretary, Xu, she was able to gather a lot of information over the years. While at first, she felt bad for talking about other people's business, the correct term was gossiping which she learned at eight years old, but it became a ritual of theirs whenever she would visit the company. Of course, Xu would never start out conversations of theirs with the going-ons in the company, but to make sure Asami was doing alright without a mother.

Asami saw Xu as somewhat of a guardian. While she never did full see her as a mother, or even as someone who could marry her father, she was the adult that helped her get through the rough times of awkward adolescents. Her father was very hands off at that stage in her life, not wanting to embarrass her, but she needed a guide, so whenever Asami didn't feel comfortable in her own skin, she'd spend her afternoons at the company talking with Xu.

Eventually, as Asami got older, she understood that Raiken had been eyeing for a more lucrative position in the company for years. She had planned on telling her father the information she gathered, when the timing was right, but it never came seeing as he wound up in jail for working alongside Amon and the Equalist movement.

"Enough with the lies Raiken." Asami crossed her arms over her chest, nailing him with a glare. She clenched her jaw, and lifted her chin a bit higher, and raised an eyebrow. Next to her, Bolin gave a low whistle and moved his chair a bit to the right.

"There goes the Work Face," he muttered. She had to fight back a smile. The 'Work Face' was a term Korra, Mako, and Bolin came up with to go along with Asami's work voice. Whenever it appeared, they knew she meant business and wasn't to be questioned.

"I know how you seen me: I'm just some little girl in a man's world, trying to follow along in her dad's four-sizes-too-big-footsteps." Asami started to circle the conference room table. All eyes were on her as she made every step deliberately slow. Her entire focus was on Raiken, who continued to stare her down. "I've had enough of the way you talk to me, as if I'm incompetent or I'm a young child. My father raised me to understand this business so that the company would be in safe hands when he wasn't fit to run it anymore," she explained.

"I happen to know that you have been using your power to bully, control, and spread fear around the company to try and change things." Asami held up her hand, silencing Raiken when he opened his mouth to speak. "It doesn't matter how I know, but I know." She crossed her arms once more as she continued to make her way around the table. She came to a stop around the middle, and looked down at the ground. "I may just be a senior in high school, but I do know the difference between right and wrong. I understand how it feels to have someone make you second guess your choices, both big and small."

Raiken cleared his throat, reaching for a glass and the pitcher that was placed in the middle of the table. Asami resumed her stroll, the only sounds filling the room was the clack of her high heels. Xu was rapidly writing something down on the notepad in front of her. Lifting her eyes for a quick second, she and Asami locked eyes. The corner of the older woman's lips twitched.

"So, there are going to be some changes to this company," Asami declared. She clasped her hands behind her back and nodded at Xu, who flipped the paper on her notebook to a blank page. Bolin handed her a pen, before clasping his hands together and placing them lightly onto the table. "Starting with our employees. Eighty perfect of our employees are male. There are a lot of women out there in the city who excel in technology and engineering. I would like to create a new scholarship for those who would like to attend those types' of science schools."

A soft murmur rang throughout the room. Raiken clenched his jaw and leaned back in his chair. Xu rapidly wrote down everything that was being said on the notepad. "Also, I want to start an internship program where women would be able to receive hands on experience in working in companies such as this, with opportune chances for advancement."

Asami faced Raiken once more, her eyes zeroing in on him. Raiken slammed his hands onto the table and stood up. "As you're vice president, I must inform you that many of us don't think you have taken the right initiative step, therefore-"

"I do, wholeheartedly agree with you, Vice President Raiken," Asami said with a shrug. "I shouldn't have much such a lucrative decision without bringing it to the board's attention. We were in dire straits, and a decision had to be made. However, I do seem to recall that it was you who suggested I look to outside sources for help," she reminded him.

"Yes, but through contacts that I know would be beneficial," he answered.

"You mean your contacts," she corrected. Asami walked right up to him, tilting her head back a bit to stare him directly in the eye. "That way someone would be able to take a controlling part of my company, so you can make decisions that would go over my head." She bit back a smirk. She turned and addressed the rest of the businessmen, Xu, and Bolin, who were sitting quietly in the room, watching them with intent. "You see, Varrick run his own company, and with his controlling stake in mine, he is essentially saving Future Industries. With his help, we will be able to advance into the South and even the North Poles. The Fire Nation and Earth Nation are still up for debate." She placed a hand on her hip and turned towards Raiken. "When I approached him three weeks ago, he was very eager to help turn my company around in…interesting ways." She slowly shook her head, remembering the staring contest she had to hold with him, just to prove her self-worth. "However, I have seen a major improvement."

"Meanwhile, instead of offering up suggestions along with plans, you're trying to tear down a girl," she snapped. "I can finally see bright things happening for this company, and I have many investors who are genuinely intrigued with my numerous ideas on female advancement in the world. Sponsoring the Fire Ferrets has helped turn a bit of this company's reputation around. You may have been able to do things your way with my father, but I won't be fooled as easily. With that being said…" Asami reached up and straightened Raiken's bow tie. He involuntarily flinched, swallowing hard, albeit he kept his breathing nice and calm. Once she finished straightening the bow tie, she patted him twice on the shoulder before smiling brightly. "You're fired," she declared.

Asami made her way back to the head of the table as the room burst into applause. Bolin lifted his fingers to his lips and blew, letting out a shrill whistle. He paused after a moment, and glanced around the room, noticing a few of the business men watched him in confusion. He removed his fingers from his mouth and slumped a bit in his chair. Xu leaned over and placed a hand on his shoulder. He smiled before sitting up, and clapping along with the rest of the people in the room.

"You can't fire me!"

"As the President and CEO of this company, I can," Asami answered as she lowered herself back into her seat at the head of the table.

"Then who will you get to replace me?" Raiken asked.

"While I do have a signed contract with Varrik, he does have some say in who should be the next VP. However, I know the perfect candidate." Asami turned towards her right, winking at Bolin, before shifting her gaze over to the company's secretary. "Would you be interested in the position, Xu?"

"She…she's just a secretary!" he exploded.

"She's been my father's secretary since he opened this company," Asami answered evenly. "If anyone understands the in's and out's it would be her." Xu sat up a bit taller in her seat. She closed the notebook and tucked the pen into the spiral binding, clipping it to the top metal rung.

"I'd be honored," Xu said with a slight bow of her head. Asami nodded in response before turning back to Raiken.

"You have an hour to vacate the premises or I'll have security escort you," she insisted. Addressing the others in the room, she nodded once before leaning back in her seat. "Meeting adjourned," she announced.

"This company will run into the ground, and then you'll be begging to have me back." Raiken stormed out of the two glass doors and down the hallway, muttering under his breath. The other few businessmen nodded in Asami's general direction, offering up celebratory words, looking more relaxed, before exiting the room. The minute it was just Bolin, Asami, and Xu left, he jumped out of his seat and wrapped Asami in a tight hug, spinning them around in a tight circle.

"And this is why you make a fantastic assistant," Asami said, ruffling his hair, once she was placed back on the ground. "Your idea worked!"

"Congratulation to the both of you," Xu said as she gathered up her items.

"And to you as well," the engineer responded. "No one deserves it more than you. We can talk about a pay raise and change of office in the morning. For now, enjoy the rest of the day off. I'm sure I can handle things now."

"I think we need to celebrate," Bolin said as Asami gathered up the papers she left on the table into her briefcase.

"Oh, Bolin," she muttered, closing the office accessory with a snap. "I should really get to work-"

"That's what you've been doing since we got back from the festival," he reminded her. "Things are looking up now. You said it yourself." He placed an arm around her shoulders and pulled her into his side. "I think you can take some time off. You're the boss, right?" She smiled and nodded. He cleared his throat, casting his gaze towards the ground. "I just want to catch up and see how you're doing," he admitted. "Things are different now. Korra's still in the South, Mako has his new job with Lin at the police force, you're running your company, and Opal hasn't come back yet…"

"Okay, it sounds nice," Asami said quickly. She knew how depressed Bolin gets when he dwells on the negative. "Where are we going?"

---

Asami doubled over in laughter as Bolin grabbed her hand, and began to sway back and forth. The instrumental of "I've Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher filled the Karaoke Hut, the restaurant The Krew visited back during Republic' Spirit Week. She straightened up and cleared her throat, preparing herself to sing the next few lines.

I got flowers in the spring
I got you to wear my ring
And when I'm sad, you're a clown
And if I get scared, you're always around

She began to sway back and forth along with him, squeezing his hand tightly. A moment later, he let go and placed an arm around her shoulder, pulling her into his side. Asami moved her microphone to her left hand, so that she could lean in closer to Bolin and wrap her arm around his waist.

Babe
I got you babe
I got you babe

Bolin removed his arm from Asami's shoulders, and held his arm out, sticking the microphone in her face. She instantly wrapped her arm around his and sang back into her own microphone. He quickly shifted his microphone from her mouth to his, over dramatically declaring the last few lines of the song, causing her to giggle the rest of the words.

I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe

"This is a lot of fun," Asami said, trying to catch her breath from laughing so hard. She and Bolin made their way back to their small booth. "I'm glad you made me come." He smiled happily as they placed their orders. Asami took a sip of her drink before leaning forward. She rested her forearms against the side of the table, and laced her fingers together. "So, what's been going on with you?"

"Well, I've been talking to Varrick a lot," Bolin announced. "He's been showing me some neat things he's invented and is trying to patent." He began to play with a salt shaker, dumping out the contents and making a small pile on the table. "Varrick is thinking of making some movers based on the Southern Civil War. He wants me to star in them," he muttered.

Asami's eyebrows rose in surprise. In the last few days that she spent with Bolin, preparing for the meeting that had occurred early in the day, not once did he mention anything about the job offer. "I didn't know you wanted to act."

"I don't really know if I want to," he admitted, "but it's something to do."

"Will you declare that as your intent?" she asked.

Bolin raised one his eyebrows and pointed across the table at her with a fork. "You're sounding more and more like a public school kid." He then placed a hand over his heart, and slowly shook his head. "I'm so proud," he gushed.

Asami tittered in her hand. "Seriously, I am interested in what you're pursuing. What does Mako think?"

"I haven't really talked to him." Bolin dropped his fork and sighed. Asami reached out and patted the back of his hand when he placed it onto the table. "When we all returned from the South, you all had something to do and I didn't. I looked to him for guidance and he just told me to figure things out on my own. I guess this is it." He shrugged. "Plus, I've been training the new Fire Ferrets team, as a way to get them ready for the upcoming season, and it isn't going so well."

"I've heard," Asami said with an apologetic look. "I'll still continue to sponsor you all though. You have my word." She pulled out her work cell phone, before passing it over to him. "Just input their names in this note and I'll get new jackets made. I already have a design planned for Pabu, which is long overdue."

"How have you been?" Bolin asked. "You seemed a little on edge last night. Is it about your Senior Project? You didn't have to move your presentation date."

"Yes, I did," Asami insisted. "Something could come up at any time and I have to be ready. Also, depending on how things progress, I may change the idea entirely. I just have to run it by Kuvira first," she added. She fought back a yawn and rubbed her eyes, before leaning back in her seat. "Otherwise, I've been very busy. I mean, I've wanted to turn this company around for months, and now that it's finally happening," she sighed, "sometimes I just want to stop and rest. Plus, school starts up on Monday, so I have to prepare for that. You guys are lucky you don't have to go back until February."

"Have you heard from Korra?" he asked, abruptly changing the topic.

Asami paused at the mention of her name. There was no sudden influx of heat rushing to her cheeks. Her stomach didn't tighten, twist, or turn. Her palms didn't sweat, her breathing stayed even, and her pulse was running like normal. She smiled gently at her accomplishment before turning it to a sad smile. "Nope. Have you?"

"No, I thought you would know." Bolin drooled a little bit as their food was brought out to them. Steam rose high from the plates. He quickly bowed his head and said a prayer. Asami blushed lightly, a forkful of food heading towards her mouth. She lightly placed it back onto plate, waiting for him to finish.

"How do you figure?" she asked before taking a bite of food.

"Well, the two of you are getting closer, so I just figured you'd keep in touch."

Asami nodded a she chewed. Picking up a napkin, she gently dabbed around her lips, and then took a sip of her beverage. "She's busy, which is understandable." She shrugged. "And so am I. People don't stay in contact a lot when things are going on. It's a way of life. It's part of the reason as to why I initially stopped being friends with Rika, Manami, and Kiyoko. At least, before Rika turned…difficult."

"I understand," Bolin answered sadly.

"Things will be back to normal soon," she reassured him. "In the meantime, tell me all about the filming of your new movie…next week, when we come back." Bolin instantly brightened. Asami knew that with those words, she'd set a new precedent that the two would venture to the karaoke bar every week, but it filled her with happiness, and it lifted him out of the dumps.

The two continued to talk quietly as they enjoyed their food. About halfway into their meal, Mako burst in through the restaurant door. The two watched in confusion as he rushed up to them, his red scarf billowing behind him.

"Guys," Mako panted.

"Hey Mako, where's the fire?" Bolin asked. Asami refilled her glass of water before handing it over to the firebender who drained it in one big gulp.

"Korra's…missing!" he announced.

Asami's stomach dropped.

Chapter Text

Asami stacked the papers and folders on her desk into a nice, neat pile. Picking up a pen, she filled in a tiny box on her notepad with a check. Muttering to herself, she ran a finger down her list, making sure she had finished everything of utmost importance.

"Ms. Sato," Xu said, her tone carrying slight impatience. Asami looked up from the stack of papers, smiling softly at the older woman. Xu rolled her eyes in response; she had been trying to gather the CEO's attention for the past few minutes, and it wasn't until she had addressed her by her 'business' name that she had paid attention.

"I told you, you can still call me Asami," she insisted.

"Yes, but now that our relationship is even more professional, I found it to be fitting that I address you as such," Xu answered with a raised eyebrow. She pursed her lips and peered closely at Asami, who in turn ducked her head.

Xu was always able to read Asami like a book. Growing up, Asami wasn't able to get away with too much since Xu seemed to know exactly what is was that she was doing. It was nothing short of a miracle that Asami was able to keep her relationship with Iroh a secret for as long as she did. While initially, she only dated him to anger her father, she soon grew to genuinely like him and kept him a secret for a bit. When Xu did find out, she didn't go and tell Asami's father, but instead kept the news to herself, just like with every other secret that Asami told her over the years.

"As you wish," Asami sighed. She reached up to rub her eyes, stifling a yawn, before pulling her purse out from underneath her desk. "What did you need?"

"I…I must advise you to take a break," Xu said, clearing her throat.

"That's what I'm getting ready to do." Asami double checked to make sure she had her wallet and her keys in her purse before sitting down in her chair to change her shoes. While she wore her nicest heels to work, she would wear boots whenever she stepped outside of the building and into the cool winter weather. "I think I'm going to head to Narook's. Would you like for me to bring you back something?"

"No, I mean for a longer period." Xu lowered herself into a chair in front of Asami's desk, opposite of her. "Maybe a few days, or a week even?"

Asami paused for the briefest of moments before sliding her foot into her shoe. She abruptly stood up from her chair, and grabbed her jacket from the back, slipping her arms into the sleeves. "I can't abandon the company at this dire time," she answered stiffly, lifting her chin.

"Ms. Sato, you recently signed a contract to have Varrick help your company. While this has been a great asset, you still have your nose buried in your work." Asami leaned over her desk and checked an email that had arrived in her inbox. "You've been working non-stop for the past three days. I know what you're doing," Xu said, her eyes following Asami as she placed her purse over her shoulder. "You're trying to keep busy because your friend is missing."

Asami remained silent as she marched over to her bookshelf, plucking one with a red cover off of the shelf and flipped to an open page, reading its contents. In actuality, she was skimming the text, not retaining the information. For the past few nights, she had kept herself awake worrying about Korra and reading over the last text message conversation they had. Asami asked her to let her know when she was to arrive back in the South, and hadn't received a response since.

At the time, Asami just assumed she was very busy, expecting a letter to arrive in the mail of her safe arrival; instead, Mako delivered the news that no one knew where she was. Korra's father, Tonraq, had sent out a few people to help search for his daughter. While Asami desperately wanted to assist in the search, she knew her rightful place was in Republic City, trying to save her company and getting ready for the next semester of school. Besides, even though they've only known each other for a few months, Asami was well aware that Korra wouldn't want her to worry about her whereabouts, and to just focus on herself and what needed to be done.

Sighing, Asami closed the book before placing it back onto the shelf. Reaching into her purse she pulled out a pent and a yellow sticky note. "I do worry about her, but I have to keep my focus," she said, writing a note on the paper before placing it onto the spine of the book.

"Then, take a longer lunch break. An hour or two." Xu grabbed Asami by the shoulders and slowly turned her around. "Please. You need to rest," she said gently. Brushing Asami's bangs out of her face, she smiled warmly before pulling her into a hug.

"Okay, if that will make you happy," Asami sighed, relaxing into her touch. "Thank you, Xu."

"Anytime, honey." Xu pulled away, sending her a wink. "I mean…Ms. Sato."

A few minutes later, Asami walked up to the front of Narook's, tightening the scarf around her neck as the cold wind picked up. Stepping to the side of the doors, she checked her purse one more time for her wallet. "Hey Kiyoko," she called out.

"How'd you know it was me?" Kiyoko asked as she stepped from behind Asami.

"I've taken self-defense courses since I was six," she answered with a smile. "I'm really aware of my surroundings. How have you been?" She gave her friend a hug. "You look great." Asami commented. Kiyoko still had the bun at the crown of her head, but the rest of her hair flowed down her back, curling at the ends.

"Thanks! I just got back from our family trip and decided to get something to eat, and then I saw you." Kiyoko pulled the door open, stepping to the side to allow Asami to walk in behind her. The two grabbed a small booth near the back of the restaurant. Asami quickly shed her coat and scarf, rubbing her hands to warm them up. "How are things?"

"Busy," Asami sighed, yawning loudly. "I signed a contract with Varrick of Varrick Global Industries. He's helping my company get back on its feet."

"That's fantastic." Kiyoko's smile slowly faded. "I heard about Korra…"

"Yeah, but I'm sure she's fine," Asami answered with a shrug. She fought the urge to pull her cell phone out of her pocket and check to see if she had any new messages. She'd find herself checking her phone so much, that she lunges for her it every time something vibrated around her. "She can take care of herself." Asami picked up her menu, trying to make a decision when she noticed the dejected look on Kiyoko's face. A waiter came up, pen poised over a pad, ready to take their order. Asami quickly waved them away. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing…it's just that Mako is acting a bit weird," Kiyoko answered quietly.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, he texted me to let me know about Korra's disappearance and he's been kind of distant ever since," she admitted, furrowing her eyebrows. "We don't talk about things as much as we used to, and he always seems a bit rushed."

"He could just be busy with work," Asami suggested. "Ever since the Cultural Center was bombed, he's been trying to find the person behind it."

"Yeah, but he keeps talking to me about Korra, wondering where she is and worrying-"

Asami picked up her glass of water, watching the ice at the top bob up and down. "Well, it may just be because he still cares about her since they used to date and-"

"What?" Kiyoko gasped. Asami took a sip of her water, stalling for time. "Korra and Mako dated?"

"Yeah, a few years ago," she admitted. "They were in love with each other."

"They were?" Kiyoko repeated, physically deflating in her seat.

"Hey, he's with you now, and he wouldn't purposely jeopardize that. Don't worry, it threw me for a loop too when I dated him." Asami winced, running a hand over her face as soon as the words came out of her mouth.

"You dated him too?"

"Very briefly," she answered quickly. "Things just didn't work out. I felt like he was either holding back or trying too hard. It was as if he were trying to prove that he wanted to be with me."

Kiyoko nodded but remained quiet. She picked up her straw and placed it into her glass of water, swirling the ice around. Asami looked around the room for their waiter, wanting to put in her order. Partially so she could get something to eat, and partially so that she had an excuse not to say anything else that might upset her friend.

"Why did you break up?"

So much for that plan. "…Honestly," Asami sighed, "It's because he was still in love with Korra."

"Oh."

"No, don't do that." Asami shook her head, mentally kicking herself. "Mako wouldn't be with you if he wasn't interested."

"But you two broke dated and broke up, and you're a catch," Kiyoko pointed out.

"Well, thank you, but…to be honest, I also dated him because I had suspicions that he liked Korra, and she kept denying it," Asami answered. "Don't get me wrong, I was interested and I did like him, but I valued my friendship with Korra more. At the time, we weren't that close, but I really just wanted one true girl friend. You know hard it's been for me in that department," she said with a small smile.

"Of course," Kiyoko chuckled. Her smile instantly faded. "I don't know, I'm just worrying. Maybe he's getting bored of me."

"Mako can be pretty focused once he gets an idea into his head," Asami pointed out. "A few days ago, we secretly set up a Sting to try and find the person bombing the supplies for the Southern Water Tribe."

"What happened?" Kiyoko's eyes widened in shock.

"We were set up. We were working with the Triple Threats, a gang Mako used to be a part of, to set up the trap." Asami watched as horror filtered onto Kiyoko's face. "That's something he should tell you, but everything is fine now. Anyway, it didn't work and we were double crossed. We were able to get away, but didn't find the culprit of the bombings."

"I'm glad you two are okay," she whispered.

"It comes with the territory as being a part of Team Avatar," Asami said with a shrug. She felt her phone vibrate in her pocket. She pulled out the electronic device and checked the screen, frowning when it only showed the time. She then reached for her work phone and saw that she had missed a call from Xu. "You were supposed to give me an hour," she muttered.

"What did you say?" Kiyoko asked.

"Nothing." Asami shook her head. She re-pocketed her two phones before smiling over at Kiyoko. "To get back to your problem, I don't think talking to me is really going to help your worries. I think Pema will be much more beneficial."

"You can answer it," Kiyoko said when she heard Asami's phone vibrate in her pocket. Asami smiled apologetically before glancing at the screen. She pressed the ANSWER button before placing her phone up to her ear, holding it in place with her shoulder.

"Hello, Sato speaking," greeted.

"Asami, you need to get to the warehouse now!" Xu ordered.

What could have possibly happened in less than twenty-five minutes? Did a worker get hurt? Did a machine malfunction? Was there a power outage? "Why? What's wrong?"

"…We've been robbed," she answered. "Everything is gone, including the blueprints for our latest ideas. We've been wiped clean."

Asami slowly lowered her shoulder, her work phone clattering to the ground. Kiyoko leaned over and picked it up, carefully placing it back onto the table.

"What's wrong?" Kiyoko asked. "What happened?"

"I'm ruined," she whispered as a tear ran down her cheek.

Chapter Text

Opal glanced down at the food in front of her, poking at it with her fork. Her twin brothers, Wing and Wei, weren't touching their food either. However, they were too busy arguing over the fact that Wing had received an extra piece of kiwi their favorite. Huan was seated next to them, glaring and muttering incoherently underneath his breath.

Kuvira and Baatar Jr. were seated at the other end of the table, talking quietly. Baatar Jr. had an open architecture book on the table. He pointed to a passage in the book, speaking rapidly, his eyes shining in excitement. Kuvira watched him with intensity, Opal rolled her eyes, scoffing quietly under her breath. Her mother placed her glass back down on the table after taking a sip of her juice, before turning in her chair to face her daughter. "Opal, honey, you aren't eating," she pointed out. "Are you sick?"

"No, mom, I'm fine," she said, a slight edge added to her tone. Kuvira briefly glanced over in their direction before returning her attention to Baatar Jr.

"Then what's the matter?" her mother questioned.

Opal inhaled slowly, her thoughts churning around in her head. Wing and Wei continued over the piece of kiwi, both forks stabbed into the food, trying to claim dominance. She exhaled through her nose, before turning to her face her mother with a look of annoyance. "You know what the problem is."

Baatar Sr., sitting beside his wife, coughed into his hand, suddenly taking heavy interest in the food placed in front of him. Her mother sighed before reaching up to rub her temples. "Honey, we've been over this. I just don't think it's safe for you in Republic City

"Well, I can't keep telling Bolin that I'll be back soon if I'm not going to be," Opal snapped. "If that were the case, if I had known before coming back to Zaofu, then I would have…ended things…"

"As parents, we're only interested in the safety and well-being of our children," her mother answered. She reached over to brush Opal's bangs out of her face, but her daughter scowled and recoiled from her touch. "I think it'd be best if you continued your schooling and air bending training here."

"With who?" Opal asked. "Tenzin and his family are all in Republic City." She ripped her napkin from her lap before placing it onto her full plate. "It's not Bolin I'm mad about, it's just this whole situation. Why don't you trust me?" she cried. "When I was accepted to Republic School for the Gifted, my whole family had to move with me just so I could attend. I'm not a child anymore."

"We'll figure something out," her mother said with a shrug. "In the team time, you need to get something into your stomach."

Opal angrily picked up the bread roll from her plate and took a massive bite out of it. After chewing and swallowing, she pushed her chair back from the table and stormed out of the room. She continued on towards her bedroom, the sound of her heavy footfalls bouncing around the hallways.

Upon entering her bedroom, she threw herself onto her bed, instantly burying herself among the sheets and pillows. Opal ignored the nagging at the back of her head, pointing out that she was wrinkling her dress robes. A few moments later, a loud knock rapped on her door. "What?" she snapped.

"May I come in?" Kuvira called from the other side of the door. Opal rolled her eyes before sitting up, scooting herself backward until she felt resistant by her bed's headboard. Crossing her arms over her chest, she huffed loudly.

"I can't really stop you," she answered.

"Yes, you can." Kuvira opened the bedroom door but continued to stand out in the hallway. She lazily leaned against the doorframe[1] , crossing one leg behind the other. "You easily have the ability to say no." Kuvira titled her head to the side, raising an eyebrow. "Or have you lost your voice?"

Opal bit the inside of her cheek. "I mean, I wouldn't be able to stop you if you wanted to come in anyway," she clarified. "You have feet."

"But that would be invading on your privacy and your rights."

"Finally, someone understands." Opal threw her hands up into the air. Kuvira cleared her throat as Opal's cell phone rang loudly. She plucked it off of her nightstand, and pressed a few buttons before bringing up her message inbox.

Bolin: -8:47 am- Hi Opal, it's me…again. Although, I'm sure you know who I am. I just wanted to let you know that I miss you! A lot! A lot a lot! I hope you're having a great Winter Vacation.

Asami: -9:22 am- Hey, I just wanted to check in and see how you were doing. I'm sure you've heard the news by now, but Korra is missing. People are out looking for her, so I'm sure she'll be found soon. I just wanted to keep you in the loop.

Asami: -9:23 am- PS, Bolin wanted me to tell you that he misses you and can't wait for you to return to Republic City. Apparently, he's worried about blowing up your phone. Talk to you soon.

Opal frantically waved for Kuvira to enter her room. As soon as the metalbender was close enough, she shoved her cellphone into her face. "Have you heard that Korra is missing?" she asked.

Kuvira slowly nodded, handing the airbender back her cellphone. "Su had informed of the news last night." She glanced around the room, frowning at the clothes strewn on the floor and the books in a giant pile on her desk. Kuvira rolled her head around on her neck, joints popped and cracked, before she began to tidy up the room.

"So, I'm the last person to know?" she demanded. "Why am I always the last person to know about these kind of things?"

"Su didn't want to worry you," Kuvira answered. She collected the books off of the desk and placed them on a nearby shelf. She then began to put them in order by subject, author, and title. "She only cares-"

"About my safety, I know." Opal snapped. "I've heard it all before. " She glanced down at her phone, her thumbs hovering over the keyboard, trying to decide what to type in response. After staring at the blinking cursor for a few more moments, she deleted Bolin's text before pulling up Asami's. Opal quickly sent back a short response before hitting send.

Opal glanced out of her bedroom window at the Beifong Estate. Nestled near the outskirts of Zaofu, the giant plot of land was surrounded by a metal ring. Opal watched, mesmerized, as the metal glittered underneath the sunlight. A few members of the Metal Clan were walking along the edge of the metal ring, carefully surveying the area. "Kuvira, do you like it here in Zaofu?"

Kuvira looked up from the historical text in her hands. She snapped it closed before placing it onto the shelf. "It's the first place that's ever felt like home to me," she answered quietly. Waiting for a response, Kuvira then began to pick up the clothing off of Opal's floor. "Why?" she finally asked.

Shrugging, Opal began to run her finger along the seams of the comforter on her bed. "Sometimes, I feel…trapped," she admitted. "I feel suffocated. It's one thing for my mother to say that I can be and do whatever I want, but then she goes around and has me stuck here, under her watch." Pulling her knees to her chest, she wrapped her arms around her legs.

Kuvira placed the clothing that was in her arms into the laundry basket by the bathroom door, she walked over to the bed. Opal watched with a raised eyebrow as Kuvira moved to sit next to her. The metalbender paused, before slowly lowering herself to the floor, resting her back against the bed frame. "She let you travel to Republic City for school," Kuvira reminded her.

"And yet the whole family came with me," Opal bitterly answered. "Even after the whole dorm incident, you had to follow me around. I'm sure it was just as unpleasant for you as it was for me."

"With the fact that I had to spend a lot of my time with Korra, that's a safe bet," Kuvira answered, rolling her eyes.

"She's not that bad."

"Whatever you say."

Opal moved to sit cross-legged. She rested her elbows on the side of her knees, hunching over. Cupping her cheeks with her hands, Opal peered over at Kuvira, who was shifting her metal armor into a more comfortable position. "Why do you care?"

"Excuse me?" Kuvira asked.

"If there's someone you don't like, then why give them the satisfaction of responding?" Opal asked. "They shouldn't be worth of your time or your thoughts. So, why do you hate Korra so much?"

"I never said I hated her," she corrected. "I just don't like her."

"I think you two would be good friends if you weren't so stubborn."

Kuvira scoffed gently. "Have you met your mother? Keeping you here when you clearly would rather be somewhere else," she pointed out. "I guess it's a Beifong thing?"

"She just doesn't understand." Opal exhaled slowly out of her nose. Kuvira hummed in response. She tapped a finger against her chin, before snapping.

"So, why not make her understand?" Kuvira suggested. She got to her feet and walked over to Opal's closet. Leaning inside, she pulled out a sports bag and tossed it into the middle of the floor. Kuvira stalked over to the dressers in the room, pulled out the drawers, and grabbed a handful of clothing.

"What are you talking about?" Opal demanded, her eyes following Kuvira as she made repeated trips from the dresser, to the sports bag, and back.

"You say that you're responsible and can do things on your own. The only way to show her is to prove it." Kuvira placed the last handful of clothing into the suitcase. She stuck her hand out, jerking it up by the wrist. The zipper of the bag quickly fastened itself.

"…That's not a bad idea." Opal slowly slid off of her bed. Kuvira turned to face her, her arms crossed over her chest. A slight smirk nestled on her face. Opal picked up the bag and slung it over her shoulder.

"You said it yourself; you won't be able to learn about airbending here without a proper teacher," Kuvira pointed out. "And this way, they will just think that you're going to the gym," she added. Opal walked back to her bed and picked up her cell phone, placing it into her pocket.

"But, what will happen when she finds out?" Opal questioned, her voice hushed as she exited her bedroom. Kuvira gently shut the door behind them before leading her down the hall. With her chin tilted upwards, and her hands clasped behind her back, anyone that would pass the two of them would do so without a second glance.

"You'll be long gone by then, so it won't be much of an issue," Kuvira answered out of the corner of her mouth. "Although, that could easily change once she brings Aiwei in, or the Metal Clan." Opal frowned. Before she could say anything, Kuvira nonchalantly waved the thought away. "I'll deal with it when we get to it."

The two walked in silence as their made their way down to the ground floor of the Beifong Estate. On the way, they had to pass by the dining room. Opal took a quick glance inside. Her mother was chatting happily with her husband about one of his projects, Baatar Jr. was immersed in his book, Huan was drawing in a sketch pad, and Wing and Wei were pretend sparring, the piece of kiwi split in half.

"Maybe I should take some food with me

"No, it'd make your leave noticeable," Kuvira called over her shoulder. "Just use your name and whatever small tricks you can come up with to get some free food." Opal looked at her in shock and amazement. "I lived on the streets myself, remember?" She slowed to a stop as they approached the Beifong Estate doors.

"Weren't you lonely?" Opal questioned.

Kuvira reached up and tucked her bangs behind her ear. Her olive green eyes turned a slight shade darker as she sighed. "Of course I was. I was eight with no set plans on where to go or what to do," she quietly admitted. "I got lucky that your mother found me."

"What if I'm not that lucky?" Opal walked up and put her hand on the doorknob. Twisting it slowly, she heard the gears and springs wind, before pulling the door open. She winced as she sun shined brightly into the foyer. "What if no one wants to help?"

"You're smart," Kuvira answered with a shrug. "You'll be able to figure things like this out. You were able to sneak Bolin and his brother and your friends into and out of your dorm, right?"

Opal smiled gently at the memory. "It was more Korra's plan…" Kuvira straightened up, clasping her hands behind her back, standing with her legs together, and her chest slightly puffed out. When Opal looked in her direction, she gave a small nod before saluting. "I can't," Opal muttered, dropping her bag to the floor. She tightened her grip on the door handle before pushing the door closed. "It'd hurt her too much."

Kuvira nodded once in understanding. "Then I will help you with your items," she said, bending down to pick up her bag. Kuvira tilted her head to the side, passing the shoulder strap by her left ear, allowing it to rest on her left shoulder. Once she straightened, she looked over at Opal, frowning at the half-smirk on the young girl's face.

"You were never going to let me leave were you?" Opal questioned.

"That depends." Kuvira answered. She raised a shoulder before clasping her hands behind her back.

"On?"

"On how far you would have gone. And now, we will never know." Kuvira stepped to the side, allowing Opal to walk by her as they headed back up the stairs of the Beifong Estate. "However, if you do want to go back to Republic City, I meant it, you have to prove to your mother that you're as responsible as you say you are." Kuvira then bit back a groan. "And if that means I have to go with you, then it won't kill me."

"You can stop pretending," Opal said with a smile. "Even though Korra is currently missing, something tells me that once she's found, you'll be looking forward to another matchup against her."

"You're very in tune with things around you," Kuvira commented. "Are you use you're not an earth bender?"

"…Thank you…for listening to me." Opal then frowned. "You didn't have to do it just because I'm Suyin Beifong's daughter or Jr.'s sister."

"That's not the reason why I did it." Kuvira shook her head. "I did it because you're Opal and you needed someone to talk to. Your last name doesn't mean anything in these circumstances. You're a person that needed to vent just like everyone else." She brushed her bangs away from her face. "Plus, you're the closest thing I have to an actual sister, and growing up, I would have loved having someone older to turn to."

"Thanks."

Kuvira shrugged. "You're welcome."

Chapter Text

Asami pace around the living room of her apartment. She pulled out her phone and re-read her last message from Opal. She sighed in frustration and quicken her pace as she shoved the device into her pocket. Kiyoko was seated on the couch.

"Asami, you're really on edge," Kiyoko commented quietly. Leaning forward, she pushed at the side of a coaster, moving it across the table top in her direction. A steaming cup of tea perched on top. "This will help."

"Of course I'm on edge," Asami muttered. She paused mid-step, reaching up to rub her temples. "Korra is still missing, my company is slowly being run into the ground, someone betrayed me, I can't bring myself to tell one of my friends that their girlfriend isn't coming back, and I just got scared for the umpteenth time by a baby spirit." She sighed hard before curling up in an arm chair near the table. "It would actually be cute if it weren't so evil." She picked up her cup of tea, blowing gently on it twice, before taking a drink.

"That's also surprising, because there isn't a spirit portal here," Kiyoko pointed out. She looked out the window of the apartment at the vast skyline of Republic City. The sun was beginning to set and cast an orange glow among the buildings. "I don't even think there is any spiritual energy in Republic City."

"Yeah, that confused me as well," Asami answered. She looked down at her reflection in her tea. She tapped her fingers against the cup, her mind racing as fast as the ripples on the liquid's surface moved toward the edges of the cup. The two sat in silence, the only sound coming from a clock in the room.

"Maybe it means Korra's back?" Kiyoko said quietly. Asami quickly lifted her head at her friend's name. She glanced over at Kiyoko, her green eyes narrowing slightly, in thought. She motioned with a jerk of her head, for Kiyoko to continue. "Well, didn't you say that when you were in the South the dark spirits were after her? And she did open the portal…" she trailed off with a shrug.

"She would have told us if she were back." Asami answered, more for herself than for debunking Kiyoko's thought. She propped her elbow up on the arm of the chair, leaning the side of her head onto her closed fist. Her eyes were fixed on the wall across the room from her. "We'd be able to help her, we're-"

"Team Avatar," Kiyoko interrupted. "I know." While there wasn't a harsh tone laced in with her words, Asami instantly picked up on the undertones of annoyance. She cringed on the inside, reminding herself to give a proper apology later.

For the past few days, all Asami would talk about was her company or Team Avatar used to be. With Bolin working on his movers, and Mako swamped with police work, Kiyoko was the only person available who would listen. While Asami was grateful that her friend would be of assistance when it came to venting, she didn't realize until now how much of a broken record she sounded. Plus, it probably didn't help that she reflected on the "good times" when Kiyoko was still fairly new to the group.

"What if she's just trying to keep you out of harm's way?" Kiyoko asked, raising a shoulder.

"That would be something Korra would do, if it ever came down to it," Asami admitted. "She always puts others before herself." Her voice got quieter with each passing word. After emitting a loud sigh, she reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. Kiyoko instantly got up from her seat on the couch, and grabbed a hold of Asami's wrist, stopping her from pressing the power button with her thumb.

Asami looked up at her in confusion. "You're obsessed with your phone," Kiyoko said, gently pulling the electronic device out of Asami's hand and placing it onto the table. "I know you're worried about Korra, but you need to take some time for yourself. It's what she would have wanted." Asami smiled softly in response. "Besides, you know she would be mad that you're too busy worrying about her than getting things done. So, how about we talk about something else?"

"That'd be great, thanks." Asami finished the rest of her tea before setting the cup back onto the coaster on the table in front of her. She and Kiyoko turned when they heard a buzzing sound from across the room. Asami's work phone was plugged into the wall being charged. The phone had lit up, indicating a new message or a missed call.

"…So what are you going to do about Xu?" Kiyoko asked.

"Nothing." Asami snuggled into the corner of the chair. Her stocking covered feet were wedged into the side of the armrest, as a way to keep herself locked in. The chair was a decent size to sit in, but not one to really curl up in and relax.

"But, Asami-"

I know she didn't do anything. I trust Xu…please…don't let her be a part of this…

"I don't have any proof that she is the one who's behind everything," she interrupted. Crossing her arms over her chest, she raised a shoulder. "It wouldn't be good to start pointing fingers. How will people view me as a leader?"

"…They don't….really view you that…positively, right now anyway," Kiyoko said, taking up sudden interest in a few knick-knacks along the wall.

"Kiyoko!"

"It is true," she said defensively. She grunted softly as a pillow was thrown into the side of her face. Kiyoko tried to look angry and intimidating but couldn't help but smile as Asami howled with laughter. It was the first time since hearing about Korra's disappearance that she had seen Asami enjoying herself. While she did get good reports from Bolin about Asami during their trips to the karaoke bar, she worried about her friend's wellbeing with how much she has been working and preparing for the spring semester of her final year at RITA.

"I kind of miss it when you were quiet," Asami joked.

"Ha, ha," Kiyoko stuck out her tongue. She tossed the pillow to the other end of the couch. "So, what happens now?"

"Right now, I just need to focus. You're right, and Korra's right. I do need to worry about myself," Asami said, shifting in the chair to find a more comfortable position. "Partnering with Varrick has been helpful, and the police are on the case about the bombing at the Cultural Center as well as the theft from my warehouse." She stifled a loud yawn by covering her hand over her mouth. It was then Kiyoko realized how tired Asami really looked. While Asami is amazing with a makeup brush, she was still able to detect the dark circles underneath her eyes. "Applications for new interns should be coming in soon, so I can work on that around school and my Senior Project."

"How will you be able to work on that if Kuvira has gone back to Zaofu with Opal and the rest of the Beifongs?" Kiyoko wondered.

"I'll figure something out." A swift knock came at the front door. "I'll get it," Asami said, motioning for Kiyoko to sit back down. She walked over towards the front door, pulling out her cell phone and glancing at the screen. The urge to throw the electronic device welled up inside her upon noticing she didn't receive a new text. While she wanted to look at the text thread she and Korra had, there was no point. Her last few message will remain unanswered until her friend is found.

Sighing hard, she re-pocketed her phone before unlocking the door, and regarding her visitor. She smiled brightly upon seeing Bolin, but it faded as soon as she noticed the glum look on his face. She stepped to the side, allowing him to pass. He slowly trudged into the room, his shoulders hunched over. Pabu chirped happily before jumping off his owner's shoulders and climbing up onto Asami's before nuzzling her cheek.

"Hey," he called out slowly when he noticed Kiyoko sitting on the couch. She quickly hopped up and went into the kitchen, pouring him a cup of tea. Bolin collapsed onto the couch, before crossing his arms over his chest, a gravity pulling his lower lip into a pout.

"Why do you look so upset, Bolin?" Asami took a seat next to him on the couch. Pabu jumped down from her shoulder and took up residence in her lap. She lightly scratched behind his ears. He chirped happily before relaxing, his eyes fluttering closed.

"Mako and I got into a fight," he announced with a heavy sigh. Kiyoko came back into the room and placed his cup of tea on an empty coaster. Bolin harshly grabbed the tea cup, and lifted it to his lips, before pointing his pinky finger into the air and taking a delicate sip.

"Isn't that what brother's do?" Kiyoko asked. She looked over at Asami and shrugged. "I wouldn't really know, since I'm an only child." Asami nodded in agreement.

"Yeah, but this one felt different." Bolin took another sip of his drink. He titled the cup in Pabu's direction. The fire ferret stuck his nose into the air, sniffing like mad. He popped his eyes open before crawling over and sticking his tongue into the warm liquid. Kiyoko made a sound of disgust as Asami chuckled. "It feels like…things are about to change," he said darkly.

Kiyoko and Asami exchanged another look, this time filled with worry. Asami cleared her throat before offering up a smile. "Maybe that's because you're about to be a giant mover star?" she suggested. Bolin looked over at her, his pout slowly forming into a smile.

"You're still coming to the premier, right?" he asked.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world." Asami nodded. "Sure, I'll have to go to Spring Semester orientation really early in the morning the next day, but how many people will be able to say they've gone to a mover premier?"

"How many people can say they're friends with a mover star?" Kiyoko pointed out. "You'll be the first one. And we can say that we knew you when you were just Bolin". As Asami and Bolin began to talk about the events of the night, Kiyoko's phone began to ring. She quickly pulled it out of her pocket, before wilting in disappointment as she read the screen. Soon, confusion flittered onto her face as she took full notice of the phone number.

"Hello?" Kiyoko said, as she answered the phone. Asami and Bolin flinched as she quickly got to her feet. "Are you okay?" She waved Bolin away as he leaned over to tug at the bottom of her shirt, trying to catch her attention. "What?" she gasped.

"What?!" Asami and Bolin hissed.

"Okay, we're on our way," Kiyoko said before hanging up the phone. She continued to stare at the lit up screen as her hands began to shake. Asami climbed to her feet, apologizing quietly to Pabu as he tumbled to the floor, before taking Kiyoko by the shoulders and turning her so that they were face to face.

"What's wrong, Kiyoko?" she demanded.

"Mako's been arrested…for bombing the Cultural Center."

Chapter Text

Asami gasped, jumping back in shock, dropping the wrench in her hand. The clang of the metal hitting the ground echoed across the empty room. She placed a hand over her heart, breathing slowly to bring her adrenaline to a stop. Glaring she took a set closer, peering down at the baby spirit that had popped up through her tool box.

Its long fangs were bared, and its hair was on edge. However, its chubby body, huge eyes, and quiet snarls made it look more cute than menacing. She wasn't sure what animal hybrid the spirit was supposed to be, but she didn't really care since it was more of a nuisance than a pressing problem. Asami exhaled sharply before reaching her hand out and grabbing the spirit by the scruff of its neck. The spirit squirmed, turning so that its fangs were right by her wrist. Opening its mouth widely, the spirit clamped down on Asami's arm. While a normal animal would have injured her, its bites felt more like nibbles.

Asami lifted the spirit so that she was looking directly in its face. "Why do you keep bothering me?" she insisted. The spirit immediately stopped what it was doing, its large eyes focused on Asami's face. "Why am I a threat to you?"

"A threat to who?" Xu questioned as she stepped into the room. Asami turned to look at her, slightly dropping her arm. "Who are you talking to?"

"This spirit," Asami insisted, thrusting her hand out. Xu looked at it and then back at Asami before taking careful steps forward. As soon as they were toe to toe, Xu place her hands on Asami's shoulders. It was then Asami noticed her empty hand and slowly lowered her arm.

Great, she must think I'm insane!

"Honey, you need some rest," Xu said gently. "How about you take some time to yourself before the premiere tonight?"

Asami quickly took up interest in a blueprint on the table. There wasn't much on the paper except for some rough sketches on a new machine she was working on. It would explain the many piles of various metals, nuts, and bolts scattered across the floor. "…I can't," she said, raising a shoulder. "I want to get some things done."

Xu exhaled gently out of her nose before brushing some of Asami's long hair out of her face. "You look like you haven't gotten much sleep in a while."

"I haven't, but this is nothing." Asami forced a smile. "It just feels like finals week…but there's more at stake." She licked her lips, tapping her thumbs against the surface of the table. "Why do you want me to leave so badly?" she asked.

Xu made a quit grunting sound before dropping her hand. Asami's dark hair fell back into her face, creating a curtain, shielding whatever look Xu was giving her, much to her relief. Asami didn't know if she would be able to handle the look that was surely set upon her face. "…You think I stole Future Industries' items from the warehouse." Xu's inflection made it a statement more than a question.

Asami rapidly shook her head. "No, I don't," she insisted.

"Because you don't know what to believe."

Brushing her hair back behind her ear, Asami finally lifted her head and faced Xu. She bit her bottom lip, the waxy coating of her lipstick invaded her mouth, coated her taste buds. Not that she was able to taste much of anything with her mouth suddenly becoming dry. "Everything seems to be there, but…I just know you didn't do it."

"Thank you." Xu nodded. "You don't know what that means to me. However, I know I didn't do anything that I'm accused of, so I just have to continue to work."

"As should I."

Xu peered closely at Asami. Her gaze was so intense she was able to hold Asami's focus, no matter how hard she tried to shift it. "…You haven't gone and visited your friend yet. Have you? The one that was arrested?" she questioned.

"No, I haven't." Asami turned around so that she leaned up against the table. She shrugged, shaking her head. "My friends have been leaving me messages, saying he'd like to see me and prove that he wasn't behind everything he was accused of. I know he isn't."

"…it's because of your father?"

"I didn't go to see my father in jail, and I don't want to see him," Asami said harshly. "My father deserves to be in there. He did so many illegal things and he almost killed me…" she had to pause to swallow, a lump was rapidly growing in her throat. "…but Mako shouldn't be in there. And yet, it's just too hard."

"That's perfectly understandable." Xu placed a hand on Asami's shoulder giving it a light squeeze. Asami lifted her hand so that her palm rested against Xu's knuckles. "I'll let you get back to work. I just came in here to let you know that your dress and shoes have arrived. They are in your office."

"Thank you, Xu." Asami turned to face the older woman. "Would you like to take some time off? This way you won't have to deal with everything that's going on."

"No," she answered firmly. "Why should I hide my face when I didn't do what I'm accused of? That's what they want me to do." Slowly shaking her head, she offered up a smile. "I won't give them the satisfaction."

"That's good to hear. Maybe I'll learn from you one day."

"How so?"

Asami shrugged. She didn't mean to lay out all of her problems, but the reassuring squeeze from Xu, and the feeling of her warmth underneath her hand just caused her to explain. "Just, some things at school. I'm not really looking forward to going back. Don't get me wrong, I'd like to graduate-"

"Is that Rika girl still bothering you?" Xu demanded.

"Not as of late…not for a while, actually. I know she'll start up when we get back to school. The thing is, I'm not sure what I did to make her hate me so much," Asami admitted.

After a moment, Asami turned to look at Xu when she didn't respond. The older woman's hand was titled to the side, her eyes narrowing slightly I thought. Her lips were slightly pursed. "Why do you care that she hates you?"

"We used to be friends-"

"That girl is not a friend!" Xu snapped. "I've seen you flourish under your friendship with the Avatar and everyone else. That girl is something, but she can't be called a friend. She'll never be called a friend." As the seconds passed, the tension in her shoulders dispersed. "The only thing you can do, is offer condolences for whatever she's going through and then move past it. It's the only way I've been able to deal with Raiken for so long," she added with a wink.

Asami wanted to smile, but the mention of Raiken cause her to frown. "If I were a better leader, he would have been gone a while ago."

"You weren't a leader, you were a girl who had to jump into a big position, and you have accomplished so much. Raiken just wanted power, and he went the wrong way to get it," Xu gently reminded her. "You have a vision, not just for yourself, but for plenty of women around here. You care about your employers. You care about everyone…even your friend who you keep looking at your phone to see if she's finally responded." Xu nodded pointedly at Asami's hand that rested on her phone in her pocket.

"I thought working would help."

"It's only a temporary fix, just like drinking and other things. If anything really bad happened to the Avatar, then the whole world would have known by now," Xu pointed out. "It's a positive even though it still isn't." Xu took a hold of Asami's face, palms resting on her cheeks. "Now, go get dressed and be with your friends," she ordered.

"Thanks Xu," Asami said through a tearful smile.

Xu nodded once before gently cradling Asami's head against her chest. "I love you, you know that. Worrying won't fix everything. And I'm sure everyone has told you this hundreds of times…please, just focus on yourself for right now. Or Bolin, too, in this situation." After a few moments passed she gently pushed Asami away. "Now, will you please go and have some before I have to kick your butt?"

"Okay, I'm going," Asami laughed. Xu reached out and wiped a tear that was forming in the outer corner of Asami's eye away with her thumb. She then lightly tapped Asami against the chin with her fist before leaving the room. Before Asami could move, her phone vibrated four times in her pocket, indicating she was receiving a call. "What's up Kiyoko?" she asked upon answering.

"I just got back from visiting Mako," Kiyoko answered quietly. "It's really weird…seeing my boyfriend in jail."

"It's hard seeing anyone in jail," Asami muttered.

"All he wanted to talk about was you and your company, and how he really wanted to let you know he wasn't behind everything that he's charged with."

"I know he isn't, just like I know Xu isn't." Asami frowned when she heard silence on the other end of the line. Crossing an arm over her chest, she rested her elbow on the back of her empty hand. "What's wrong Kiyoko?" she asked.

"I can't help but feel jealous that he's so close to you and Korra," Kiyoko admitted. "I mean, you two are fantastic and I'm…me."

"Hey, he's with you for a reason. I know the feeling though, when you're with someone and then wonder why because they could have easily picked someone else." Her thoughts quickly floated to Iroh and how he did actually end up with someone else. She reached down and punched herself in the thigh, jarring her thoughts. "But he's crazy about you. Sure, he may not be the easiest to talk to, but he's a great guy."

"…Are you sure there's nothing going on between you two?" she asked. Moments later she was apologizing, her words a jumbled mess by how fast she was talking.

"No, we're friends," Asami insisted.

"What about Korra? I mean, I don't know her that well, and-"

"I've only known her for a few months and I can assure you she wouldn't do something to get in the way of your relationship. However, you'd have to talk to him about that since…she's still not here." She cleared her throat once. "It did unnerve me a little bit that he was still in love with her when we dated briefly, but it also makes sense. Korra's pretty great."

"How can I compete with the Avatar?"

"You shouldn't, and you're not. You're Kiyoko and that's fantastic for him," Asami answered. "When Mako gets passionate about something, or righting a wrong, it may be the only thing he focuses on, but that can be an endearing quality as well."

"You're right," Kiyoko sighed.

"You need to get your mind off of things," she suggested. As do I. "Come to the premier with me. Bolin would love to have an extra friendly face there since Opal can't attend."

"You still haven't told him?"

"No, and I won't. Not until after the premier. It's his night," Asami answered. She rubbed the back of her neck, wondering when would be the right time to tell him. "I'll see you later. Let's have dinner before we go."

"Sounds good," Kiyoko answered. She then sighed, before taking on a brighter tone. "Thanks, Sami."

Asami hesitated when Kiyoko had called her by a nickname. It was a name Korra had begun to use for her, aside from the occasional Tinkerbell here and there. "…Anytime." Asami ended the phone call before staring at her cell phone screen. She took a deep breath before pulling up her text messages, and began to compose a new message.

Hey Korra,

Bolin has a premier tonight for his movers. He got us boxseats with President Raiko and Ginger. It's going to be held at the Pro-Bending Arena. Things are a little crazy right now, but I guess that's the norm for us. While we're all pulled in different directions, we'll still come and help you and your tribe. In case you ever see this, just know that we've got your back.

Asami pressed SEND before placing her phone back into her pocket. Stooping down to pick up the wrench she had dropped, she pulled her hand back in surprise as the baby spirit quickly ran up, blocking the object with its body.

"You know, I'd be a tad bit more annoyed if you weren't cute," Asami sighed. She carefully pushed the spirit away before picking up the wrench. She moved over to the table and hovered over a blueprint. She slowly scanned the white lines, reading the small notes she had left for herself. It wasn't until she felt a tap against her arm that she was pulled out of her reverie. The baby spirit looked up at her with its big eyes, before leaning forward and head-butting her arm.

"You are beginning to bug me," Asami mumbled as she shooed the spirit away. "Add that to my list: I'm not good with children or animals." The spirit head-butted her arm once more. Again, she shooed the spirit away before tossing the wrench back into her tool box. It jumped at the loud sound, baring its fangs at the red box. Detecting that it was distracted, Asami headed out of the room and in the direction of her office. She paused, a foot in the air when a rustling sound came from behind her.

Turning around, she groaned quietly. The spirit had followed her, but with a crumpled up piece of paper in its mouth. Asami sighed hard before crouching low to the ground. "Do you want me to see this?" she questioned. The spirit dropped the piece of paper, before blinking rapidly up at her. Asami carefully unfolded the paper to discover that it was a photo. The edges were ripped, indicating that it was torn out of a newspaper

"Why is Raiken with Varrick?" she whispered. Her cellphone vibrated. Asami quickly plunged her hand into her pocket and pulled out the electronic device.

Bolin: -5:47 pm- Kiyoko just told me about dinner plans. How could you not invite me? :'( I'm hurt, but will be able to get over it if you treat a rising star to some of the best noodles in town. Let's go to Narook's.

Asami smiled softly. Leave it to Bolin to know how to distract me

Asami: -5:47pm- Anything for an upcoming mover star. Something tells me that tonight will be unforgettable. I just need to get changed and then I'll head out. I can't wait to see the mover.

Chapter Text

Asami tapped a pencil against her open notebook, staring at the blank page, her lips pulled down into a frown. Sighing, she slowly dropped her head onto the notebook, whimpering quietly, before repeatedly tapping her forehead against the paper. She didn't even move when she heard the chair being pulled back next to her.

"Having fun?" Kiyoko questioned, laughing gently. She placed her hand, palm up, onto the notebook and caught Asami by the forehead, before gently pushing her back up. "What's wrong?"

"I talked to my advisor about wanting to change my Senior Project topic and it was approved," Asami answered. "However, I don't have any ideas on what to change it to."

"Well, what was your original idea?"

"I wanted to create ways for non-benders to bend," she explained. "It was essentially like my electric glove but you would be able to conjure elements like fire, but it would be for safety reason, kind of like pepper spray." Asami crossed her arms over her chest, and leaned back in her chair. "I mean, how else would non-benders be able to protect themselves against benders if the opportunity ever arose?"

Kiyoko's eyes widened, her jaw dropping in shock. "That's an amazing idea." She leaned over and grabbed her school bag before dropping it on top of her desk. Unbuckling the clasp, she pulled out a day planner and flipped to a marked page. "I wish I were that smart."

"You are!" Asami insisted.

"Then why do I need to be tutored in every subject I'm taking?" Kiyoko asked. She leaned over and showed Asami the various tutoring sessions marked in light blue. Of course, Asami knew about some of the sessions since she has agreed to continue to tutor Kiyoko whenever she needed it.

"There's no shame in that."

Sighing, Kiyoko closed the planner with a snap. She clasped her hands together and rested them on top of the planner before eyeing Asami out of her peripheral. "What are you going to change your project to anyway?" she asked, abruptly changing the subject.

"…Something more fun."

"Does Kuvira know about the change?"

"Yes, and she was angry about it." Asami rolled her eyes. "However, she isn't coming back so it wouldn't make too much of a difference. I did tell her that if she would like to continue to work on the project she can, as long as I'm told of any significant changes and things of the like."

Before Kiyoko could respond, the door to the classroom slowly slid open. Asami began to write down various ideas into her notebook, but stopped when she felt a light pinch to her arm. She glanced over at Kiyoko, before facing forward to see what she was staring at. Asami's eyes widened as Rika and Manami stepped into the room.

Rika's hair was dyed dark shade, her skin was very pale, and she looked much thinner than before. She appeared sullen and indifferent to the whispering that erupted around her in the room. Manami had an arm around her shoulders and guided her to an empty seat.

"I wonder what happened to her," Asami muttered.

"I hear she went Goth because Iroh broke up with her," Kiyoko whispered.

"You shouldn't be starting rumors."

"I'm not starting rumors…I'm spreading it," she said with an air of nonchalance. Asami glanced over at Kiyoko, raising an eyebrow. "Only to you, though."

"Should I talk to her?" Asami questioned. She couldn't help but continue to stare at Rika. The girl kept her head down but continued to talk quietly with Manami. Her hands were folded her lap, her body stiff in the chair. "I know what it feels like to be dumped by him."

"Only if you have a death wish," Kiyoko commented.

"So, what time do you want to come over and study?" Asami asked. She placed her pen behind her ear, before turning to face Kiyoko. She then smiled as Kiyoko groaned, clearly indicating that she had hoped the topic change would have continued to stray away from the idea of studying. "We can get a head start on the semester."

"How about you come to my place?"

"You're not still mad about Korra kissing Mako are you?" Asami questioned. "She had amnesia."

During Bolin's premier of his mover, he had single handedly thwarted a plot on President Raiko's kidnapping. After all of the commotion and the evacuation of the arena as per Chief Lin Beifong's request, everyone had gathered outside and was greeted by the arrival of Korra and Tenzin. She had desperately tried to get President Raiko to lend her some of the city's military to lend a hand in aiding the war brewing between the Northern and Southern Water Tribes.

Around this time, Varrick and Raiken were arrested and placed in jail. Varrick was arrested for bombing the Cultural Center as well as other various crimes, while Raiken was arrested in aiding of the theft of the warehouse, wanting revenge against Asami for firing him and for "public humiliation" as well as "harassment". Upon Mako's release from jail Korra happily kissed him, mentioning that she had amnesia and while some details were still a bit fuzzy, she had remembered she was still dating Mako. On the downside, she didn't remember ever meeting or befriending Kiyoko or Asami.

At the time, Asami was upset that her friend wasn't aware who she was, however Korra did greet her warmly when Mako had insisted they were friends and Asami offered her assistance in the reconciliation attempt of the two tribes. As a result of the kiss, Kiyoko was understandably hurt when her boyfriend didn't deny that he and Korra were dating when the latter had asked if everything was okay between them, relationship wise.

"I know she did, but it's still hard to get over." Kiyoko frowned. "You were mad as well."

"I was mad that he essentially lied to her about their relationship and didn't take your feelings into regard, but everything is back to normal now."

"I just need a bit more time."

"Okay, then we'll go to your place after school." The bell rang loudly, indicating the homeroom was over. The teacher at the desk stood up and moved to open the door to the classroom, greeting everyone as they exited. Asami slipped her school bag over her shoulder before getting up out of her chair. On her way out of the classroom, she got jostled a bit by some students behind her and ended up bumping into someone on the right.

"Sorry about that," Asami apologized, moving to help the person she bumped into. Manami quickly stepped up and slapped her hand away.

"Whatever," Rika mumbled, refusing to look at her. "Let's go to class, Manami," she said, before grabbing onto her friend's arm. Manami sneered at Asami before allowing Rika to pull her away. Asami stared as they joined the flow of students in the halls.

---

Asami entered the apartment, quickly ridding herself of her shoes. She placed them by the door and gave Naga a few scratches behind her ears before heading into the living room. She dropped her stuff on to the couch, before walking around it and taking a seat on the floor next to the couch, where Korra was curled up, reading something on her laptop. "Long day?" she questioned. She smiled, her cheeks moving, causing the bandage on her cheek to crinkle a little. Korra adjusted her seat on the couch, moving a bag of ice behind her back and dropping it to the floor.

After Korra's battle against Vaatu and Unaalaq, she was forced to take a few days' rest. Initially, she hated the idea of being so idle, but now she was enjoying the idea of lounging around and not having to worry about any responsibilities. Doubling that with school not yet being back in session at Republic School for the Gifted, she was perfectly content. However, knowing Korra, she wouldn't be able to stay idle for too long.

"Very long," Asami sighed. She reached for the bowl of grapes sitting on the table and smiled happily when she found it half eaten.

"I'm so glad I don't have to be back in school yet," Korra commented.

"I actually don't mind the normality of going to school." She shrugged and stretched her knee-high sock covered feet out in front of her, happily wiggling her toes. "I mean, we haven't had any disturbance in the world for a few weeks, my company is finally blooming, and I can get back to my fun projects."

"Like tinkering and youtube videos?" she questioned, turning her attention back to her laptop. "I don't even know when you have time to film them. I never see you do it. It's like you're a ghost or something," Korra said, more to herself.

"And…to be honest…modeling, a bit." Asami placed the bowl of fruit back onto the table before taking a seat on the couch next to Korra's feet. Korra lowered the lid of her laptop, regarding Asami with an amused expression. "Xu think that with the changes at the company I should be putting myself out there a bit more. It's not as bad as I remember it being."

"So that's where you've been disappearing off to."

"And to tutor Kiyoko."

Korra's smile instantly faded. "She's still mad?"

"Yes, but I'm sure she'll be over it soon. Don't worry." Asami said reassuringly.

"So…modeling? Is there something you can't do?"

"Can't or won't? There's a big difference." Korra rolled her eyes before playfully sticking out her tongue. Asami chuckled as she gathered up her items from the couch. Yawning, she glanced out a nearby window, smiling at the view of the setting sun, before heading to a closet by the front door to put her items away. Upon opening the door, she let out a cry of shock when the baby spirit jumped out and landed at her feet. It began to nip lightly at her ankle.

"Are you okay?" Korra asked as she limped over to Asami's side.

"Why do you keep following me?" Asami questioned. "Go back to the Spirit Wilds, there's bound to be others like you there."

Upon restoration of tranquility among the Northern and Southern Water Tribes, and keeping the two Spirit Portals open, spirit vines had grown throughout the heart of Republic City. It tore up the streets and fused into many nearby buildings. It's become such a hassle that there have been many evacuations as of late. President Raiko has been desperate in trying to get rid of the vines, even coming close to giving Korra an ultimatum: get rid of the vines or leave the city. Asami was upset by his choices, but could see where he was coming from. She has had the unfortunate reputation of destroying parts of his city since she arrived.

Korra eyed the spirit closely before crouching down near it. The spirit looked over at Korra before growling at her. Korra exhaled sharply out of her nose before moving into the kitchen and turning on the faucet. She then began to bend the water around the spirit, forming it into a sphere and gently cradling it above the ground. The water began to glow and the purple and dark hues of the spirit slowly began to fade.

"It's an ocelot-eagle spirit," Asami whispered once the spirit was placed back onto the ground. Korra turned off the faucet and rejoined Asami by the front door. She leaned up against the wall, her arms crossed over her chest, and smirk on full display as the spirit nuzzled against Asami's leg.

"A baby ocelot-eagle spirit," Korra corrected. "Congratulations, Asami, you're a new mother."

"Excuse me?"

"Ocelot-eagles are used to intercept messages and can be vicious animals." Korra nodded at the spirit that quickly jumped up and took residence on Asami's shoulder. "This one is just a baby, so I think when it found you, it thought you were its mother."

"Last time I encountered this spirit when it was dark, it gave me the photo of Varrick and Raiken." Asami tapped her chin in thought.

"See, it delivered a message. Anyway, since you were the first thing it saw, it thinks you're its mother." Korra took a step forward and held her wrist up to the spirit. It looked at Korra's wrist before licking it lightly. It then nuzzled its face into Korra's palm when she began to scratch it behind the ears. Naga growled from the corner.

"Oh, don't be jealous," Korra snapped. "So what are you going to name him?"

"Name him?" Asami repeated.

"Or her. I'm not entirely sure of it's a boy or girl."

"Haven't you taken basic anatomy?" Asami asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Thanks Columbus, but as you can see there's no identifying parts." Korra rolled her eyes. She picked the spirit up off of Asami's shoulder and held it up into the air in her roommate's face, trying to prove her point.

"Hermes," Asami answered.

Korra blinked. "Bless you."

"No, I'm naming this spirit Hermes, after the Greek God, who was an advisor to Zeus and a messenger to all of the other gods and goddesses," she rattled off. Hermes squirmed out of Korra's grasp, falling in Asami's direction. Asami quickly reached her arms out and caught the spirit, who then curled up and fell fast asleep.

"I thought they taught you science at your fancy school," Korra commented.

"Ha, ha," Asami answered dryly.

"No need for your sarcasm, you know you missed me."

"I did, I missed a lot of things when you were gone," Asami admitted. She let out another yawn. "I think I'm just going to head to sleep."

"Let me know if you need anything," Korra said as she limped back into the living room. She collapsed onto the couch and gathered up her laptop. "Goodnight, Tink," she called out as Asami headed into her bedroom.

Asami beamed. "Thanks. Goodnight." With that she closed her bedroom door and flicked on a nearby lamp. She walked over to her bed and moved a pillow to the floor before placing Hermes on top of it, all the while holding her breath so as to not awaken it. Asami was so tired that she had decided to skip dinner for the night.

However, sleep didn't come as easily as she expected. She tossed and turned for twenty minutes before giving up. Her mind raced too much for her to be able to relax enough to get to sleep. Reaching into pocket of her skirt, she pulled out her phone and sent Korra a text message.

Asami: -8:47 pm- Pillow?

During the Southern Water Tribe's Summer Solstice Festival, Asami had attempted the Polar Bear Dog plunge to prove her worth. After her momentary lapse of judgement she was constantly looked after by Senna and Korra. Although Korra mainly took the 'job' since she felt that she was to blame for Asami taking the jump. While recuperating, Asami would text the word pillow, to Korra, indicating that she needed another one. Soon, the word took on new meaning between the two of them. Now, whenever one of them would text pillow to the other, it mean that they needed to talk about something, wanted their company, or actually wanted a pillow. Either way, it usually ended with them talking into the early hours of the morning and sharing a bite to eat

Korra: -8:47 pm- Sure, I'll order us a pizza.

Chapter Text

Asami plucked a pair of earbuds out of her ears, before slowly turning to face Korra, who was lounging on the couch. The hair from the wolf-tail at the top of her head covered her face, her left leg dangled to the ground, an empty bowl of popcorn rested on her firm stomach. Asami rolled her eyes before leaning over and pinching her friend on the thigh.

“Ow,” Korra muttered, her inflection clearly indicating that the action hadn’t hurt in the slightest.

“Do you have to keep sighing?” Asami questioned. “I can hear you over my music.”

“I’m bored!” she cried. Brushing her hair out of her face, Korra sat up on the couch, ignoring the bowl tipping over and spilling un-popped kernels in-between the couch cushions. Asami stared at the kernels as her roommate moved to sit up. “I need something to do.”

“Well, you’re still recovering and I have to finish presentation for work,” Asami reminded her. “Then I have to start the laundry, vacuum, and repair that hole in the wall which you still won’t tell me how it got there.”

“Some things are better left unsaid, Asami. It’s good you learn that now.”

Asami wanted to laugh, but she let out a sigh, burying her face in her hands. “I don’t know how I’m going to get this all done.”

“You worry about your presentation,” Korra suggested. “I’ll do the house work.”

“Yeah, like I trust you to do that when you can’t even clean up after yourself in the kitchen,” Asami quietly snapped. She then cleared her throat, before turning to face her roommate, pointing at the bandage on her cheek. “Korra, you’re still recovering,” she pointed out. Korra opened her mouth to protest but Asami quickly cut her off. “You also still have a limp. Katara said you need to take things easy for a few weeks, and those few weeks don’t end until Sunday.”

“I’m fine. Unless you want me to continue to sit here and complain.” With that Korra slumped over and took a deep breath. “Asaaaamiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii,” she started to whine. Asami quickly reached out and placed her hand over Korra’s mouth, instantly silencing her.

“I’m sorry, that was rude.” Asami quickly pulled her hand away. She then raised an eyebrow. “But still, knock it off.” She returned to typing at a furious speed on her laptop.

“You’re a little snippy today,” Korra commented, lightly hitting her roommate on the shoulder with the back of her hand. “What gives?”

Asami paused, her fingers hovering over the keyboard. Korra watched as a muscle in her friend's jaw twitched. Pulling her lips into a thin line, Asami inhaled deeply before closing the laptop lid. Korra’s eyebrows rose as her friend turned towards her with a bright smile. “Nothing,” Asami answered with a shrug. “I’m just a little stressed with work and school.”

“As if that’s new,” Korra snickered.

“Don’t you have cleaning to do?” Asami asked, scooping her laptop up in her arms before getting to her feet.

“Yes ma’am,” she answered sarcastically. Asami reached out and flicked Korra on the side of her head as she passed by the couch. Heading towards her bedroom, she paused upon hearing the doorbell. Placing her laptop on a nearby table, she hummed to herself while moving to greet the visitor at the door.

“Flowers for a Ms. Asami Sato,” a young man said as soon as Asami opened the door. She received the bundle with a small before scribbling her name onto the form the held out in front of her. “Have a nice day ma’am.”

“Thank you, you too,” Asami greeted politely. After closing the door, she tucked the flowers underneath her arm and retrieved her laptop from the table.

“Secret admirer?” Korra called out.

“Nope.” With that, Asami retreated into her bedroom and closed the door behind her. Korra frowned when she heard the lock click into place. Shrugging, she stretched her arm above her head before getting up off of the couch and limping towards the laundry room. Flicking on the light switch she glanced at the washer and dryer before looking down at the two baskets filled with clothing.

Korra bit her bottom lip as she glanced at the two machines one more time. Picking up one of the laundry baskets, she turned on her heel and left the room, instead heading into her bedroom, and then her bathroom, but not before stopping into the kitchen and picking up a bottle of dish soap.

Dropping the basket to the floor as well as the, she turned on the shower and checked to make sure the bathroom door was open to help ventilate the area. Korra waved her hands in the air, bending the water into a giant sphere. Contouring the water with her left hand, she created a gust of air with her right, lifting the clothes out of the basket and into ball of water. She then stomped her foot onto the bottle of dish soap. The built up pressure forced the lid of the bottle open and a stream of soap erupted from the opening. Korra quickie bent the liquid dish soap into the giant ball of water and clothing.

She then moved the orb over into the shower stall, allowing the dripping water to run down the drain. This in turn also allowed water from the shower head to keep the ball of water at a decent size. Korra hummed to herself as she bent the water and soap, turning it into one giant bubble filled with numerous little bubbles. She hummed to herself as she continued to bend the water, occasionally changing it’s directions to cause more bubbles to emit from the current.

“Korra,” Asami called out.

“In here!”

“Hey, I wanted to-what are you doing?” she demanded upon entering the bathroom. Her eyes widened in shock when she spotted the giant ball of water floating in the shower.

“Washing our clothes,” Korra answered with a shrug.

“That’s what a washing machine is for.”

“I don’t know how to use one.” She turned and looked over her shoulder, instantly noting the annoyance and confusion coating Asami’s face. “This is how we wash clothes where I’m from,” she explained. “Mako and Pema always did the laundry when I crashed at their places.”

“Mako washed your panties?” Asami questioned.

Korra groaned, visibly cringing. “Underwear,” she corrected. “Besides, I wear boxers and bindings, remember.”

“Why?”

“Boxers just feel better.”

Asami giggled into her palm. “I meant the bindings.”

“Oh.” A look of discomfort crossed over Korra’s face. She faced forward once more, focusing on the ball of soapy water in front of her. She back suddenly became stiff. It was then Asami picked up on her discomfort. Growing up secluded and manly having male friends must make topics about her body an uncomfortable subject. She also found it endearing that her friend was so shy. “Growing up…I…developed…pretty quickly and they’re kind of…”

“Huge?” Asami supplied.

“You noticed?” Korra asked with a laugh. She turned and winked at Asami over her shoulder. “Am I living with a pervert?”

Asami felt a flutter in her stomach. Heat raced up into her cheeks, and the middle of her palms became clammy. Memories of the kiss she had given her friend on New Year’s came flooding back. She felt her heart skip a beat when she noticed the playful smile on Korra’s face, and a hint of mischief in her blue eyes. “N-no,” she stammered, “it’s just…something that can’t help but be noticed.”

“Sami-Sam, I was kidding,” Korra said reassuringly. She then winced. “Sorry, I don’t know why I just called you that,” she added, apologetically.

“No, it’s okay,” Asami quickly answered, grateful that the topic had changed. “I’ve always wanted nicknames.”

“You don’t like Tinkerbell?”

“That one is nice too. It’s just that I’ve never really been close enough to someone to gain a nickname.” Asami tapped her chin in thought. “So, now I have Sami, Sami-Sam, Samus…at least in your phone, and Tinkerbell. I need to come up with more for you, Angel.”

“I agree, since there is no way I’ll be called that in public,” Korra said with a laugh. “Anyway, because of how active I was growing up and going through…” she trailed off once more.

“Changes,” Asami supplied. She crossed her arms over her chest and leaned against the bathroom doorway.

“Right…regular bras would just draw attention to them. I used sports bras for a while and they were fine until they got…this big.” Korra began to wring the pair of boxers in her hands. A little bit of water dripped into the floor. She ignored the slippery surface as she absentmindedly continued to twist the material in her hands. “When my training became more intense I just wanted them out of the way, so I turned to bindings. They never moved and gave me much better support.” Asami stepped into the room and tugged the pair of boxers out of her friend’s hands before beginning to work on loosening the knot that had ended up forming. “Plus, a few girls I grew up with her jealous that I had developed first and they were jealous that they were so big. They thought it was how I was able to talk to and be friends with guys.” Korra snorted. “I’m friends with guys because-”.

“You are one,” Asami interrupted, holding up the pair of boxers with one finger.

“Huh?”

“Come on, Korra. You burp pretty loudly, you sometimes shove Bolin into your armpit to get him to admit defeat, and you boast about your muscles and how awesome you are,” she listed.

Korra raised an eyebrow before crossing her arms over her chest. “Sorry, I’m still not used to have this whole having a girl friend thing,” she responded, her voice carrying a bit of edge. Asami folded up the boxers into a small square before gently placing it into Korra’s hands.

“I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’m just saying its how you are,” Asami said gently. “You’re fearless and you congratulate yourself on a job well done because you’re proud of your achievements.” She shrugged. “I’m proud of my achievements but I was told I had to be humble. Now people think I’m stuck up when I talk down on things I should be happy about because I can see more mistakes than they can.”

“The problems of growing up in the public eye,” Korra said, nodding slowly. Since she was the Avatar and the daughter of a highly respected member of the Southern Water Tribe, she was able to relate to what Asami had mentioned.

Asami shrugged before smiling sadly. She watched for a few minutes as Korra placed the damp clothing up on the shower rod to drip dry. As soon as Korra moved to gather up the other clothing still sitting in the basket, Asami placed a hand on top of her’s to stop her. “I’m going to show you how to use the washing machine.” After motioning for Korra to pick up the basket, she led her out of the bedroom and into the laundry room. “You separate the clothes by color.”

“You’re supposed to separate them?” Korra asked, promptly dropping the basket onto the laundry room floor.

“Oh, Korra,” Asami groaned. She glanced at the basket that Korra had just dropped into the floor and noticed it filled with black, red, white, blue, and grey clothing. She sighed before rummaging through the other laundry basket and dropping a few pieces of clothing into the drum of the washing machine.

“All of my clothes are various shades of blue and white; give me a break,” Korra said defensively as she moved to help Asami.

“As I was saying, you fill the drum with clothing up to this line at most. You can have as little clothing in here as you want. Just make sure you move this dial to how big or small your load is.” Asami said, pointing to one of the many dials along the dashboard. “After that, you add in a cup of soap.” Korra nodded in understanding before bending down to pluck the dish soap out of the basket she had brought into the room. “Not that soap, this soap.” Asami reached up and plucked an orange container off a shelf above the washer and dryer. “It’s also known as laundry detergent.”

“Okay, so where’s the cup?” Korra asked, glancing over the container.

“It’s usually the lid, but I have no idea where it is,” Asami commented when she noticed she was looking at the easy pour spout of the container instead of a dark blue cap.

“Easy fix.” Korra shrugged. She reached into one of the baskets of clothing and pulled out one of Asami’s pink lacy bras. She then turned grabbed the soap and poured it into one of the cups, filling up the cotton material to the outer edges before tossing it back into the drum. Korra then closed the lid of the washing machine before wiping the sticky residue off onto her pants. It was then she noticed Asami glaring at her, at least attempting to glare at her. A smile was fighting its way onto her face. “What?” Korra asked.

Asami rolled her eyes, chuckling softly and gently pushing Korra out of the way with her elbow. “Then you select the setting by turning the dial, and pulling it out.” With that, Asami closed the lid of the machine, turned the dial to the correct setting and then pulled lightly. A loud hum filled the room and the sound of water followed.

“Cool,” Korra commented. She then reached out to grab the lid of the washing machine. She cried out in shock when Asami smacked the back of her hand.

“And don’t ever open the lid after you start a load,” Asami added. “Now, help me separate the rest of the clothing.” She slowly lowered herself to the ground and began to pull her red and white clothing out of the basket and next to her onto the floor.

“Are you okay?” Korra asked. “You really aren’t yourself today.”

“I’m fine, really,” she answered with a shrug. “I’m just really stressed out.”

Korra nodded in understanding. She grabbed a few pairs of socks and began to bundle them together, all the while periodically glancing over at Asami. She quickly noticed how her friend’s jaw was clenched, and she seemed to overly snap the clothing she was pulling out of the basket. “Pillow?” she asked quietly.

Asami jumped, reacting as if she had forgotten she wasn’t’ alone. Putting on a light smile, shrugged. “No, thanks. Not right now, anyway.” She then paused in the middle of adding a pair of black pants to the pile next to her. “I’m missing a pink bra,” she commented.

“Oh, it’s in the wash,” Korra said, pointing to the machine behind her with the jerk of her thumb.

“Get it out! Pink stains white!” Asami said, attempting to get to her feet. She ended up crashing back down to the floor, as a pair of pants ended up wrapped around her ankles. Korra stared at her in confusion, before getting up and pulling open the lid. “Wait, turn it off first!” Asami shouted.

However, her warning was too little too late as a wave of bubbles exploded from the washing machine, quickly filling the room. Korra spat the bubbles out of her mouth, slowly turning away from the machine, wiping at her face. The entire front side of her was covered from head to toe in bubbles. Asami burst out laughing, the acoustics in the room caused it to echo. She reached up and wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes.

“I knew I’d get you to genuinely smile today,” Korra commented as she lifted a hand and blew the bubbles off. She smiled brightly as they danced into the air. She then waved her arms around, creating a gently breeze and removing the bubbles from her and Asami’s bodies.

“So you actually know how to do laundry?” Asami questioned as she untangled the pair of pants from around her legs.

Korra leaned over and lightly flicked her friend in the forehead. “Duh! I just do it the other way to save on electricity, and it’s fun.” She shrugged before bending the little bit of water out of her clothing. “I’m working on my bending without really working on my bending.”

Before Asami could answer, her phone vibrated in her pocket. She retrieved it and read the new text message she had just received.

Bolin -2:37 pm-: School will be starting up soon and Opal still isn’t back. ☹ She’s also been answering my texts with one word. Do you know what’s going on? Do you think you can find out?

“You still haven’t told him?” Korra asked. She had leaned over to read the text message. Normally, Asami would have scolded her for intruding on the privacy of her correspondence, but couldn’t bring herself to do so.

“I don’t know how,” Asami sighed. “I keep telling Opal that she should be the one to tell him…but I can also see where she’s coming from. It’s not something I’d want to hear over the phone.”

“When I have problems figuring out what to do, I go and talk to Pema.” Korra grabbed Asami by the wrist and pulled her to her feet. “You seem like you could talk about a lot of things. Besides, I’m overdue for a visit.” Asami smiled gently as Korra excitedly pulled her along as she headed for the front door. “Kya and Bumi are staying for a while so you can get her opinion as well.” She paused when her ringtone peeled from her pocket. Korra pulled out the electronic device and checked the screen. “Speaking of which…hey Tenzin!”

“Korra…are you busy at the moment?” his gruff voice exploded through the receiver. Korra winced and held the phone a distance away from her ear. Asami leaned forward, straining to her.

“No, I’m just hanging with Asami. We were actually talking about heading over to visit Pema and everyone.”

“I need you to meet me on the bridge that leads into the city,” Tenzin insisted.

Korra and Asami exchanged a look of confusion. “Why? What’s wrong?”

“We may have a jumper situation.”

“Well, why do you need me for that? Call Lin.”

“Korra…” Tenzin took in a deep breath. It was then she noticed that not only did he sound concerned in his previous sentence, small traces of hope and even elation were weaved into each word. She waited patiently for him to continue. “He…he airbent himself up there,” he quietly announced.

“What?!” Korra shouted.

“What?” Asami repeated. She grabbed Korra’s arm and shook it, trying to catch her attention. “What?”

“Airbenders are popping up all over,” Tenzin continued. “The nation is back.”

Chapter Text

Rika had a folder tucked underneath her right armpit, one hand clutching papers and the other holding onto the handle of an umbrella. Her dark hair was damp, sticking to her forehead and neck. The rain turned into a light drizzle. Shifting the umbrella from overtop her head, she spotted a ball of green on the back windshield of a car parked along the street. Taking a closer look, she noticed that I wasn't just a ball of green but a cabbage.

"Cabbage Corps," Rika whispered, smiling softly. She looked up along the row, quietly counting how many Cabbage Corps vehicles she spotted. "He still has followers."

A big gust of wind caught Rika's umbrella, turning it inside out. The papers in her hand fluttered wildly in the wind. Placing them in her mouth, she reached up and tried to flip the canopy of her umbrella back into its original position. Whimpering as the wind picked up strength, she tightly held onto the umbrella, trying to not let it blow away. Finally, when the wind died down, she reached up and flipped the umbrella's canopy back into its proper position.

Glancing up, she spotted a blur of white running down the opposite side of the street. Two figures were seated on top of it, bouncing along with each step. One was wearing blue clothing and the other was wearing red. Hatred raced through her body when she noticed the long dark hair flowing behind the girl at the rear.

"Korra, tell her to slow down," Asami called out with a laugh.

"Where's your sense of adventure?" Korra shouted in response. She let out a belly laugh as the animal they were riding picked up speed.

Rika rolled her eyes, scoffing as she pulled the papers out of her mouth. She plucked the folder from underneath her armpit and began to stuff the papers into one of the pockets. An even stronger gust of wind appeared, blowing a paper out of her hand and up into the air.

"No!" Rika cried jumping up. She tried to snatch the paper out of the air, but it danced and skirted through her fingers. Tucking the folder into her backpack, she ran after the paper, constantly shifting her eyes from the sky to the people around her, trying not to run into anyone. The contents in her backpack tipped from side to side with each step, threatening to cause her to tumble to the ground. Her open umbrella, held high above her head, slowing her down.

"Someone…please…" she panted, trying to quicken her steps. Her eyes widened in shock as the paper fluttered close to the ground, narrowly dodging a puddle. It came to a stop at the opening of a bus shelter. A hand reached out and picked up the piece of paper that stopped at a pair of feet.

Rika smiled, happily looking up at the cloudy sky. "Finally, something is going my way," she said quietly, slowing to a walk. Her eyes widened when the paper floated up from the ground and directly into the outstretched hand. A gentle breeze wafted around her ankles as she got closer.

"Is this yours?" a man asked, holding out the paper.

"Yes." Rika quickly dropped onto the seat next to him, retrieving the paper. Dropping her umbrella to the ground, she quickly opened up her backpack, carefully sliding the paper inside. "Thanks," Rika said shyly. She glanced over at the man, taking in his long flowing hair on his head mixing in with his beard. She noticed the scar along his eyebrow. He was dressed in grey robes, and his face was carved with exhaustion and winkles. His face was set and looked to carry many years of hardness and work. However, when she looked into his eyes, she just spotted compassion and worry, a drastic opposite to his towering build and the hard lines etched on his face. "You look familiar."

"I'm…an old friend of your Uncle's," he said quietly. "We've known each other for years." The man shifted in his seat, bringing his legs up and crossing them underneath him. He then clasped his hands together before placing them in his lap. "Went to the same school. I had heard what happened with his company. It's such a shame."

"Prove it," Rika insisted. Clutching her bag to her chest, she scooted away from the man. While his deep, gravelly voice was soothing to her ears, she still felt a bit tense, being the only person sitting with the man in the bus shelter. "…that you knew my Uncle. Nothing is stopping me from contacting the police."

"If you wanted to, you would have done so by now. You wouldn't have bothered to talk to me," the man answered with a raised eyebrow. Rika responded by reaching into her skirt pocket and pulling out her cell phone. Her thumb hovered over the Emergency Call button. The man half-smiled. "Your Uncle dropped out of business school because he believed he was wasting his time learning about business instead of making a business. He felt he could learn more out in the world than in a classroom."

Rika raised a challenging eyebrow while lifting her phone higher. "Anyone could have figured that one out just by reading up on him."

"He dropped out before he was kicked out," the main continued. "He was about to be expelled for running a business at the school, helping students cheat on their coursework, test, exams. Anything. He was essentially doing what he could to run a business before attempting to run a business." The man smiled. "Am I right?"

"Yes." Rika nodded slowly. She lowered her phone, but still kept it gripped tightly in her hand. Her shoulders relaxed a bit. "That's true. My mom told me stories about it."

"Things must have been hard…since his arrest." The man cleared his throat. "I'm sorry…about everything that has happened."

"Thank you." Rika smiled. "…and thank you for saving my work." She shook her backpack for emphasis before wrapping her arms around it, giving it a tight hug. "It would have been a major setback in my project. I have to have the best one."

"Well, I'm certainly impressed," the man commented. "High school senior, about to go and make big changes in the world. I took a brief glance at the paper. It's pretty advanced stuff."

"How'd you-"

"Your uniform," he interrupted. He lifted his hands from his lap and rested them with the posterior on his knees. Touching the tips of his thumb and index fingers together, he took a deep breath, momentarily closing his eyes. "The crest on the breastplate means you attend RITA. That's a fantastic school, and the styling looks like you're in an upper-class. I just took a guess from there." He shrugged.

Rika's smile slowly turned into a frown. "I used to think I could…change the world. I know I'm the best. No one else believes it though. My mom doesn't count. She thinks I'm great at everything…and it's just so much pressure."

"If you believe that you're the best, then you are." After inhaling deeply, he slowly breathed out in a steady stream. "Why bother comparing yourself to others?"

"You wouldn't understand." Rika glumly kicked her umbrella. It skirted a bit across the ground. The man breathed again, exhaling sharply. A sudden burst of wind blew the umbrella back towards her feet. "…there's only one thing standing in my way…and it caused so much pain and struggle for my family." A muscle in her cheek twitched as she clenched her jaw. "I want it to feel the pain I'm feeling."

"Then…karma shall have its way."

She snickered. "So far, it isn't working."

"New growth cannot exist without first the destruction of the old," the man said. Rika's eyebrows furrowed in confusion." Guru Laghima," he clarified.

"What does that mean?" she asked.

"Whatever you want it to mean," the man answered with a shrug. "…your Uncle has talked highly about you. I do believe you will be able to accomplish what you'd like to accomplish."

"…Thank you." Rika smiled. "It's been the first time…in a while, that someone has actually supported me." The man looked at her, jerking his chin in response. She frowned in confusion, before noting that his site was directed right over her shoulder. She followed his gaze and made a sound of recognition when she spotted a bus coming down the street. "That's my ride." Rika got to her feet. She re-checked her bag to make sure the paper she had recovered was neatly packed away. "I'd better get home, my mom will start to worry."

"Be safe," the man insisted. "…and don't tell your mother…about us meeting."

"Why not? She and my uncle are close, I'm sure she'd remember you."

"It's just…bad blood," he slowly answered. "Something happened, and I don't want to intrude on her life unless she lets me in…on her own terms."

"I understand." Rika finished gathering up all of her items before slinging her backpack over her shoulder. She closed her umbrella, gently shaking off the excess water. A small gust of wind blew the material dry. Rika turned and looked at the man, as he moved to tuck his hands into his pockets. "What was your name?" she asked. "I don't think you mentioned."

The man looked up at her, raising an eyebrow before offering up a gentle smile. "Zaheer."

"Right." Rika nodded in understanding. The bus pulled up and she stepped back from the curb as water sloshed up over the sidewalk. She moved to stand in front of the doors, waiting for them to open. "I'll see you later, then, I guess."

Zaheer removed his hand from his pocket, giving a small wave at Rika's back as she climbed up onto the bus. "Guess you will," he mumbled.

Chapter Text

“Hey Korra, it’s good to see you,” Pema greeted her upon opening the front door to her house. She readjusted her hold around Rohan, who was sleeping against her chest, before holding her other arm out, pulling the Avatar into a hug.

“Sorry that I haven’t come to visit sooner,” Korra said, placing a light kiss on Pema’s cheek. She then lightly ran one of her knuckles against Rohan’s cheek. He cooed slightly in his sleep, burying his face deeper into his mother’s chest.

“How are you doing, Asami?” Pema reached out and cupped Asami’s cheek with the palm of her hand, before placing a light kiss on her forehead. “Everything okay?”

“I’m good, Pema, thank you.” Asami smiled brightly.

“Would you like some tea? I made it a few moments ago, so I hope it’s not too cool.” Korra made a sound of agreement while her eyes shifted quickly around, glancing down the hallway, into the living room, and towards the staircase. Pema giggle softly before lightly tapping Korra on the arm. “Tenzin’s upstairs, along with Lin and Bumi.”

“I’m surprised he’ll allow Bumi and me in the same room,” she snickered. Her eyes suddenly widened as she sucked in a sharp breath. Pema and Asami shared a look of confusion. Korra cleared her throat, before propping her elbow up on the banister of the stairs, smiling innocently. She reached up and rubbed the back of her neck as Pema titled her head to the side. “Pema, would you boil some of the tea for me?” she asked.

“…Can’t you do that, Korra?” Asami pointed out. Korra rolled her eyes, before running a hand over her face.

“That sounds familiar.” Pema reached out and pinched Asami lightly on the arm. “I’ll be right back,” she said with a small laugh. Korra breathed a sigh of relief once Pema entered the kitchen. She waited until she heard the sounds of dishes being moved around before facing Asami, who was glancing at her with a raised eyebrow.

“What’s up?” she asked slowly.

“…Do…do you remember that party we had after New Year’s?” Korra hissed, wringing her hands together. “For the defeat of Amon?”

“Yeah, you and Bumi disappeared for the night.” Asami nodded. “After that, when you came back to the apartment you complained about a pain in your thigh muscle and everything tasted weird for about a week.”

“…Okay.” Korra held her hands out in front of her. “…don’t judge me,” she quickly added. Asami crossed her arms over her chest, lifting one shoulder. “Bumi and I had Cactus Juice,” Korra admitted.

“You what?!” Asami exclaimed. Korra quickly reached out and slapped a hand over Asami’s mouth.

“Shhhhh!” Korra insisted. She glanced down the hallway and heard Pema talking and laughing with Kya before slowly removing her hand from Asami’s face. “Will you be quiet? I don’t want Pema to know.” Glancing down at her hand she winced at the red lipstick stain on her palm. “You need to cut back on the makeup, Sami.”

Asami reached into her pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. She then began to scrub roughly at the red stain. “Korra, that’s an illegal substance,” she scolded.

“I know…it just happened,” Korra sighed. “I didn’t plan on doing it…it just happened.”

“You already said that,” she pointed out. Asami frowned at the red mark on her friend’s palm. She dabbed the handkerchief on her tongue to wet the cloth. Korra made a sound of disgust before ripping her hand out of Asami’s grip.

“Ew, I don’t want your spit on me,” she cried, rubbing her wrist.

“Something tells me you didn’t complain when it was Mako,” Asami snickered, folding up her handkerchief and placing it back into her pocket.

“Jealous?” Korra asked with a smirk.

“Why? I dated him too,” Asami reminded her. “…so…”

“So?” Korra repeated.

“What did you do?” she pressed. “People always do crazy stuff when they drink Cactus Juice.”

Korra bit her bottom lip. “…I got a tattoo.”

Asami’s eyes widened as her jaw dropped in shock. She quickly regained her composure, brushing some of her dark hair out of her face. “You…got…got a tattoo?”

“Aang had tattoos.” Korra said defensively.

Asami rolled her eyes. “They were for his culture and to show that he had mastered airbending,” she pointed out. “Tenzin has them, and Jinora will have them soon.”

“Thanks for the history lesson, professor,” Korra snapped. “Anyway, why did you sound so shocked?” Korra asked with a laugh. “It’s not like you haven’t checked me out before,” she pointed out. “I’m surprised you haven’t see it by now. Quite frankly, I’ve been waiting for you to ask.”

“That’s not…” Asami trailed off. “I don’t…”

“I don’t blame you,” Korra said with a lift of her shoulder. She licked her lips before smiling smugly. “I mean I am a fine specimen.”

“Yeah…you’re right,” she blurted out. Asami forced herself to remain calm and stoic while the her inside saw the eruption of Mt. Makapu. She knew that with her pale complexion and blush would be hard to hide. She took a deep breath in through her nose, remembering some of the meditation techniques Korra had taught her, to calm herself.

“I am?!” Korra asked, a look between shock and smugness settling on her face.

“Yeah, nothing can match up against the Avatar,” Asami answered with a sweet smile. “Master of all elements and the ability of getting on every single one of my last nerves,” she added with bite.

“Nice save.”

“Be quiet, Korra,” Asami laughed.

“The tea is ready,” Pema announced, walking up to the two of them. She passed Korra a teacup wrapped in a koozie. “Here you go, Korra. I thought you’d like to take yours upstairs with you.”

“Thank you, Pema,” Korra said graciously before running up the stairs two at a time. Pema ushered Asami to the kitchen and into an empty chair. Kya looked up from playing with Rohan, who was seated in a chair connected to the table, giving her a warm smile.

“So, Asami, how have you been?” Pema asked when she took a seat next to the engineer. Kya slid a bowl of sugar across the table before taking a sip from her cup. Rohan smacked his hands against the tray in front of him, happily kicking his feet. Asami pour a few teaspoons of sugar into her tea before picking up the cup.

“I’ve been pretty good,” Asami sighed. She blew gently on the hot liquid, watching as the steam danced around in the air. “Busy, like usual, but things have been a lot easier since Xu became my vice president.”

“I’m sorry you had to go through all of that.” Pema plucked Rohan from his chair before holding him in her lap and draping a blanket over her chest. Asami turned her head away, not wanting to intrude upon the private moment. She then smiled softly at her shyness since Pema elected to feed her baby at the table instead of leaving the room.

“I’ve been through worse.”

“I didn’t mean to bring it back up.”

“It’s okay.” Asami shrugged. Kya circled a finger over her tea cup, bending the tea so that it spun in circles. The spoon sitting in the tea began to move around in the current. “How will I be able to go through life if I were to deny my past? Things have happened and I need to understand it and try to make the company as great as I know it can be.”

“How are things with you and Korra?” Pema question. Kya’s eyebrows rose a few inches but she remained quiet. However, a smile did begin to form on her face.

“Great,” Asami said slowly, glancing over at Kya. “Things couldn’t be better.”

“I’m actually surprised you two are able to live together so well,” Kya gently commented. “You’re polar opposites.”

“We’re not that different.” Asami dipped her teaspoon into the tea and lifted it up her mouth. She stuck out the tip of her tongue, flinching as the drink burned her tastebuds. Frowning, she went back to blowing over her teacup. “Besides, she’s still recovering from the fight with Vaatu, so things have been easy going to say the least.”

Pema nodded once before clearing her throat. “So, how are things really going with you?”

Asami paused, looking over her teacup at Kya, who leaned back in her chair giving her an amused look. Asami then glanced over at Pema who was smiling gently. Asami straightened in her seat, clasping her hands together and placing them into the table top. “Fine, I guess?”

“Are you asking me or telling me?” Pema questioned.

“Well, I am having problems telling Bolin that Opal isn’t coming back,” Asami sighed. “Plus, I’m re-working my Senior Project so that’s taking a lot of my time and-”

“And…how are things with Korra?” Kya interrupted.

Asami blinked before inhaling slowly. “I only, really, just gained friends at the beginning of fall semester, so I’m not really sure how this works,” she muttered. “I assume, Senna may have talked to you when we were in the South Pole for the festival?” she asked.

“Yup.” Kya nodded.

Asami turned towards Pema. “Do all girls do that? Tell each other what’s going on?”

“Only when they care, so that way they can get someone else’s opinion.”

“You were right, when we talked back around Thanksgiving. I really do just admire her,” Asami answered. She glanced down at her hands. “A lot,” she quickly added, before brushing her hair out of her face. “But what isn’t there to admire about her? I mean, hearing about her childhood and she’s so strong and secure about herself and her responsibilities-”

“If Korra were ever secure about her responsibilities then she wouldn’t have that scar,” Kya snorted.

“What scar?” Asami and Pema asked.

“That’s a story I’ll tell you about later.” She winked. “You know, Asami, if you ever need to talk about something Pema and I will gladly listen.”

“Why does everyone keep thinking that something is wrong?” Asami snapped. “Everything is fine. Sure, I have a lot on my plate, but when do I ever have a free schedule? I’ve been busy before, and yeah everything has been even busier since Korra and I became close but that goes with the property.”

“It doesn’t hurt that Korra can be kind of slow when it comes to social interactions.”

“What do you mean?” Asami questioned.

“You mean aside from the fact that you both just flirted with each other?” Kya asked.

“Kya!” Pema reached out and slapped her on the arm.

“Hallways are tunnels of sound, so there’s no point in beating around the bush, it’s obvious,” Kya answered, rubbing the spot on her arm where Pema had struck her. “Besides, I need some entertainment.” Pema raised an eyebrow. “Don’t get me wrong I love you, and my brother’s, and my nieces and nephews,” Kya explained, before turning back towards Asami, “but taking it from experience you need to stop lying to yourself.” Asami’s eyebrows furrowed when she noticed Kya’s expression becoming softer, traces of sadness lining face. “Unless, of course, you want to miss your chance.”

Before Asami could answer Lin, Tenzin, Korra, Jinora, and Bumi traipsed down the stairs and into the kitchen. Asami used the distraction to drink more of her tea, ignoring the hot liquid scorching her tongue.

“What’s going on?” Pema asked. She adjusted the blanket covering her chest, before tilting her head back and kissing Tenzin when he walked over.

“We’ve decided to find the new airbenders,” he announced. Asami swallowed hard around the tea in her mouth, while Kya’s eyes widened in shock. She ceased stirring the tea in her cup, the spoon clanging against the rim.

“Many reports are coming in by the day,” he added. “The nation will be revived.”

“What makes you think they’ll come easily?” Kya questioned. “I’m not trying to burst your bubble, but I know you Tenzin. When you get stuck in your ways, it’s hard to change. How will you convince people to actually leave their families?”

“A majority of these places are in the Earth Kingdom, and it’s kind of in disarray right now under the rule of the Earth Queen,” Lin commented. “Some people will see this as an escape to their realities.”

“In that case, we’re going to have to move to Air Temple Island for the time being to accommodate everyone,” Pema pointed out.

“Plus, I just gained my bending as well, so I can help persuade people.” Bumi puffed his chest out with pride. Kya smiled gently before getting up out of her seat and giving him a tight hug.

“Kya, will you stay here and help take care of Pema and the rest of the children?” Tenzin asked.

“Of course, Tenzin,” she agreed, pulling out of her hug with her oldest brother. Kya punched Bumi lightly in the arm before placing an arm around his shoulders. “And maybe Lin will patrol around as well, you know, for extra security.”

“I’m going with them.” Lin shook her head.

“Why?” Pema questioned. “Kya’s right, your place is here in Republic City. I know I would feel safer with an extra set of eyes around.”

Lin looked uncomfortable. She crossed her arms over her chest, before clenching her jaw. “…I just need to make sure the Avatar doesn’t get into any trouble,” she answered with a raised eyebrow.

“Oh, Lin, I didn’t think you cared,” Korra said, placing a hand over her chest.

“I don’t.”

“If we’re going to the Earth Kingdom Kai should come as well,” Jinora suggested. The corner of her eye twitched slightly when everyone turned to look at her. Except it was the smirk Korra was wearing and the smile Kya was trying to hide that stood out to her. “…since he’s from the area and all,” she added with a shrug.” It would be beneficial since he’d know where to start.”

“This is turning out to be a lot of people,” Tenzin commented. “How will we find an aircraft big enough?”

Asami cleared her throat, directing all the attention towards her. She half-smiled, slowly raising her hand in the air. “…I know where.”

Chapter Text

Asami entered the bathroom, stepping into a stall and quickly changing out of her school uniform. She smiled softly when Herems’ head popped out of her bag as soon as she unzipped it. “I thought I told you to stay home,” she scolded gently, scratching him behind the ears. She pulled out her street clothes and began to quickly change into them. She glanced at her watch, frowning when she noticed the time.

The bathroom door opened and the sound of footsteps echoed in the room as the person made their way towards the sinks. Asami hushed Hermes, who was purring quietly, before pushing the spirit back into her back. It was against school policy to have pets on campus, and she didn’t want to make things difficult for her.

Upon exiting the stall, Asami paused when he locked eyes with Rika in the mirror. The two stared at each other, Rika’s face taking on a harsh look, a mascara wand lightly touching her lashes. She quickly closed her makeup for before rushing towards the door.

“Rika, wait a minute,” Asami called out.

“What?” she snapped, turning on her heel. “What do you want?”

“I’m tired of this fighting. You keep telling me that I need to figure out what it was that I did to you. I really don’t think I did anything.”

“Of course you don’t,” Rika sneered. She walked around Asami and faced the mirrors above the sink once again. Brushing her hair off of her shoulders, she leaned in close and examined her eyeline, checking for smudges.

“See? Its comments like that,” Asami pointed out. “Why can’t you just talk to me? We used to be friends.”

“Yeah, used to,” Rika muttered, turning around, crossing her arms over her chest. “Then you just kept rubbing everything into our faces. Your father bought you this, your father bought you that, your father got you this great opportunity,” she sneered. “Your father, your father, your father!”

Asami reached up and rubbed one of her temples. “It sounds like you’re mad at him instead of me.”

“No, I’m mad about what you represent.”

“Okay,” she said quietly. Rika faltered, cocking her head to the side. Asami dropped her arms to her side. “Fine. I’m not going to waste my time on you anymore. On this.” She pointed in between the two of them. “If you hate me, you hate me. I’m done playing these games. Our friendship is over.” Asami tightly gripped the strap of her bag, the tips of her fingers turning white from the pressure. “However, this doesn’t mean I’ll stand around and continue to let you make these comments or try to break up my friendships or the people around me.”

“So you’re just going to let the Avatar fix things for you?" Rika questioned. “Who is she your bodyguard? She only helps and controls those who can bend.”

“She helps everyone,” Asami insisted.

“If that were true, then why do we have President Raiko?”

“Korra’s an amazing bender, and friend, and she takes care of everyone, and always puts others before herself, and-”

“Yeah, when her selfish, spur of the moment ideas don’t work,” Rika waved her hand in the air as if she were trying to chase away a bad odor. She brushed her black hair out of her face, before smirking. “But what interests me though, is that you always have something to say when someone talks negatively about her.”

Anger flared up, licking at Asami’s insides, causing them to churn. She slowly closed her hands into fists. While confused that she was having such a reaction, her anger caused her to focus in one the current issue at the time. “She’s my friend,” Asami snapped. “I’d do it for anyone.”

“…You didn’t do it for me,” Rika reminded her with a raised eyebrow. “…is she that special to you?” a smirk played on her lips. “Anything you’d like to share.”

Asmi pulled her lips into a thin line. She inhaled deeply through her nose before reaching up and rubbing her temples. “Rika…you need help,” she declared.

“And I’m sure your father will help me find someone and foot the bill?” Rika rolled her eyes. “Oh, yeah, he’s in jail isn’t he?”

As the anger continued to stir inside, Asami took a quick cleansing breath before relaxing. Rika raised an eyebrow, eyeing her closely, her head tilted a bit to the ide. “I know what it’s like, to be in a lot of pain,” Asami said quietly. “I understand what you’re going through. You push people away to make sure they don’t find the real you, but then find yourself alone and not sure how to get your feelings out so you keep lashing out at people.” Rika’s anger slowly faded from her face. “Even when surrounded by people, you feel like they’re strangers with familiar faces. If you ever need to talk…”

“I have Manami,” Rika said abruptly. “I used to have Kiyoko as well, but you ruined that.” She gave a harsh glare. “You’re the one causing me pain. It was different before…but I want you to feel the pain I feel.” She stook a step forward so that they were standing toe to toe. “I want you to truly feel alone.”

“So, you say,” Asami answered with a shrug. “It’s what you always say, but I have felt alone…when I was friends with you.” Shaking her head, she adjusted the bag on her shoulder before heading towards the door.

“Is she really your friend?” Rika called out. Asami paused, turning on her heel. “Kiyoko…Korra…didn’t they both start talking to you when they needed homework help?”

“We’ve been through a lot...”

“You only came into contact with her…them…because of your part-time job…and your father by extension…” Rika pointed out.

Asami glanced at Rika out of the corner of her eye. Her anger soon began to fade leaving her with a clear mind. She thought back on Rika’s words as images of Korra floated through her mind: of their study sessions, their late night talks, Korra walking Asami to school, watching the Fire Ferrets team practices, and many texting sessions in between classes.

“…I don’t need to explain myself to you,” Asami muttered. “Take care, Rika.”

Exiting the restroom, she took a deep breath, letting it out in an audible sigh as she joined the flow of students leaving for the day. Asami reached into her bag and pulled out her ringing cell phone, making sure to give Heremes some attention before checking the screen.

“Hey, where are you?” Korra asked as soon as Asami answered the phone. “We’re about to leave.”

“I’m coming, now,” Asami answered as she exited the building. Turning left, she headed towards the local park where Team Avatar, Tenzin, and the rest of the group had agreed to meet to take off in a Future Industries airship, which was already situated at a loading dock. She had flown it in the evening before after accepting clearance from President Raiko. “I just had to talk to my professors and get my homework assignments and extensions.”

“School work? Really?” Korra asked with a laugh.

“Future Industries is booming so I put Xu in charge,” Asami answered with a bit of edge. She hung up her phone as soon as she met up with the group. Korra placed her phone into her pocket, half-smiling as Asami walked up. “School work will keep me busy as well as my new Senior Project topic, which I have to work on ASAP to graduate on time.”

Korra regarded with a raised eyebrow. Asami huffed. “I need something to fall back on. Not all of us can get away with breezing through life.”

“What are you so snippy for?” Korra demanded.

Asami slowly shook her head, rubbing her glabella with her knuckles. “Sorry, I ran into Rika and-”

“Do you need me to take care of her?”

“No!” Asami snapped. “I handled it fine on my own. I don’t need your protection.” She looked away, watching as Tenzin and Chief Beifong loaded up the airship with a few bags and supplies for the trip. “I can take care of myself. I was able to do it before you came.”

“Sorry…” Korra said quietly, an apologetic look on her face. “Sami, I was just trying to help.”

“I know.” Asami nodded. She forced a smile. “I’m just a little stressed is all.”

“When are you not? You need to have some fun in your life.”

“Easy for you to say,” Asami sighed. “Do you know how hard it is to keep news of your friend’s girlfriend a secret?”

“Bolin.” Korra said with a nod, her eyes shifting over Asami’s shoulder.

“Well, yeah this is about Bolin, who else?”

“No, Bolin.” Korra grabbed Asami by the arms and turned her around, wincing and letting out a small grunt as her friend’s bag slapped her in the thigh.

“Korra! Asami!” Bolin called out cheerfully, waving enthusiastically at his friends. He gave them each a strong hug. “I’m all packed and ready to go. I can’t wait to see the Earth Nation. I haven’t been there before,” he said in a quick breath. “Well, Mako says mom and dad took us on a family vacation when we were little but I don’t remember any of it. Maybe we’ll find some of our family.”

“The chances of that are very slim, Bolin,” Mako reminded him, as he joined the group. He had an arm around Kiyoko’s shoulders, holding her close in his side.

“Ignore Mr. Moody over there,” Bolin said, rolling his eyes. “He’s been in a state since I convinced him to come on this trip.”

“Chief Beifong gave me a new position with the police force, and then I go and leave right away for a trip,” he answered.

“Hey, you’re with Korra,” Kiyoko piped up. She smiled over at the Avatar. “She knows this is important.” Korra nodded her thanks. While Kiyoko and Korra were mainly acquaintances since Kiyoko joined the group, things were a little strained when Korra got amnesia and kissed Mako. Now that things between them have settled down a bit, they were back to their acquaintance status, except a bit friendlier than last time.

“Important enough to come with us?” Mako asked.

“Apparently I need a bodyguard,” Korra said with an eye roll. “But she’s the best.”

“Mako, how can you say we don’t have family out there?” Bolin quickly changed the subject. “Someone is sending us money to go to school and they’re from the Earth Nation. Maybe we can find them and thank them.”

“A scholarship is different than family sending us money,” Mako pointed out. “Besides, we’re not here for a vacation. We’re here to help Korra and Tenzin revive the Air Nation.”

“No matter how long it takes,” Korra agreed, crossing her arms over her chest, smiling proudly.

Asami and Mako shared a look. He ran a hand through his hair while she cleared her throat. “Maybe for you, Korra, but Mako and I are graduating at the end of the semester.”

“So?” she shrugged. “School can wait.”

“Not for us,” Mako insisted. “Graduation is really important.”

“This is important as well,” Korra answered with an edge. “So much so…I took a leave of absence.”

“The semester hasn’t even started yet,” Asami pointed out. “For you guys, anyway.”

“But it’s about to,” Mako said.

“This is important to me, to Tenzin,” Korra answered. “Sure, I may be the current Avatar but by reincarnation Tenzin and the Air Nation is my family.”

“In a very weird way,” Bolin added. “I mean, technically you’re his father, and his kid’s grandfather…or would it be grandmother…”

“Thanks, Bolin,” Korra said quickly, hastily ending the conversation. “I say we agree to disagree.” She glanced at Mako and Asami one more time before taking a few steps back. “Let me know when you all are ready.” With that, she turned on her heel and headed over towards Tenzin, who was speaking quietly with Jinora.

“What’s with that look, Asami?” Kiyoko asked. Mako and Bolin turned towards Asami, and noticed the thunderous look on her face. The three of them took a small step backwards as she furiously threw her hands into the air.

“…I spend all this time tutoring her in her science courses and she just throws it away like that?” she exploded. “I could have spent all that time working on my own projects. My life doesn’t revolve around her,” she insisted.

“No one said it did,” Bolin said quietly. Asami bit her bottom lip, before reaching up and running a hand through her hair. Kiyoko pulled herself away from Mako’ side, taking Asami by the arm and walking a few feet away.

“Hey Kiyoko, where’s the fire?” Asami asked.

Kiyoko looked at the ground, shifting from foot to foot. “…I just wanted to wish you a safe trip,” she muttered.

“And give Mako a goodbye kiss?”

A blush raced across Kiyoko’ cheeks. “Well, yes, but…there’s something else…”

“What’s going on?” Asami questioned. “Is everything okay?”

“Listen…” Kiyoko licked her lips “…I overheard Rika talking in the hall, and-”

“Okay, is everyone ready?” Korra called out. “We’re about to head out.”

“I’ll be there in a second,” Asami shouted in response. She turned back towards Kiyoko and placed a hand on her friend’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about Rika. She’s all talk, you know that. Call me if she bother’s you.”

Kiyoko half-smiled. “…Sometimes, I wish I were as strong as you. I wish there were a way I could help.”

“Everyone has their own way of helping.”

Asami watched with mild curiosity as Kiyoko’s eyebrows rose, her eyes widening. “Yeah, you may be right,” she answered with a smile. “Take care, and text when you land.” Kiyoko have Asami a quick hug before rushing off to find Mako. Asami turned on her heel and headed towards the airship. She tilted her head to the side when she spotted Bolin standing by the ramp leading up into the ship.

“Why didn’t you board the ship, Bolin?” Asami asked.

Bolin peered closely at her, his arms crossed over his chest. His face lacked the normal carefree quality, and in its place was a look of seriousness. “What’s riled you up, Asami?” he asked.

Asami briefly glanced over his shoulder, watching as Korra plucked Rohan from Pema’s arms, lightly bouncing him up and down. She returned her attention Bolin, before offering up a small smile. “…Nothing, don’t worry about it.”

 

-----

Asami stared out of the window of the airship, taking in the setting sun above the clouds. The golden raise broke through the puffs of white, covering the Earth below with shadows. Korra appeared by the window, her arms and feet fastened tightly to her glider. A relaxed smile was set upon her face as she gently bobbed along with breeze.

“Enjoying the view?” Bolin asked, taking a seat next to Asami on a bench by the window. He knocked twice and waved enthusiastically when Korra glanced over at them.

“It’s beautiful,” Asami said quietly, watching as Korra floated upwards and performed a loop. She blinked before pulling her attention away. “I never knew there was a world up here, high above the clouds.” She turned and faced him. “It’s peaceful; a refreshing change.”

“Maybe it’s why Korra is trying to so hard to fix things, bring a balance to the world,” Bolin commented.

“Yeah, I know,” Asami answered quietly.

“So, why’d you blow up before?”

“Bolin-”

“I’ve never seen you that mad,” he commented. “You’re normally calm, cool, and collected.”

“I have a lot of things on my mind, and I took it as an excuse to blow up on her,” Asami answered with a shrug. “I had a run in with Rika today and-”

“She needs love; that’s her issue,” Bolin simply answered. “From the sounds of it at least. She needs someone that can show her how great she is. Kind of like you and Korra.”

“Yeah, like me and Korra,” Asami said with a smile. Bolin leaned over and nudged her with his elbow. She forced her smile wider before leaning over and placing her head on his shoulder, wrapping her arms around his. “Thanks for checking on me, Bolin.”

“You need some food. It always cheers me up. I’ll go get you some.” With that, Bolin placed a quick kiss on her forehead before rushing away. Asami watched him go before glancing out the window. She frowned, feeling dread drop into the pit of her stomach when she couldn’t find Korra. Placing her hands onto the glass, she pressed her nose flat against the window, looking around the bright orange sky.

“Don’t worry Chicken Little, I didn’t fall out of the sky,” Korra said as she poked Asami in the back with her glider. She placed it against the wall of the airship before reaching up and smoothing her hair down.

“No, but the sky is soon to fall on Bolin,” Asami said with a sigh as she sat down. Korra plopped into the seat next to her, causing the engineer to bounce lightly in her seat.

“He’s here to find his family,” Korra reminded her. “You saw him, he could barely sit still when we took off.” She frowned, looking at Asami before glancing over her shoulder towards the doorway, and back.

“Autopilot,” Asami said. “Do you really think that he didn’t also see this as a way to meet up with his girlfriend?”

“It’s Bolin; he really only focuses on thing at a time.”

“…Yeah, that is true,” Asami agreed. “Maybe it is a good idea that he’s here. That way we can go to Zaofu, Opal can give him the news-”

“Then you’ll be in the clear,” Korra finished.

“What?” Bolin asked as he walked up. A tray full of food gripped tightly in his hands. The two girls jumped turning to face him. “What’s going on?” Korra lifted her shoulders to her ears, glancing over at Asami who was biting her bottom lip, looking remorseful. “Asami,” he pressed.

Asami sighed, reaching up to rub the back of her neck. Korra looked at her with in surprise. Normally refined and in control, she was surprised to see Asami looking nervous and uncomfortable. “Opal isn’t coming back to Republic City, Bolin. She’s staying in Zaofu.”

“Why-”

“Her mother didn’t think it was safe for her to be in Republic City,” she explained.

“Anywhere the Avatar goes, it isn’t safe,” Bolin pointed out.

“Thanks,” Korra said sarcastically, rolling her eyes. She propped her foot up onto the bench, resting her arm on her knee, glancing out the window.

“Even without the Avatar, the world isn’t safe,” Asami gently pointed out.

“Why didn’t she tell me?” Bolin whispered.

“She didn’t know how to tell you, so she asked me to do it,” she admitted. “I’ve been trying for a few weeks now.”

“Weeks?!” he shouted. Asami jumped as Korra’s jaw dropped in shock.

“Bolin-”

“…Then it’s a good thing that we’re going to the Earth Nation, so I can go and get her back.” Bolin stepped forward and held the tray of food out towards Asami. The minute her hands touched the tray, he shoved it into her chest. He then gave a quick nod before speed walking away.

“He took that better than I thought he would,” Korra commented. “When he caught me and Mako kiss he practically had a nervous breakdown.” She then reached over and plucked a few grapes off of Asami’s tray, who promptly smacked her hand away. Korra snicked before popping the fruit into her mouth.

“Shut up, Korra,” Asami demanded. Korra regarded her with a raised eyebrow. “He hates me now, thanks to you.”

“I’m sorry, I missed the point where this became my fault,” she said sarcastically. “Last I checked, you were the one who agreed to tell him Opal’s secret, not me.”

“Every time I asked you, you said just to tell him,” Asami responded, her facial features hardening.

“No, I said rip the bandaid off. That could have gone either way,” Korra answered, waving a hand in the air. “Besides, you’re not mad at me, you’re mad at Opal. She shouldn’t have put you in this position which is why I didn’t want her to initially join our group.” Asami titled her head to the side, confusion etched across her face. “I knew from the get go she liked Bolin, and once someone dates someone in a group, it all falls apart.”

“You dated Mako,” Asami pointed out; she clasped her hands together, her leg rapidly bouncing up and down.

“You did too,” Korra reminded her. “Anyway, if it were me-”

“Gosh, Korra! For once, can’t you think of someone other than yourself?” she snapped.

Korra clenched her jaw before swallowing the pieces of fruit. She wiped her hands on her pant legs before getting up to her feet. “Clearly something else is bothering you, something bigger than this, and I’m getting tired of how you are taking it out on me.”

Asami placed the tray on the bench next to her before standing up, placing a hand on her hip. Korra glared before taking a step backward so she wouldn’t have to look up to glare at Asami. “When we get to the Earth Nation, your help will be appreciated, but otherwise don’t bother talking to me if you’re just going to find reasons to be snarky. Just focus on your school and your silly projects and the sooner we get back to Republic City, the better,” she snapped.

“Fine,” Asami huffed before marching away. She rolled her eyes when she heard Korra shout back a response, but continued walking away anyway. After a few paces she slowed to a walk before stopping and leaning up against a wall.

She let out a sigh, running a hand through her hair. “She’s your closest friend. Why are you doing this to her?” Asami wondered. Shen reached up and tapped her chin, glancing down at her feet. “Why do you get so angry when her name is brought up?”

Chapter Text

The next few days were filled with much tension. While Asami focused on the maintenance of the airship across the Earth Nation, she was also tackling her mountain of homework as well as her senior project. Plus, being in a fight with Korra and Bolin put a big damper on her usually pleasant disposition.

Bolin was the complete opposite from himself. Mako described it as being worse than the time “where he got drunk on noodles after he saw Korra kissing me”. He would sit by himself, staring at his phone, with Pabu curled up in his lap, refusing to leave his side.

Korra was in a bad mood and everyone was well aware. She didn’t bother to hide her disdain with Asami. Every time the engineer entered the room, Korra would abruptly get up and leave. While she didn’t have any issue with Bolin, she was short with him as well for being the partial blame of his unhappiness. Jinora would often be Korra’s spiritual advisor but found each encounter to be more of a venting session. Lin had agreed to be her sparring partner, and with the pent up aggression she’s had over the years, the two would essentially beat each other to death before their fights were stopped by a flustered Tenzin, who had his hands full worrying about Jinora and her “kinda-sorta” boyfriend along with them on the trip.

Mako ended up in the position of being the one friend stuck between Korra, Asami, and Bolin, that, when given the chance, he would hide away and do his school assignments. Of course, he would also help Bolin keep up with his own work, as well as help run lines with him for Varrick’s next project, much to his annoyance; which he would keep his thought to himself to continue to support his brother and his future endeavors.

Tenzin, on the other hand, was fed up with everything and everyone; although you wouldn’t be able to tell with how calm he appeared to be. There was whisperings from Jinora, however, about how he amped up his meditation sessions and the length of them. While his company was something to be desired, his morale for rebuilding the Earth Nation lowered with each stop as all he would get were doors slamming into his face.

The only person who seemed to be in a relatively good mood was Bumi. He would just lament about this war stories to anyone who would listen. His stories caused for a great distraction during dinner, seeing as everyone else would be quiet since they weren’t talking to someone or just didn’t have anything to say.

Korra whistled to herself as she walked around the expansive airship. She had excused herself from dinner early, not in the mood to listen to another story from Bumi or a lecture from Tenzin, not that she ever looked forward to the latter. She paused outside of a door that she hadn’t been through before. In fact, if memory served her correctly, it was one of the rooms Asami had told everyone not to enter.

“Now…Asami said no….but all I’m hearing is yes.” With that, Korra entered the room and turned on a light. She gasped when she found all of the different satomobiles chained to the floor. A slight creaking sound came from the slight shifting of the cars as they moved along with the airship in the breeze. While the giant structure was tired down to a loading dock for the night, it continued to gently sway.

Korra laughed to herself, rubbing her hands together as she walked over to a car at the front of the airship, closest to the ramp. Her smile widened when she spotted the keys in the ignition. Placing her hands onto the frame of the car, she jumped into the driver’s seat and settled in, quickly buckling herself.

“What are you doing?” Asami demanded, appearing at Korra’s side. The Avatar jumped, placing a hand over her chest. “Get out.”

“You always say driving clears your head.” Korra said with a shrug. She turned the keys in the ignition, bringing the vehicle to life.

“You’re not that great of a driver.” She lifted her goggles to the top of her head, a bit of oil smeared across her cheek. She placed a socket wrench into a nearby tool box before ripping her gloves off. “Korra, no,” she said firmly when Korra shifted the car from park to drive.

“Asami, you can’t make me change my mind.”

Asami sighed hard. “Then I’m coming too.” She bent down along the side of the car and unhooked it from the floor of the airship. Korra watched from the rear view mirror, as the engineer made her way around the car, releasing some clasps.

“No,” Korra snapped.

“If something happens, will you know what to do?” Asami demanded as she stood by the passenger door.

“Yes, I’ll fly back.”

“And leave my car out there? No way.” Asami opened the passenger door and got into the empty seat before slamming it shut after her. “You need me and you know it.”

“Fine.”

“Road Trip!” Bolin cried happily, sitting up from the back seat. Korra and Asami screamed loudly, collapsing in their seats in huge sighs. “I’ve always wanted to go on one.”

“What are you doing out here?” Asami asked.

Bolin glanced at her for the longest time as Korra eased the car from its parked spot. Asami pressed a button on a rectangular device on the dashboard causing the ramp to open up. She winced as Korra eased the car out into the open air, speeding into the desert.

“Sometimes I relax in the back seat of these cars,” he finally answered, more towards Korra than Asami. He had to shout over the wind rushing by them as Korra continued to speed forward. “It’s a nice and quiet place.”

“Doesn’t anyone follow rules anymore?” Asami muttered. She rested her elbow on the frame of the passenger door, placing her forehead against her knuckles. Her dark hair blew wildly in the wind behind her. She blinked, clearing her watery eyes.

“Not unless you want to be a goody two shoes,” Korra muttered.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she snapped.

“Not all of us have our lives figured out where we have everything planned to a T.” Korra rolled her eyes. “Some of us like to have some fun every once in awhile. Or do you not know what that means anymore?” she glanced over at Asami, who stared back at her with a harsh look.

“Korra,” Bolin said quietly. He tensed up a bit in his seat as the Avatar accelerated a bit faster.

“You know I’m right,” she continued. “You just don’t want to admit it.”

“No, I don’t,” Asami answered.

“Why not?

“Because.”

“Because, why?!”

“Because…” Asami slowly shook her head. She tried so hard to keep up her anger, but she hated the way it felt in the pit of her stomach. She hated the constant headaches and her short temper. She didn’t feel like her usual self. “Korra…I think I’ve been lying to myself…”

Korra quickly took another glance at the road, before facing Asami once more. “What are you talking about?”

“Pema and Kaya had talked to me about this, but-”

“Korra,” Bolin said louder.

“But, what?”

“Things with Rika, and Bolin,” Asami rambled on, “and trying to hold Future Industires together by the skin of my teeth. It’s just all too much.”

“So, what does this have to do with me?” Korra demanded.

“I’ve just been keeping myself busy.”

Bolin leaned forward in his seat. He snapped his fingers by her ear. “Asami, come back to us.”

“Oh, Bolin,” Asami cried, turning in her seat to face him. “I just made everything worse for you. I shouldn’t have gotten involved in your relationship.”

“I don’t care how busy your life is,” Korra snapped. She turned with wheel with a jerk, dodging a pot-hole in the ground. Bolin let out a whimper as he was thrown around. Asami grabbed a hold of the door handle to steady herself. “You know I didn’t deserve half of the things you said.”

Asami felt anger licking at her insides. She slowly curled her hands into fits, keeping them pressed into her lap. She breathed in slowly, her chest rising, her green eyes slowly starting to turn a golden-red.

“Everyone has things going on in their life,” the Avatar continued. “You don’t have to worry about-”

“That’s just it, Korra!” Asami shouted, glaring at her. Korra shifted her eyes from the road, facing the engineer. “You’re now comparing the bad things in your life to mine. It’s like you’re trying to one-up me or something.”

“I’m trying to get you to see things from my point of view!”

“You’re so stubborn!” Asami snapped. She tightened her grip on the door handle as the car bounced around on the un-even road. “Maybe this is why things go wrong. You just rush into everything and think you can fix things with your fists and force.”

“Excuse me, but didn’t someone tell me how they used to like that about me? How I would step in and help anyone when needed? I’ve helped you plenty of times.”

“You call rushing into things with your fists help? Maybe this was how Unalaq was able to get you to help him,” Asami growled. “He knew that once your mind is made up, it’ll be hard to change it back.”

“Sure, throw that one back into my face.”

“Korra, look out!” Bolin shouted, pointing out the windshield. Korra faced forward and let out a loud curse, before stomping her foot on the break and rapidly spinning the wheel.

“Don’t!” Asami screamed. She leaned forward and covered her head with her hands. She grunted as the car collided with an object, cause her to slam back into her seat. Asami let out a cry as the whiplash cause her to lean forward once more, before she felt a strong pressure on her chest, holding her in place.

Bolin coughed loudly as dust began to settle into the car and his lungs. He leaned forward and grabbed the keys from the ignition, turning the car off. His hands shook, the keys jingling rapidly before dropping to the floor.

Asami slowly opened her eyes, glancing down to see Korra’s arm across her chest, keeping her in her seat. The engineer winced when she felt the cut on her face. Korra removed her arm before exiting in the car, with Bolin behind her. Korra groaned loudly, grabbing at her head, as he ran around to the passenger side.

Bolin waved his hand in the air, trying to clear the dust and smoke. He grabbed at his hair, gasping loudly when he was able to spot the giant boulder as his vision became clear. The rock crushed the driver side front bumper at an angle. The windshield had a huge crack in the top left corner, sforming a spider web across the glass.

“Where did that come from?” he muttered. Asami coughed loudly, moving to unbuckle her seatbelt. Bolin grabbed her car door and forced it open, grabbing Asami gently by the arm and helping her out of the car. She gave him a soft smile before inspecting the damage. She groaned loudly, and ran a hand through her hair. She lifted her goggles off of her head and placed them on her face, before forcing the bent hood open.

“I don’t see any gas spilling, and it looks to be more cosmetic damage, so I think it's okay,” Asami said. “You know…all things considered…” She was interrupted by another loud groan from Korra. Asami and Bolin ran around the back of the car and over to the Avatar’s side, who was holding a hand to her head.

Bolin gently pulled her hand away, inspecting the medium sized lump that had formed. She slapped his hands away before shaking her arms and legs, checking to make sure she wasn’t injured any further.

“Korra, maybe you should take it easy,” Asami suggested. “Another head injury could-”

“What do you mean another?” Korra asked, turning to face her. She raised an eyebrow, her lips curling with disdain. Her eyes slowly scanned Asami from the top of her head, lingering on her face, down to her feet. “And who are you? One of Mako’s groupies?” she rolled her eyes.

“Mako and I haven’t been involved for a while now, you know that,” she answered with a bit of bite.

“No, I don’t know that,” Korra snapped. She blinked slowly, rubbing her forehead with the palm of her hand. She swayed a bit on her feet. Bolin rushed over, steadying her by her shoulders.

Asami faltered. “What?”

“Korra, are you alright?” Bolin asked.

“I’m fine,” she insisted, pushing his hands away. “Just a scratch.”

“That doesn’t look like a scratch. Asami, how are you doing?” Bolin questioned. He bit his bottom lip before frowning. He noticed a bit of blood on her cheek. He instinctively reached out to wipe the cut, but pulled his hand back. “You know…not that I care…or anything…”

“I’m fine, Bolin,” Asami answered quietly. She glanced over at Korra who was stretching her arms. The Avatar winced when she lifted her arm a bit into the air, above shoulder level. “Are you sure okay?”

“I’m…fine?” Korra raised an eyebrow. “Why do you care, anyway?”

“I know we’re fighting but I still care about you,” Asami said. “Excuse me for having a heart,” she said with a slight eye roll.

“We’re not fighting. I don’t even know you…”

Asami and Bolin froze, sharing a look before slowly turning back to face the Avatar. “Korra, we’re friends,” she said slowly.

Korra threw her head back and laughed before giving Asami another once over. “Friends? You and me?” She snorted. “Please. That’s funny.”

“It’s me…Asami.”

“I don’t know an Asami.”

Bolin swallowed hard. His voice shook as he continued to closely look at the Avatar, as if waiting for her to topple over from how much she was swaying on her feet. “Korra, maybe we should talk to Tenzin?”

“Good idea,” she agreed, placing a hand on the driver side door, catching her balance.

“How about I drive for now?” Asami suggested, swallowing around the hard lump that had risen up in her throat.

“Flying back wouldn’t be a good idea,” Bolin quickly added.

Korra blinked. “What would I fly with?” she demanded.

“Your glider.”

“Bolin, I can’t airbend, you know that,” she snapped. “You know how hard it’s been for me, trying to learn how to do it.”

“…Oh no…” Asami whispered.

Chapter Text

“Okay, and now look to the right,” Kya gently ordered, shining a light underneath Korra’s eyes. Asami forced herself to look away from Korra, silently telling herself that it was for the Avatar, knowing she normally doesn’t like a lot of unwanted attention. Granted, this never stopped Korra’s somewhat inflated ego to get in the way when it came to her competitiveness, which usually attracted an audience. Which, of course, was different to the current situation, since everyone on the trip was crowded into one room, waiting silently for the final verdict of her injuries.

“Is it bad?” Tenzin questioned, breaking the silence Jinora stood quietly beside him, nestled into her father’s side, her arms wrapped around his waist.

“I don’t think so,” Kya finally answered. She turned off the small flashlight before placing it into her pocket. Kora blinked rapidly as her eyes adjusted to the dim lighting in the room of the airship. “While amnesia can be a sign of a concussion, I don’t think she has one, but I suggest she doesn’t go to sleep for the next few hours, just in case.”

“So, she has amnesia?” Bumi asked. “Again?”

“Yes, and apparently a few months back.”

“But she had amnesia before,” Mako pointed out. “I didn’t think she’d be able to get it again.”

“Head injuries are a tricky business,” Kya opened a flask of healing water and began to bend it, massaging the Avatar’s temples. Korra graciously smiled up at her. ”She probably didn’t fully recover from her past injury when dealing with Unalaq.”

“She was complaining about frequent headaches from time to time,” Asami piped up. “Though, she would always take pain killers and they went away.”

“How long will it last this time?” Kai questioned.

“Hey, little boy, how about you mind your own business?” Korra snapped when she spotted Kai. She quickly eyed him over before glancing over at Jinora. Her eyes shifted back and forth between the two.

“Isn’t she normally good with kids?” Bolin asked, tilting his to the side.

“Only the ones she likes, apparently,” Asami answered with a shrug. Bolin started to smile at her joke, but immediately stopped when he realized who said it. She looked at him sadly, before reaching into her pocket and pulling out phone, feigning that she received an important message.

“It’s always worked for me,” Lin answered with a smirk. Kya rolled her eyes, frowning at her in response.

Korra snickered. She reached up and rubbed her forehead with the palm of her hand, before raising an eyebrow. She then broke into a smile, once again looking between Jinora and Kai. “Yeah, that’s why I don’t like him.”

“Did her attitude have to come back too?” Mako dryly commented.

“Mako, she’s hurt,” Bolin answered. Kya bent the healing water back into a bottle and re-fastened the lid. “We should be focusing on taking care of her.”

“I’m fine,” Korra insisted. She moved to stand up, but ended up swing on her feet. She moved to place a hand on the wall but ending up stumbling, and leaning on Lin’s side. The chief of police grunted, catching her balance at the sudden weight to her side. Korra muttered a quick apology before straightening up. Lin checked to make sure the Avatar was okay, before shrugging.

“What can we do to help?” Tenzin asked.

“Fortunately, amnesia can be cured on its own,” Kya informed everyone. “Although, there are ways to potentially speed up the process.”

“Well, how did she regain her memory last time?” Bumi wondered.

Asami looked up from her phone, clearing her throat. “She used her connection with the past Avatars and learned about Raava and Avatar Wan,” she explained. Placing her phone back into her pocket, she clasped her hands together before gently rocking back and forth on her heels. Her voice was quiet, and she seemed unsure of herself, vast difference from her usual demeanor.

“Maybe she can do that again?” Kai suggested. “Jinora, you’re the best person I know when it comes to mediation. How about you and Master Tenzin work on it with her?”

“Of course,” Jinora nodded rapidly, her voice quiet. She looked more like her age than with the air of maturity she usually had. “I’ll do anything to help.”

“Amnesiacs can also regain their memories with familiar objects, pictures, smells and sounds,” Asami suggested. “What if we tried that?”

“We’re not in the South nor in Republic City anymore,” Tenzin slowly shook her head, gently declining her idea. “Aside from all of us, nothing will be familiar to her.”

“Not all of us,” she muttered quietly, taking a small step back. Kya wiped her hand on her pant legs, glancing over in Asami direction. She moved to walk over towards the engineer to console her, but quickly found her path blocked with everyone else in the room.

“How about we try some meditation first and then we can move on from there,” Tenzin said firmly. He placed a hand on his daughter’s shoulder. “We’ll go and set up a space.” Jinora reached up and removed his hand before holding it tightly.

Bolin gasped loudly, grabbing his brother by the arm, shaking him it vigorously. “Mako, we could do some bending with her. Maybe bringing out her competitiveness will help.”

“Sounds good to me,” Korra said, making a show of cracking her knuckles. “I could use some exercise,” she added, smiling brightly.

“You can help too, Kai. She likes fresh meat.”

“Awesome,” Kai said excitedly. “It’d be an honor.”

“We should probably head to Zaofu,” Lin suggested. “Su says the city is heavily guarded. If news got out that Korra can’t retain her memory…it won’t bode well.”

“Zaofu?” Bolin perked up. Asami sighed quietly, once again bringing Kya’s attention to her.

“Not now, Bolin,” Mako said, scolding him lightly. “Korra’s more important.”

“…You’re right.” He nodded.

“If anything, the first thing we should do is have Korra spend some time with Naga,” Asami said quietly. “They’ve been together since they were children. It may jump start her memory.”

“Oh, Naga,” Korra gasped. “I need to feed her.” She shuffled forward, taking a few small steps, before walking confidently toward the door of the room. “Thank you, though, for your help, everyone.”

“We’ll come too,” Bolin said. Asami and Mako moved to follow. Korra raised an eyebrow when she spotted Asami move to follow them as well. Bolin looked back and forth at the two of them before stepping to the side. Korra rolled her eyes before turning to face Mako.

“Does your groupie-friend have to come?” she demanded.

“Korra, she’s your friend too,” Mako insisted.

Korra glanced at Asami once more, before shrugging. “If you say so.” With that she exited the room, Bolin and Maki quickly following after her. Asami pulled her lips into a thin line, refusing to make eye contact with anyone else.

Everyone began to file out of the room, except Kya. She walked over to the engineer and placed a hand on her shoulder. “What’s wrong, Asami?” she asked gently.

Asami sighed deeply, reaching up before dabbing at a stray tear that threatened to spill from the corner of her eye. “Korra’s my best friend,” she nearly whimpered. “Not having her remember me…”

“I understand.” Kya pulled Asami into a hug, reaching up and rubbing the back of her head. Asami buried her face into the waterbender’s chest “It’s going to be hard, but she’ll need you now more than ever. Just keep trying.”

“It’s all my fault.” Asami sniffed.

“How so?”

“We had a fight,” she answered, a shudder passing over her body. Kya pulled away before using the sleeve of her clothing to wipe away the tears and makeup that was spilling down Asami’s cheeks. “Her, me, and Bolin. It all seems so stupid right now.”

“Don’t blame yourself,” Kya instructed. “It was an accident.”

“Funny thing is, I don’t think it was an accident,” Asami admitted. Kya paused, looking directly into the engineer’s green-gold eyes.

“What do you mean?” she slowly asked.

“We were driving in a desert. Korra may not be the best driver in the word, but anyone would have spotted a boulder and easily dodged it.” Asami brushed her hair out of her face, waving her hands in the air to fan at her eyes, trying to dry them up faster. “I don’t know, part of me feels like it was just planted there.”

Kya regarded her in silence for a long time. She reached up and cupped her chin with her hand. “…I need to call Tonraq,” she said quietly.

Chapter Text

“Enjoying the view?” Bolin asked, lightly nudging Asami on the arm. She let out a loud gasp, clasping a hand to her chest. Dropping her head down, she leaned against the railing she was holding onto, letting it catch her weight, and holding her body up.

“Will you stop doing that?” she insisted. Asami raised an eyebrow, glancing over at him before glancing out at the view once more. Everyone had arrived in Zaofu the night before to give Korra a place to rest as she recovered from her head injury. Asami had snuck out of her sleeping quarters early in the morning to talk a walk around the grounds. While the domes were still closed, the rising sun had caused the sky to take on a glittery hue.

After taking the time to look at some of the architecture from the city, Asami found her way towards the Zaofu Overlook. Judging by the location of the Cliffside, when the domes opened, it would offer a fantastic view of the entire colony.

“Since when are you so jumpy?” Bolin turned around and rested his back against the railing, propping his arms up. He glanced over at Asami with a soft smile.

“Anyone would be jumpy if they keep being snuck up on,” she answered, slowly shaking her head. She reached up and brushed her long hair out of her face.

Bolin let out a quiet sigh before locking his fingers together and resting them on his flank. He pursed his lips and then began to quietly hum. “It’s not like you’re doing anything wrong,” he said in a sing-songy voice.

“W-what are you talking about?” Asami asked. She cleared her throat twice, trying to bring the octave of her voice down by passing it off as being affected by the local pollen. “I’m just enjoying the overlook,” she insisted.

“The domes are closed.” Bolin flicked an imaginary piece of lint off of his shirt.

“You can’t tell me that this isn’t a pretty sight.”

“You’re right.” He looked up at the glittery sky with a pleasant smile on his face. “It would be the perfect place to take Opal on a date.” His smile slowly faded into a frown. “Opal,” he whimpered.

“Bolin-”

“I don’t like people being mad at me!” Bolin blurted out. Asami glanced over at him and noticed the dejected look on his face. She wanted to press the topic further but stopped upon taking his physical mood. He had wilted a bit, hunched over slightly. Asami jumped once more when he suddenly straight backed up, as bright as ever. “But, you’re not the only one who thought this would be a great place to clear their head.” He pointed up above their heads.

Asami followed his finger, her mouth dropped open in shock when she spotted Korra air-gliding around the top of the dome. She felt a smile tugging at the corner of her lips, which faded as she watched Korra suddenly drop a few feet towards the ground. Asami swallowed hard and let out a soft sigh when the Avatar rocketed back up into the sky. “She shouldn't be flying. What if she gets hurt again?”

Korra had been making progress in the past few days. While her memory was still impacted she regained some knowledge of her airbending abilities. They were still rusty, not nearly as strong as it used to be. It sent their recruiting mission back a couple of steps as Tenzin, Jinora, and Kai had been re-teaching the Avatar how to conquer the element, much to Korra’s dismay.

“She won’t.” Bolin answered with a shrug. “But, she does add a great view. So, anything you want to talk about?”

Asami pulled her lips into a straight line. She weighed the options in her head, trying to decide if she wanted to take up his offer. While she is normally known as someone with an air of mystery, she was beginning to the feeling that if Bolin picked enough at her, she would be very easy to read. So, Asami went for an easy topic. “…Yeah…we’re friends again?”

“We never stopped,” Bolin chuckled. “So, we had a fight. You’re like Mako. You think what you did was right, even though it ended up backfiring in my face and making my life worse, but I’m over it because you were trying to help.” He nudged her lightly on the arm. “You two are two peas in a pod. I mean, that’s why you dated isn’t it?”

“That was a very brief thing.” Asami shook her head.

“I mean, sure, you were making Korra jealous.”

Asami reached out and punched him on the arm. “I wasn’t trying to make her jealous! I was trying to prove a point.”

Bolin shrugged. “Whatever you say, Sam Sam.”

“Sam Sam?” she repeated with a laugh.

He nudged her once more in the arm. “What’s really going on?” he asked.

She bit her lip, regarding him. Bolin was someone who did offer up some good advice needed and was a great listener. He was always one of the first people she went to when she needed to talk about her thoughts. Of course, normally, the other would be Korra.

While she wasn’t as antagonistic as before, they still weren’t back to their normal groove since she hadn’t regained her memory yet. Although to Asami, it brought back the slight competitive streak they had at the beginning of their friendship, which made things fun again given the serious mission they were on. However, Asami did miss their pillow talks, and just having a close girl friend. Opal has been hard to talk due to being under heavy guidance from Kuvira and the Metal Clan, and Kiyoko hadn’t returned any of her messages.

“…I think the boulder was planted,” Asami admitted.

“By who?” Bolin asked.

“…Someone trying to get rid of the Avatar,” she answered, glancing up at Korra once more. “Or at least take her out of commission for the moment.”

---

Zaheer watched as Rika began to grow frustrated. She was seated on a park bench, one leg crossed over the other, her arms tucked tightly against her chest. Rika glanced at her watch in disgust before shaking her head. Her foot began to rapidly bounce up and down. He took in a deep cleansing breath, silently reminding himself that he would need to teach the girl some patience.

At half past the hour, Zaheer reached into his pocket and pulled out a cell phone. He noticed the email alert flashing on the screen. He half smiled, logging into the email application, noting that a new message was sitting in the drafts folder. There was no set recipient or body to the message. The only text was the subject line that read ‘Guru Laghima’.

Zaheer pressed and held the number five on his phone before putting the device to his ear. He waited patiently as the dial tone peeled through his ear canal. “Ghazan,” he said as soon as the dial tone ended.

“You rang, boss?”

“Just wanted to make sure everything is moving according to the plan.” Zaheer watched as Rika pulled out her cell phone, her thumbs rapidly flying over the screen.

“Not as great as I had hoped,” he admitted. “The Avatar evaded the accident.”

Zaheer curled his other hand into a tight fist. Clenching his jaw, slowly tensed up every muscle in his body. The wind started to pick up. The leaves on the tree he was standing under rustled harshly. A gust blew through the park and ripped a few flags off of the light poles. Rika screamed and covered her head as dirt and rocks blew around. After taking in a deep breath, he slowly released it, counting to ten in his head. The wind calmed down as he relaxed. “Damn it,” he muttered.

“But, she doesn’t remember much of who she is.” Ghazan answered. “It’s the second set of amnesia she’s had in the past few months. May be harder to reverse this time around.”

“Which will make things easier for us.” Zaheer noticed Rika jumping up from the park bench and storming off down the concrete path around the pond. She glanced at her watch one more time before picking up her pace. “Ghazan…set up a flight for me. We need to travel to the Fire Nation.” He hung up the phone before quickly following after the teenager.

“Rika,” he gently called out. “I’m sorry I’m late.”

She turned on the heel of her shoe, before breaking out into a giant smile, although it didn’t fully reach her eyes. “Uncle Zaheer, I thought you forgot about me,” she admitted.

“I would never forget about you, Rika.” Zaheer slightly stooped over and placed a hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry for this quick meeting, but I have to catch a flight.”

“But, I don’t get to see you that often,” she pouted.

“I know,” he said with an apologetic tone, “but there’s something I could use your help with while I’m gone.” He added.

“I want to help!” Rika quickly answered.

“It could be very dangerous, maybe even life altering,” Zaheer warned. “You may not be the same again, afterwards.”

“I want to help you, Uncle Zaheer,” she insisted. “You’ve been very helpful to me. It’s time I returned the favor.”

Zaheer bit his tongue to remind himself to keep his cool as a surge of happiness raced through his body. He half-smiled. “…Then come with me. We have a lot to talk about.”

Chapter Text

Kiyoko closed her locker and sighed hard before reaching into her pocket for her vibrating cell phone. She glanced down at the display on her cell phone, even though she knew it would be another message from Asami. She was the only person from Team Avatar who tried to get in contact with her. While Mako was her boyfriend, she quickly discovered in the beginning of their relationship that he only sent her a message if there was something to talk about. Otherwise he would only send stagnant messages about the weather and what the local food is like during their travels.

"I'm sorry, Asami, but I'll respond soon. Just not now," Kiyoko whispered as she replaced her phone into her pocket. She lifted her head and watched carefully as Rika and Manami walked down the hallway. Kiyoko's eyebrows rose in surprise when she noticed that Rika looked much happier than before.

Manami was loudly talking about some party she had wanted the two of them to attend. She didn't notice that Rika wasn't paying the least bit attention, instead, being absorbed in a yellow pamphlet. A large red and black circular symbol filled the cover. Kiyoko squinted, hoping to try and read the details on the front as the two passed. She jumped when the bell rang. Movement erupted in the hallways as students picked up their pace to make it to their classrooms on time before the late bell rang.

"Rika, here's our class," Manami pointed out. She grabbed her friend by the elbow and pulled her to a stop. Rika looked up from the pamphlet and glanced at the classroom door. She then snickered, reaching behind her to try and stuff the pamphlet into a pocket of her backpack.

"Who cares?" she asked.

"You do!" Manami pointed out. "If it wasn't Asami talking about school all the time, you were right there behind her," she added.

"It doesn't matter anymore." Rika cried out triumphantly when she placed the pamphlet into her backpack. It hung halfway out of the pocket, folding over in the middle.

Manami pulled Rika to the side, near a water fountain. She looked to the left and the right, satisfied with only seeing a sea of students. Kiyoko crept a bit closer, straining to hear among the sounds of the hallway. "What's going on with you?" Manami asked.

Rika chuckled a bit before biting her lip. "There are more important things than school. I'll see you later."

"You're ditching?!"

"Yeah." Rika nodded before smiling. "I have to prepare for tonight. There's something I need to do. Something more important than RITA and becoming the top of the class."

"Rika-"

"You're welcome to come." Rika reached out and grabbed Manami by the shoulders. "It would be so much fun. You'd enjoy it. I finally feel like people are listening to me. They take me seriously."

"You want me to skip school and hang out with your creepy, older new friends?" Manami asked in disbelief. "No way."

"They're my Uncle's friends."

"He's not your uncle."

"He's as good as," Rika insisted. "He is close to my family. I need someone."

Manami reached up and pried Rika's hands from her shoulders. "What about me?" she asked. "I'm the one who has stuck by you through everything."

"You're still my best friend," Rika insisted. "Are you sure you don't want to come to the rally tonight? It's great. We work to make a difference, for non-benders everywhere."

"You sound like those Equalists."

"This is different. This will bring a new world order."

Manami took a long glance at Rika. She then sighed and slowly shook her head. "You're on your own with this one. This is too over my head. Let me know when you want to talk more on the Asami plan."

Rika threw her head back and let out a loud laugh. Manami raised an eyebrow but waited for her friend to regain composure. "…This whole thing helps with the Asami plan. On a bigger scale." She then patted Manami on the arm before heading down the hallway. "I'll see you later. Take good notes."

"Yeah, yeah." Manami waved her hand before walking into the classroom. Kiyoko ducked behind a row of lockers as all the classroom doors began to close. She then heard the click of every door lock.

"This is the break you were waiting for, Kiyoko," she whispered to herself. She adjusted her school bag on her shoulder before walking down the hallway at a fast pace. She knew at any moment she could be caught by a teacher roaming the halls. Upon making her way towards the main hallway, she spotted a piece of paper on the carpeted floor, folded in half down the middle.

Kiyoko sped up and picked the paper off the ground. Unfolding it she discovered it to be a yellow pamphlet. "If this is Rika's, there should be a black circle on the front," she said to herself. Kiyoko wet her lips with her tongue, before turning the pamphlet over. Right on the cover was the black and red circle, like she had seen. Upon closer inspection, she discovered it wasn't a circle but a symbol. The thin red and black lines formed a delicate shape that it reminded Kiyoko of a mandala. "This is what Rika was reading earlier," she whispered. Kiyoko ducked into a bathroom, and began to carefully scan its contents. "It looks like some type of gathering."

---

Kiyoko glanced up at the night sky, the moon began to be covered by a large cloud. She pulled a scarf up from her neck, to cover her mouth and nose. She reached into her pocket bad pulled out a wool knit hat. Placing it on her head, she made sure to tuck all her long hair up underneath the brim. Kiyoko reached into her pocket once more and removed the crumpled-up pamphlet. It had rips and tears, indicating she looked at it the information numerous times.

She turned the pamphlet to the back side before flipping it upside down in her hands. Kiyoko then opened the paper and squinting at the small font along the edge. "This looks to be the right address," she said quietly. Kiyoko refolded the paper and placed it into her pocket before stepping out from the alleyway she was hiding in. She quickly fell into step with a large crowd of people and walked with them into an old building on the corner of the street.

Kiyoko pushed herself to the middle of the group as a police car drove down the street. Upon seeing the group, it had slowed down considerably. The two occupants of the vehicle sat up taller in her seat, eyeing the group as they drove by. Kiyoko turned and faced forward, entering the building.

She felt uncomfortable in the large group. She could feel their body heat radiating around her. There was also some type of electricity in the air, a feeling of excitement. The group soon funneled down into two lines as it made its way down a flight of stairs. Kiyoko was pushed from behind. She reached a hand out to grab onto a nearby railing to stop herself. She soon felt a pair of hands on her arms, catching her before she fell. Kiyoko glanced over her shoulder and gave the person a gentle smile before facing forward.

After walking a narrow hallway, everyone soon stepped into a dimly lit room. Two to three torches casted light on a stage at the back fo the room. Four people stood on the stage facing the audience. All talk in the room was quickly hushed. Kiyoko pulled out the pamphlet once more, glancing at the cover, recognizing the figure staring back at her as Zaheer, the leader.

"Today…is the start of change," Zaheer called out. Kiyoko forced herself to join in with the cheers of the other occupants in the room. She looked up at the stage, shivering as a cold chill raced down her back upon looking at a tall, muscular man with a long goatee. Kiyoko stiffened when she spotted a woman with no arms, dressed in water tribe clothing standing next to the two. She jumped back in fright as a third woman, with an eye tattoo on the center of her forehead, lit up the more torches on the walls around the room.

"It is a new beginning. Soon, there will be no Order of the White Lotus. There will be no hierarchy of benders and non-benders." He paused, allowing for more cheers to fill the room. "We will not follow strict ruling. We will be able to choose to how we want. We will be free." He glanced around the room, making sure to focus on everyone in the room. Kiyoko felt another chill rush down her spine as their eyes connected. She refused to blink as he continued to stare her down. She let out a sigh of relief as Zaheer shifted his focus to others. "The balance of the world will be restored to its proper state."

The woman dressed in water tribe clothing and the woman with the eye tattoo took a few steps back, to allow room for someone dressed in dark robes to walk onto the stage. The guy with the goatee walked over and rolled up the right sleeve of the robes. The woman with the eye tattoo walked up with a small box in her hands. She opened the lid. From the torches on the walls reflecting off the surface, Kiyoko could see that the box contained dark ink.

Zaheer handed a hammer and a metal instrument to the man with the goatee. The metal instrument was long and thin. The end was circular but had numerous small, sharp needles covering the surface. Each needle glittered underneath the lighting. The man dipped the circular end into the ink and held it up next to the hooded figure's pale arm. The man glanced over at Zaheer, who nodded in return. He then quickly pressed the metal instrument against the figure's arm before striking it with the hammer, causing it to pierce into the pale skin, branding them.

"I am proud to present to you all, for the first time, the new member of the Red Lotus." Zaheer triumphantly lifted his hands into the air. "The icon of change in Republic City. Rika Gan-Lan."

The room erupted into deafening applause as Rika reached up and removed the hood from her head. She smiled proudly at the crowd, before glancing down at her arm. Ink and blood dripped down to her fingertips, dripping off onto the floor. She wiped some of the liquid off of her arm, glancing at it underneath the light of the fire, before sticking her finger into her mouth, sucking it off.

"Your target is Asami Sato, traitor to her father, the Equalist movement, and non-benders alike. You're going to hit her where it hurts the most," Zaheer explained. A wild smile forced its way onto Rika's face. "As for the rest of us…"

Kiyoko strained to hear the rest of what Zaheer was saying but got roughly jostled by the large crowd heading for the exit. Their excited chatter drowned out his voice, but she could catch various snippets of "Earth Kingdom", "one who can see all", and "earthbender".

Kiyoko grunted as someone harshly ran into her side. She turned to say something to the person, but quickly found it futile. She then shifted her focus back to the stage but found it empty. Kiyoko then moved with the flow of people out of the building and onto the streets of Republic City. As soon as she walked down the stairs of the building she ran all the way back to her home. She didn't stop to greet her parents as she barreled through the door. Throwing and excuse about homework over her shoulder, Kiyoko ran all the way up to her bedroom and slammed the door shut, making sure to lock it.

She leaned up against the door, panting heavily, trying to catch her breath. Wiping her forehead free of sweat, she crossed her room and pulled an encyclopedia from her bookshelf, a gift from her parents for getting into RITA. Kiyoko tossed her cell phone onto her bed, ignoring it as it bounced off and clattered to the floor.

"One who can see all," Kiyoko mumbled to herself as she flipped through the pages. Her hands shook, causing the book to clatter to the floor. She let out a soft curse as she dropped to her knees. Her cell phone lit up and began to ring. "Earthbender…" Kiyoko ignored her phone and dragged the book closer to her. She rapidly slapped at the pages, turning them in chunks.

Kiyoko finally reached a page with Toph Beifong's picture. She swallowed hard and began to scan the text, looking for information. "Here it is! Toph Beifong is the only known living bender who can use her earthbending to detect those who tell lies. Her location is unknown." Kiyoko reached up and brushed her hair out of her face. "That means," she panted, "there's someone else."

As if hearing her phone ringing for the first time, Kiyoko dove to the floor and picked up the electronic device. She quickly read the screen, seeing Asami's name flash, before swiping the green phone button and pressing her phone to her ear.

"Asami," Kiyoko cried.

"Kiyoko!" Asami greeted her happily. "I was beginning to think you were ignoring me. How-"

"Asami, listen," she interrupted, "this is important."

"What's wrong?"

"…You all need to get out of the Earth Kingdom…and fast!"

Chapter Text

Asami hummed to herself as she repelled down the side of the airship. Hermes floated next to her, holding a wrench between its jaws. She braced herself against the side of the ship, bending her knees and leaning back. Placing a hand up to her forehead, she shielded her eyes while watching the sun set over the mountains.

The new shift of weight caused her foot to slip out from underneath her, making her slide down the rope in a rapid descent. Letting out a scream, Asami reached down and pressed a button on the belt of the harness around her waist. She grunted as she came to a sudden stop. Asami looked up to see how far she had fallen before looking to her right. A metal panel of the airship had begun to peel off; two screws missing from their holes.

Team Avatar had traveled from Zaofu to Ba Sing Se in their search for more airbenders. During the trip, they hit some rough patches with weather and got pummeled by a sandstorm. After docking in Ba Sing Se, Asami decided to do a maintenance check while Tenzin, Korra, Jinora, and Kai traveled to the Outer and Middle rings of the city to gather some airbenders but were rebuffed by the Dai Li at every turn.

"Well, at least I got here faster," Asami muttered. She took a deep breath to slow her pulse. With a shaking hand, she wiped the sweat off her forehead.

Hermes mewed loudly before floating down next to Asami. He leaned forward and rubbed his nose against Asami's cheek, gently nuzzling her. She smiled at him before holding her hand out. Hermes opened its jaws and dropped the wrench into Asami's palm. Twirling the wrench around her finger, she reached into her pocket and pulled out two large nuts and bolts. Asami made quick work of fixing the large metal panel.

Hermes hooted happily and did a flip in the air upon Asami's completion of her work. She giggled as he nuzzled her cheek once more. Asami released the stopper on her waistband and began to repel down the side of the airship once more. As soon as her feet touch the ground, Asami unbuckled herself from the harness. She took a step back and let go, watching as it zipped back up towards the top of the airship.

"Hey Asami," Bolin called out. Asami waved back in acknowledgment as she walked around the base of the airship, inspecting more of the metal paneling. "Mako, Jinora, and I are going with Kai to get deeper into the Earth Kingdom. We're going to see if we can find more airbenders. Want to come?" he asked.

Asami half smiled before shaking her head. "My to-do list is long," she answered. A black shadow floated across the ground. She looked up and her smile widened when she spotted Korra gliding through the air.

"She's going to be fine," Bolin said. Asami looked over in confusion. "You don't have to wait around for her. Her memory will eventually come back. Just like last time."

Asami sighed, running a hand through her hair. "I just want to make sure she's alright. Even with her head injury, people are still going to expect the Avatar to help them with their problems."

Bolin bit his bottom lip, looking away. Raising an eyebrow, Asami leaned over trying to catch a look at his face. Every time she got close, he would turn around in another direction. Hermes swooped down and hissed angrily at him. Bolin jumped back and Asami placed both her hands on his shoulders, forcing him to stand still.

"What's going on?" she demanded.

"The Earth Queen asked for a visit from the Avatar," Bolin said quietly. "She needs her assistance with something."

Asami sighed before reaching up and running her hand through her hair. She squinted up at the sky, before cupping her hands around her mouth. "Korra!" she shouted. Korra looked down at the two of them, quickly changing direction on her glider. She swooped down in big circles, causing Asami's hair and skirt to ruffle in the wind.

Korra jumped off her glider, and landed on the ground, bending her knees to absorb her fall. Lifting a hand into the air, she caught her glider before pushing down into its compact state and placing it into her pocket. "You rang?" she asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

"I'm coming with you to visit the Earth Queen," Asami stated.

"I don't recall asking you," Korra pointed out. Bolin made a noise of agreement.

"You're still fragile," Asami said gently. "You can't go by yourself and-"

"I'm sick and tired of people telling me what I can and can't do," Korra cried, stomping her foot. Bolin let out a cry of shock as the ground underneath his feet rose into a high pillar. He quickly performed a backflip and dropped back to the ground. "Yeah, I have a head injury. Sure, my memory hasn't come back…so I've been told, but I'm not going to fight anyone. I'm just going to hear what she wants to say, and find out where the airbenders are."

"There aren't any airbenders here," Bolin said. "We've been told that numerous times."

"Yeah, and I enjoy going shopping." Korra rolled her eyes. "I'll believe it when I see it."

"Well, let me know when you're ready to go," Asami

"A body guard, how nice." Korra smiled brightly. "I never needed one with these babies right here." With that, she lifted her arms and flexed her muscles, nodding in satisfaction as the muscles rippled.

"Okay, Fabio," she snorted.

Korra quickly dropped her arms, her eyes widening in confusion. "Who?" she asked. Bolin stifled a laugh. He walked over, placed an arm on Asami's shoulder, and directed a finger gun at her.

"You read romance novels, don't you?" he half-smiled.

"No," Asami shook her head. She pushed Bolin away before waving her hand in the air, fanning herself. "…I just like the covers," she insisted. Korra and Bolin shared a look before standing in front of her, their arms crossed. "What? It's hot out here."

"Busted," Bolin laughed. Hermes chirped happily as Mako, Jinora, and Kai walked up. Hermes nuzzled Asami one more time before fading from site. Korra lifted her fingers to her mouth and blew hard, giving a shrill whistle. A loud bark emerged from the airship before Naga bounded down the ramp, sliding to a stop in front of everyone. Korra laughed happily when Naga gave her a large lick.

"Let's get going," Asami said. She walked to Naga's side and checked the pouch, nodding when she found a radio in one of the pockets. "Do you have a radio?" she asked over her shoulder.

"Right here," Kai said, patting the bag resting on his hip. Korra swung her arms around and produced a gust of wind. She pushed herself up onto Naga's back before leaning over and holding her hand out to help Asami up. Naga bent down and laid on her stomach.

"Good, so we'll all be in contact." Asami grabbed a hold of Korra's hand and cried out in shock as Korra gave a hard tug and pulled her up into Naga's seat. Korra scratched Naga behind her ears before using her knees to direct Naga towards the city.

"Have fun with the queen," Bolin said while taking a few steps out of the way.

"Let's go, girl. To the palace." Korra grabbed Asami's hands and pulled them around her waist as Naga reared back on her hind legs before shooting forward. Asami grunted as she fell forward, slamming into Korra's back. She released one hand from Korra's tight grip and reached up to pull her goggles down over her eyes.

---

"Well, that was a waste of time," Asami said. Korra turned and gave the large doors a swift kick. Asami watched with amusement as Korra let out a curse and grabbed her foot. She then began to jump up and down, muttering underneath her breath. Naga walked over and let out a quiet whimper before licking Korra's cheek. Korra stopped jumping around, wincing as she placed her foot onto the ground. She whispered into Naga's ear, scratching her flank, before motioning to Asami to follow her down the city streets.

"She wants me to collect on a tax, but insists that there's no airbenders?" Korra seethed. "I'm not buying it. Every other place in the Earth Kingdom had at least one bender."

"Not that it would make much a difference," Asami admitted. "We've been having a lot of trouble getting people to join us to rebuild the nation. No one has taken up our offer yet."

"Who can blame them? I don't think I'd be able to give up meat." Korra rubbed her stomach as it growled loudly. Asami smiled as Korra continued to shower Naga with some attention.

Watching her act gently with the animal reminded Asami of how simple things were during the holidays, when everything was quiet and they could just relax and be normal teenagers.

"Ready to go?" Korra asked.

"Yeah, I just need to make a quick phone call." She picked up her phone and flipped through her contacts. She quickly found Kiyoko's name before pressing the green phone icon. Asami placed her phone up to her ear and leaned against the wall of a small café. Korra walked Naga over to the shade before giving her a small treat.

"Asami," Kiyoko cried once she answered the phone.

"Kiyoko!" Asami greeted her happily. "I was beginning to think you were ignoring me. How-"

"Asami, listen," she interrupted, "this is important."

"What's wrong?"

"…You all need to get out of the Earth Kingdom…and fast!"

"Why?" Asami asked. "What's going on?" Kiyoko started to respond but she was drowned out by loud beeping sound. She pulled the cell phone from her ear and glanced at the screen. Kiyoko's name flashed twice before disappearing, her home screen became the main display.

"What's up?" Korra asked.

"I don't know," Asami said slowly. She pocketed her phone before looking up at her. "Kiyoko said we needed to leave the Earth Kingdom. She sounded really scared and worried."

Korra held up a finger before waving her hand in the air. "Who is Kiyoko?" she asked.

"Our friend," Asami answered. Things between the two of them was beginning to feel normal again that she had forgotten Korra still had memory problems. "Well, she's more my friend, but she's a friend."

"Why are we not friends?"

"We go to the same school…and you kinda kissed her boyfriend," Asami said.

"Who's her boyfriend?"

"Mako."

Korra squinted, tilted her head to the side. "I thought…"

"Long, long story that we don't have time for." Asami walked over to Naga and pulled out the radio. She placed the strap onto her shoulder and picked up the microphone. "I'll explain later."

Before Asami could move a dial, the microphone in her hand exploded. She gasped and dropped the electronic to the ground. Korra quickly shifted to her left and tensed up when she spotted a small group of men riding motorcycles heading in their direction. The guy in the front, wearing a bandana around his mouth, held a gun out in front of him, pointing directly at Asami.

Asami looked over and flinched as she heard the bang of the gun go off. Korra quickly waved her hand in the air. Asami opened her eyes when she heard the bullet pierce the wall of the building behind her. Korra stuck her hand out, palm facing the leader of the bandits before quickly closing it. The gun crumbled upon itself into a small ball of metal.

Asami let out a cry and threw herself to the ground on the left as one bandit riding a motorcycle aimed it directly at her. The motorcycle fell to its side and slid up to the side of the building, sputtering to a stop.

"Who are these guys?" Korra asked. The leader of the group, whom Korra quickly deduced from the bandana around his mouth, climbed off his motorcycle. He reached behind him and pulled a large metal stick out from the back seat of the motorcycle. He then pushed a button and the end of the stick crackled with electricity.

"Bandits," Asami answered. She quickly placed her electric glove on and turned it up to its highest setting. The bandit in front of her rolled his eyes before charging. Pulling his arm back, he aimed a punch directly at her face. Asami blocked his punch and placed the glove directly at his chest. He shouted in pain before dropping to the ground. "Looks like they came to us."

"No, Naga!" Korra shouted. Asami turned and saw Naga flopped to the ground, her legs caught in some netting. Two bandits were taunting her, sticking their electro-sticks into the ground near her head. Asami ran over and shocked one of the bandits in their side. She then grabbed the stick from the other bandit and pulled hard, tugging him close. Korra waved her arms and bent the air, blowing a large gust at him, throwing him high into the air. Asami threw the electro-stick away and dropped to her knees. Naga whimpered upon seeing the electric glove on her hand.

"It's okay, girl," Asami said, quickly peeling her glove off her arm. "Everything will be okay." She reached into her hair and pulled out a long metal hair clip. She pressed a button at the base and a knife blade flipped open. Asami made quick work of the netting, cutting through it to free Naga's legs. "There you go." Naga quickly jumped up and let out a low and long growl.

"Naga, go," Korra ordered. The polar bear dog turned towards Korra, her ears folding back. "Run, now!" she instructed. Naga barked once before turning and tearing down the street and out of the city. Asami picked her glove back up and slipped it on.

"I know I'm a little rusty, but what do you say we take these two down?" Korra asked.

"Let's do it." Asami nodded. Before she could move, she felt something solid slam into her side. Asami grunted as she fell to the ground, a heavy weight on her chest. A bandit perched himself over Asami, his knees pressing down on her wrists by her sides, pinning her to the ground. Asami grunted as she twisted from side to side, trying to throw the bandit off. He charged his electro-stick and aimed it directly for Asami's neck.

Korra crouched down low and swept her feet along the ground. Pieces of earth popped up and flew straight at the leader. He quickly dropped to the ground and rolled underneath the slabs of rock. Upon returning to his feet, he quickly bent backward as stream of flames blew above his face.

As Korra turned to perform a spinning roundhouse kick, the leader of the bandits ducked before swinging the electro-stick and striking her in the back of her head. Korra let out a loud cry of pain and covered her hands over her head. The bandit then kicked her in the stomach. She grunted and fell to the ground.

"Korra!" Asami shouted. She threw herself to her side and pulled her arm out from underneath a bandit's knee. She charged up the glove and held it directly in the middle of the guy's pants and let out a large charge. The man howled in pain before jumping off, clasping his hands against his crotch. Asami picked up his electro-stick before performing a kip-up to get back to her feet. The bandit rolled to his side and retched violently.

Asami ran over to the leader standing above Korra. Hearing her footsteps, the leader turned and charged at her. Asami quickly ducked low and ran the electro-stick directly into the leader's stomach. He grunted in pain and collapsed to the ground. Asami grabbed him by the neck with her electric glove and shocked him until he passed out.

"I'm fine." Korra hissed as her fingers ran against the cut on the back of her head. She pulled her hand back and frowned at the blood on her fingers. Asami helped Korra to her feet before pulling her over to a nearby motorcycle.

"No, you're not. We must get back to the airship." She picked up the motorcycle from the ground and quickly checked it over. She swung a leg over and sat down on the seat. Asami quickly looked at the dashboard and turned the key, smiling happily as the engine revved to life. Korra carefully climbed onto the back motorcycle and wrapped her arms around Asami's waist. "Don't worry, I got you."

Chapter Text

Bolin watched, sighing happily as Asami made her way up along the side of the airship, a blowtorch gripped tightly in her hand. He tilted his head to the side, marveling at the way she easily scaled the side paneling, never hesitating.

While working for Asami at her company as her assistant, Bolin learned a lot about mechanics and engineering. Sure, he never really understood all the technical jargon they used during meetings and planning sessions, he did see things get done under her direction. Going to school and running a company made Bolin worry a lot about his friend's health, not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well.

There have been many times he'd see Asami working through the night, insisting she'd be fine the next morning by downing large amounts of coffee. Many times, she'd end up taking naps in her office during her rare downtime. Bolin was always instructed to wake her after ten minutes, but he'd "accidentally" forget and allow her to sleep for hours at a time. Though he was scolded for setting back her schedule, he knew Asami never meant a word she said, because soon after he'd be rewarded with a small special perk here and there.

Of course, Bolin could tell that Asami really enjoyed her work. She never even called it that, she would just mention what new projects she was working on. When asked, Asami would state that once tinkering with cars or designing new blueprints became work, she would start to hate it.

Even while they were having their fight, which looking back now Bolin had to admit he acted a bit immaturely, he was still in awe with everything that Asami had down to help the group and their mission. Now, here she was watching over Korra to make sure she healed properly and not push herself.

"Asami, you're always doing something for someone else," Bolin whispered to herself. He glanced up and spotted Korra on her glider, gently dipping and waving in the breeze. "When will you stop putting yourself aside and do what you really want?"

Bolin jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Mako gave him a gentle smile before stepping away, Jinorah and Kai walking up behind him. "Ready to go?"

"Yeah, let's do it." Bolin nodded.

"We should probably mention to Korra and Asami what we're doing," Kai pointed out.

Bolin sighed, looking back at the two women. "Do we have to interrupt them?" he quietly asked.

"This is kind of important," Jinorah pressed. "We all came out to assist on this mission."

"I know." He half smiled. "It's just the one time I've really seen Asami relax."

"She knew the importance of the job," Mako pointed out. He then smiled warmly. "Besides, she'll be fine. She's Asami. She can do anything."

"You're right."

Bolin stepped out into the bright sun, shielded his eyes from the harsh sun. He gasped loudly when Asami suddenly slipped down the side of the airship. Bolin exhaled in relief as she came to a jerking stop. While he did admire the work she does, he still worried about her.

"Hey Asami," Bolin called out, as soon as he was in shouting distance. Asami gave him a wave as she walked around the base of the airship, inspecting more of the metal paneling. "Mako, Jinorah, and I are going with Kai deeper into the Earth Kingdom. We're going to see if we can find more airbenders. Want to come?" he asked.

Asami half smiled before shaking her head. "My to-do list is kinda long," she answered. A black shadow floated across the ground. She looked up and her smile widened when she spotted Korra gliding through the air.

Bolin reached out and placed a hand on her shoulder. Pabu popped out from underneath Bolin's shirt, ran down the length of his arm, and curled up around Asami's neck, nuzzling her cheek. "She's going to be fine," Bolin said. Asami looked over at him in confusion. "You don't have to wait around for her. Her memory will eventually come back. Just like last time."

Asami sighed, running a hand through her hair. "I just want to make sure she's alright. Even with her head injury, people are still going to expect the Avatar to help them with their problems."

Bolin bit his bottom lip, looking away. Raising an eyebrow, Asami leaned over, trying to catch a look at his face. Every time she got close, he would turn around in another direction. Hermes swooped down and hissed angrily at him. Bolin jumped back, and Asami placed both her hands on his shoulders, forcing him to stand still.

"What's going on?" she demanded.

"The Earth Queen has asked for a visit from the Avatar," Bolin said quietly. "She needs her assistance with something."

Asami sighed before dropping her arms. The fur on Pabu's tail stood on end. He chirped quietly before running back to Bolin, hiding in his shirt. Bolin took one small step back. He could feel the anger radiating off Asami.

Asami squinted up at the sky, before cupping her hands around her mouth. "Korra!" she shouted. Korra looked down at the two of them quickly changing direction on her glider. She swooped down in big circles, causing Asami's hair and skirt to ruffle in the wind.

Korra jumped off her glider, and landed on the ground, bending her knees to absorb her fall. Lifting a hand into the air, she caught her glider before pushing down into its compact state and placing it into her pocket. "You rang?" she asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

"I'm coming with you to visit the Earth Queen," Asami stated.

"I don't recall asking you," Korra pointed out. Bolin made a noise of agreement. He took an even bigger step back as Asami glanced over at him, raising an eyebrow. While the two were good friends, being Asami's assistant had made Bolin more aware of the emotions Asami tried to hide, especially anger. While she never said much during business meetings or working with her staff, all she needed to do was make a specific face and the tension in the air would change. Most importantly, Asami would remain calm, something Bolin found scarier than anyone yelling.

"You're still fragile," Asami said, turning her attention back to Korra. "You can't go by yourself and-"

"I'm sick and tired of people telling me what I can and can't do," Korra cried, stomping her foot. Bolin let out a cry of shock as the ground underneath his feet rose into a high pillar. He quickly performed a back flip and dropped back to the ground. "Yeah, I have a head injury. Sure, my memory hasn't come back…so I've been told, but I'm not going to fight anyone. I'm just going to hear what she wants to say, and find out where the airbenders are."

"There aren't any airbenders here. Not in the main city," Bolin said. "We've been told that numerous times. Which is why we're going to move out of the city."

"Yeah, and I enjoy going shopping." Korra rolled her eyes. "I'll believe it when I see it."

"Well, let me know when you're ready to go," Asami insisted.

"A body guard, how nice." Korra smiled brightly. "I never needed one with these babies right here." With that, she lifted her arms and flexed her muscles, nodding in satisfaction as the muscles rippled.

"Okay, Fabio," she snorted.

Korra quickly dropped her arms, her eyes widening in confusion. "Who?" she asked. Bolin stifled a laugh. He walked over, placed an arm on Asami's shoulder, and directed a finger gun at her.

"You read romance novels, don't you?" he half-smiled. Bolin smiled even bigger when he spotted the lightest shade of pink started to stain her cheeks. He then reached out and playfully poked her left cheekbone.

Teasing Asami was something he also enjoyed doing. Ever since New Year's, or really around the time of the Summer Solstice Festival, Bolin had found it easier and easier to find ways to get the engineer flustered, especially when the topics of dating or romance was involved.

"No," Asami shook her head. She pushed Bolin away before waving her hand in the air, fanning herself. "…I just like the covers," she insited. Korra and Bolin shared a look before standing in front of her, their arms crossed. "What? It's hot out here."

"Busted," Bolin laughed. Hermes chirped happily as Mako, Jinora, and Kai all waked up. Hermes nuzzled Asami one more time before fading from site. Korra lifted her fingers to her mouth and blew hard, giving a shrill whistle. A loud bark emerged from the airship before Naga bounded down the ramp, sliding to a stop in front of everyone. Korra happily laughed when Naga gave her a large lick.

"Let's get going," Asami said. She walked to Naga's side and checked the pouch, nodding when she found a radio in one of the pockets. "Do you have a radio?" she asked over her shoulder.

"Right here," Kai said, patting the bag resting on his hip. Korra swung her arms around and produced a gust of wind. She pushed herself up onto Naga's back before leaning over and holding her hand out to help Asami up. Naga bent down and laid on her stomach.

"Good, so we'll all be in contact." Asami grabbed a hold of Korra's hand and cried out in shock as Korra gave a hard tug and pulled her up into Naga's seat. Korra scratched Naga behind her ears before using her knees to direct Naga towards the city.

"Have fun with the queen," Bolin said while taking a few steps out of the way.

"Let's go, girl. To the city." Korra grabbed Asami's hands and pulled them around her waist as Naga reared back on her hind legs before shooting forward. Asami grunted as she fell forward, slamming into Korra's back. She released one hand from Korra's tight grip and reached up to pull her goggles down over her eyes.

"Are you ready to go?" Mako asked. He clipped a raido onto his hip. "I want to get back before dusk." He turend towards Jinora and Kai. "We may have cell phones but the service could easily be terrible where we're all going. Plus, these radios don't have much juice left. Only use it when needed."

"We probably should have told Korra and Asami that," Bolin pointed out. He turned, hands cupping his mouth, ready to call out. He stopped upon noticing the small white figure racing off into the distance. "I forget how fast Naga is sometimes."

"It wouldn't have made much of a difference. You know how impulsive Korra is," Mako said with a smile. "We can radio them later." He bid his goodbyes to Jinora and Kai before heading into town towards the closest train.

---

Mako grunted as a heavy weight slammed into his back. His grip tightened on the grab handle overhead. He looked over his shoulder and glared as a heavy-set man, who chuckled and slapped Mako hard on the back. Grumbling to himself, he moved a hand behind his back and snapped his fingers. A small flame lit up overtop his finger. The heavyset man had turned his attention to his nose, digging a finger deep into his nostril.

The people around him watched in disgust. A young man holding a grab handle leaned away as the heavyset man moved to wipe the mucus from his nose onto the seat of his pants. Another bump from the train caused the younger man to fall right into the larger man's armpit, his face full of the sweat stained clothing.

Mako extinguished the flame and slowly made his way through the sea of people, trying to find a new grab handle to hold. Bolin was happily perched on a seat, one he grabbed as soon as they got onto the train. Pabu, perched on his head, was looking out the window as the train rushed through the middle ring, and towards the lower ring. Bolin was, once again, staring at his phone, a pout pulling his lips downward.

"Bolin," Mako said gently. Bolin slowly looked up from his phone. Pabu's tail suddenly fell into his face. Bolin smiled before placing his phone into his pocket and brushing Pabu's tail out of the way. "I think it may be helpful to focus your attention on something else."

Bolin nodded. "You know you feel like a piece of home is with you as you wear that scarf?" he asked.

"I also feel that way with you around."

"Same," Bolin quickly agreed, "But, outside of us, we don't have family. Blood family. Opal made me feel like home." He raised a shoulder. "It's kind of hard to explain."

"Don't worry, you're making sense," Mako reassured him. He grunted as the train went over another bump, and again sent someone flying into his back. His grip tightened on the grab handle overhead. He looked over his shoulder ready to shout at the person but stopped when he noticed an attractive girl straightening back up.

"Sorry about that," she said with an apologetic smile. "Is it okay if I stand here?" a girl asked. She looked to be around the same age as Mako, maybe a bit younger. She smiled at him while pointing to the grab handle near his. Mako nodded once before stepping to the side. "Sorry, but I didn't want to be close to that guy either."

"Oh, it's quite alright," Mako said. He moved a few spaces over and tried to readjust the radio and handbag flung over his shoulder. He removed the radio and placed it into the bag, to try and make room.

"The space seems to be smaller over here, but I'll manage," the girl commented. She adjusted her own bag so that it rested on her left hip instead of dangle in front of her. A look of discomfort flashed across her face as she was jostled a bit into a young girl. The young girl's mother gave her a dirty look.

"Bolin, take the bag for a second." Mako all but threw the bag into Bolin's lap. Bolin quickly sat up and closed his legs so the bag landed on his thighs. "Is that better?" Mako asked.

"Yes, thank you." The girl adjusted the strap on the leather bag on her shoulder. She fiddled with the zipper on the main body of her bag, trying to close it, but gave up after a few seconds.

Bolin clasped their bag to his chest. He got up from his seat on the train and shuffled to the side to allow and mother with a loudly crying baby to have his seat. Pabu leaned forward, sniffing at the baby's foot. Bolin scolded him. Pabu's ears folded back and he slowly slunk back up Bolin's arm and sat on his shoulder.

"Arriving at the Lower Ring," an automated voice said over the loud speaker. The train's wheels screeched loudly as it slowed to a stop. The girl stumbled backward and slammed into Bolin, the leather bag, cushioning her fall. A loud ripping sound filled the cabin but was quickly drowned out by the loud chatter of people getting ready to disembark the train.

"Sorry," she apologized, her face turning beat red.

"Not a problem," Mako quickly answered. "Bolin is pretty sturdy. Is this your stop?"

"Yes, it is," The girl said. She adjusted the bag on her shoulder, quickly zipping it up and holding it against her chest. Mako used his body as a shield and helped the girl off the train and not get too bustled by the other people spilling out the doors. "Have a good day," the girl said before rushing off. Mako smiled and waved after her.

"You have a girlfriend," Bolin pointed out, crossing his arms, raising an eyebrow.

"I know." Mako dropped his arm. "Though she hasn't responded to my messages. Maybe, Asami…would know…why…" he slowly trailed off as Bolin gave him a smug smile. "What?!" he asked.

"Is that like a thing you do?" he pressed.

"What thing?"

"You tend to be really attentive to other girls when you're dating one." Bolin shrugged. He then clasped his hands behind his back, and began to rock back and forth.

"That's not true!" Mako insisted. He reached up and ran a hand through his hair. "I was just trying to be helpful. A gentleman."

"Whatever you say." Mako angrily reached out and punched him on the shoulder. Bolin chuckled before reaching up and wiping the sweat off of his forehead.

"It's too hot, Pabu. Maybe you should climb inside." Bolin unzipped the bag and held it open. Pabu popped his head out from underneath Bolin's shirt. He considered the bag, chirped loudly, and retreated inside Bolin's shirt. Bolin opened the bag wider, gasping loudly at the dirt ground below.

"Um, bro, we have a problem," Bolin held up the bag, pointing to the giant rip at the bottom. Mako groaned loudly before turning on the spot. He let out a roar of frustration. The girl had all but disappeared.

"What did she take?" Mako asked.

Bolin stuck his hand into the bag, fishing around, before it popped out the other end. "I'm going to take an educated guess, but…everything." Pabu popped out of the back of Bolin's shirt. He crawled down his owner's arm and down into the open bag. He chirped loudly as he soon fell out of the bottom onto the ground. "We don't have any money," Bolin said.

"Bolin, we don't have our passports," Mako said. He reached up and ran a hand over his face. "We can't get back to the Upper Ring without them. We're stuck!"

"What are we going to do?" Bolin asked. Mako sighed hard before raising a fist into the air. A large tower of fire erupted from the end and shot straight up into the sky. He inhaled and exhaled slowly before lowering his hand. Without saying a word, he marched forward, his shoulders hunched over.

Bolin quickly followed behind him in silence. The two walked along the barren lower ring, occasionally reaching up and wiping the sweat off their foreheads and necks. They passed numerous empty wooden shacks and stalls. Sand coated their clothing as an occasional breeze picked up. While it was a reprieve from the heat, it didn't help that it caused sand to stick to their exposed skin.

"Look, a market," Mako pointed out as they neared numerous shops and stalls. People dressed in Earth Nation gear were standing behind each table calling out to Bolin and Mako to purchase some of their items. Mako would briefly glance at each stall but continued to walk by. Most stalls were selling cheap jewelry, counterfeit historical war items, or had photos of the past King Bumi plastered onto as many random items as they could.

"What do we do now?" Bolin asked.

"Right now, we should find something to eat," Mako answered. He sucked his cheeks in, gathered as much saliva as possible, before tilting his head back and swallowing, coating his dry throat. "Keep our strength up."

"There's a fruit stand over there," Bolin said, pointing to a stall. It was tucked in between two other stalls. A tattered piece of clothing was overhead, giving some shade to the teenager standing behind the wooden set up. He was buffing a crisp looking apple with a cloth.

"We may have to pull out some of our old tricks," Mako whispered.

"They're all rotting, don't even bother," the teenager shouted back. He disappeared behind the stall and reappeared with a bushel of apples. Fliers swarmed the fruit. "And this one is mine," he added, picking up the crisp apple, taking a huge bite.

"How'd he hear us?" Bolin asked.

"Doesn't matter. That food wouldn't be worth it right now," Mako said with a shrug. "Even though we have eaten worse."

"What are you saying? My fruit isn't good enough for you to pinch?" the teenager demanded.

"Wait, I'm confused." Bolin reached up and scratched his head. "Do you want us to steal from you, or don't you?"

"So, you admit that you want to steal from me and my family?" the teenager asked. Before Mako or Bolin could move, the teenager jumped from behind the wooden stall. As soon as his feet hit the ground, a giant slab of rock popped up out of the earth and shot towards Mako and Bolin. The two let out loud grunts of pain as they were knocked off their feet.

Mako tried to roll to his side, to check on Bolin but found his waist and legs pinned by rock. Bolin wheezed as the teenager jumped on top of him, pressing his face into the ground.

"Mako?" a rough voice called out. "Bolin?"

Mako turned his head to the side. A wooden crate of fruit crashed to the ground. Lemons, limes, and mangos rolled in different directions. A pair of feet quickly ran up to him. Mako lifted his eyes, squinting at the bright sun. "Dad?" he muttered, dust and dirt coating his mouth.

"That proves it," Bolin grunted. "We're dead."

"No, I'm his brother, Chow. Tu, get off your cousins." Bolin let out a sigh of relief as the man lying on top of him was removed. He sat up and brushed the dirt out of his hair. Mako sighed happily as the rock hold him in place was removed. Mako stretched his arms before reaching up to rub his neck. He then began to furiously brush the dirt off the red scarf around his neck.

"Cousins?" Mako repeated.

Tu ran around picking up the various pieces of fruit and placing them back into the crate. Using his pant leg, he wiped the dirt off two mangos before tossing them over to Bolin and Mako. Bolin caught his and ripped it in half, holding some out to Pabu who chirped happily.

"You need to come with us, to meet the rest of the family." Chow held out his hand to help Mako to his feet. Mako looked down at the gloved hand before nodding in agreement. Chow yanked him to his feet before placing an arm around him. Tu packed up the rest of the food and stored it away underneath the fruit stand.

"Did you hear that, Mako?" Bolin said, excitedly hitting his brother on the arm. "We have a family!"

"We've had a family for the last few years," Mako said evenly as he followed Chow and Tu down the road. "Remember, Korra? Asami? Tenzin?"

"But…this time it's blood."

Mako wanted to respond but stayed quiet. He understood; he had the same longing to find members of his family for years. While over the years, his hope of meeting a distant relative dwindled, he still held onto that feeling, mostly for his brother. Mako reached out and lightly punched Bolin on the arm.

Chow and Tu turned down a small alleyway in between two rundown buildings. Mako and Bolin sighed happily from the instant relief from the shade. Tu pulled a set of keys out of his pocket and unlocked a padlock door. Mako titled his head in confusion, but stepped past the threshold after Bolin. Tu quickly pulled the door shut, and locked it behind him, pocketing the padlock.

"This your grandmother, Yin," Chow said, gesturing to an older woman across the room. The frail older woman shifted her gaze from a framed photo of the Earth Queen upon hearing her name. Her eyes widened in shock, her hand shook as she reached up and covered her mouth, a gasp barely escaping.

"Grandmother!" Bolin squealed. He quickly pulled Mako into his side before grabbing Yin and hugging the two of them. Mako cried out in discomfort. As soon as Bolin loosened his grip, Mako gave Yin a long hug.

Mako couldn't help but lower his head, inhaling deeply. Her scent was a mixture of baked goods and a light earthy perfume. He felt all the tension in his body melt away, instantly relaxing. Even though meeting and embracing for the first time, he felt very comforted. Much more than he had felt in the longest time.

Growing up on the street and protecting his younger brother, Mako never really felt the same complacent comforting feel as an older family member can give. He wouldn't trade his brother for the world, but Mako had to grow up quickly to make sure nothing happened to Bolin. After his parents passed away, no one really looked after Mako. Granted, the Triple Triads did take them both in, and while he was grateful, it didn't really feel the same.

"You boys looks just like your father," she said while pulling away from Mako's embrace. "Is he and my daughter-in-law with you?" she asked, glancing at the door.

Bolin and Mako exchanged a sad look. "No, they passed away when we were young," Mako answered with a slow shake of his head. "Taken down by firebenders."

"Oh dear." Yin clasped her hands together and bowed her head. "May they rest in peace, but we're so thankful to finally meet you."

"Finally?" Mako asked at the same time Bolin said, "We?" It was then the two got a good look at the room. Numerous people had filed into the room from behind a curtain and some continued to arrive. They would pause at the door way as soon as they spotted Mako and Bolin and inched closer. Some women were holding babies, and some people were older, shuffling slowly. They all wore tattered and threadbare Earth Nation clothing.

"Does everyone live here?" Mako slowly asked.

"Yes," Yin said. She quickly shooed away two young children and offered Bolin and Mako a seat. Another member of the family placed a small plate of various pieces of fruit and vegetables onto their plates. Bolin split his portion in half and motioned for Pabu to eat as well. "It was the only way to save up enough money to send to you both."

"No one has sent us money," Mako said. He refused to look at the others in the room as he slowly ate the food placed in front of him. He chewed slowly, savoring each piece, but also feeling a bit of guilt due to eating small portions of food, which he was sure wasn't much to begin with. He blinked rapidly, a sharp sting erupted behind his eyes. He blinked quickly, reaching up to wipe at his eyes, feigning that he was removing some dirt.

"You haven't received it yet," Chow answered. "Trust funds."

Mako paused mid chew. A bit of juice dribbled down his chin. He quickly wiped it away with the back of his hand before swallowing. "We have a trust fund?"

"We've been setting it up for years." Yin took a seat in between Mako and Bolin. She reached out and wiped the dribbles off Bolin's chin with a napkin. She then reached up and brushed a few stray pieces of food off Mako's red scarf. "For you both to have a good life."

"Why didn't you use that money to come and visit?" Bolin asked. He reached out and scratched Pabu behind his ears. Pabu hiccuped before slinking closer to Bolin, closing his eyes, and leaning into his hand. "Why didn't you say anything?"

"We're going through tough times right now. It's not much, but its home and our family made this place. I may be proud of where I'm living and how I'm living because I worked for it, but I didn't' want to subject you all to what we're going through," Chow said. "Your parents wouldn't have wanted that. That's why they left, to look for a better life for all of us."

"They sent us a lot of letters, updating us about the two of you," Yin said proudly. "You've been doing so well. They told us about their schooling plans for you. Then, the letters stopped coming." Everyone in the room got quiet. A woman gently shushed her fussing baby. Yin cleared her throat before placing a hand on Bolin's and Mako's arm. "But, it's okay, because you're here now. We can catch up."

"Unfortunately, we won't be here for long," Mako announced.

"We're working with Avatar Korra to find any airbenders here in Ba Sing Se," Bolin added. "Though, the Earth Queen has shut us down at every turn."

Yin gasped in shock, before pointing at Mako and Bolin, spitting once and waving her hands in the shape of a cross. She got up from her seat and quickly moved towards a photo of the Earth Queen hanging on the wall. Yin touched the frame with the tips of her fingers before bowing her head. "Don't use her name negatively."

"I hear talk about airbenders all the time when I set up shop," Tu commented. "There's a rumor going around that she's captured them all."

"Why?" Bolin asked.

"To run tests on them or something." Tu shrugged. He then dropped his voice. "She may have the Dai Li but I believe she's trying to create a bender army."

Mako and Bolin didn't response. The two quickly turned towards each other before jumping to their feet. "We need to contact Korra," Mako said.

"We don't have a radio, remember?" Bolin pointed out.

"Then we have to go back to the Upper Ring."

"We don't have our passports anymore, remember?"

Tu half-smiled. "I can fix that."

Chapter Text

Kai laughed as Bumi's jacket lifted and flopped back down onto his head. He bent over, grabbing at his stomach with one hand, wiping a stray tear from the other. He tried to calm himself down, but erupted in another fit of laughter as Bumi tried to remove his jacket. Soon, Bumi began thrashing around upon realizing some of the decorative buttons on the back got lodged into his hair.

"Hang on, I'll fix it for you," Kai said, reaching a hand out.

"No way! You might do some airbending trick and cut all my hair off," Bumi shouted. He began to inch away, using his feet to check around him to make sure he wouldn't run into anything. "I'll go find Tenzin."

Kai chuckled once more before turning his attention over to Mako. He was speaking quietly with Jinora over in a corner of the airship. Before he could move, he heard a loud sound coming from outside the window. He looked up, didn't see anything, before looking down at the sand. He spotted a shadow on top of the massive shadow of the airship.

"It's just Asami," Jinora said, joining his side. "She mentioned something about damage to the flank of the ship."

Kai sighed happily. He turned away from the window, opened his arms wide and began to spin in circles. "All of this is just…amazing," he said. "Better than the life I had before."

Jinora made a sound of discontent, while crossing her arms over her chest. She raised an eyebrow and looked pointedly at him. "You were looked after before, and then you stole from the family," she pointed out.

Kai stopped spinning and turned to face Jinora. He let out a small laugh, an uncomfortable one, before reaching up and rubbing the back of his head. "…Old habits, you know." Jinora continued to stare at him. "That was the old me," he added.

"You don't bite the hand that feeds you." Jinora raised a shoulder. "You should have been happy with what you had. Others can and probably do have it much worse." She took a seat on the windowsill, stretching her legs out. "I saw what you did to Bumi."

"That was a joke," Kai insisted.

"Bending shouldn't be used as a joke," she answered sharply. "There's already enough tension back home against benders and non-benders."

"I didn't do any of that stuff!" he shouted.

"So?" Jinora's voice was calm. It instantly caused Kai to relax. He took a seat next to her, waiting for her to continue. "It's not like non-benders can't be prejudice against us. You need to start taking things seriously."

Kai sighed hard, slumping in his seat. He clasped his hands over his abdomen, a soft pout pulled the corners of his lips down. He watched as Mako began placing assorted items into a leather shoulder bag. "What were you talking to Mako about?"

"The airbenders in this city," Jinora said after a moment, watching Mako pack. "It's weird how every other state we've visited in the Earth Kingdom has benders but this place doesn't." Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "The others just didn't want to leave their homes and families. I wholeheartedly understand that, but none being found here?"

"So, what do you want to do?" Kai asked.

"We should go out into Ba Sing Se and find more benders."

"But the Earth Queen-"

Jinora interrupted him with a wave of her hand. "The Earth Queen has asked to speak to Korra. Dad and Tonraq just told me." Her eyes lit up in excitement. "We can use that as a distraction to look around."

"You mean snoop?" Kai half-smiled. "I'm in."

"Great; Bolin already knows the plan so we just need to grab him. Then we'll be good to go." Jinora got up from her seat and held out her hand. Kai quickly grabbed it and was pulled to his feet. He smiled and whispered a quiet 'thank you'. Jinora's cheeks flushed lightly as she nodded.

The two joined Mako and walked toward the rear of the airship, heading to the hangar it was connected to. On the way, they entered a spare room where Tenzin, Lin, and Tonraq were congregated. Their conversation quickly stopped upon the small group passing the threshold.

"We're heading into Ba Sing Se to look for more airbenders," Kai announced. Tenzin's eyebrows raised in surprise as he looked at the small group. He then nodded before turning his attention to his daughter.

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"It is the only way to possibly continue your legacy, Dad," Jinora answered, raising a shoulder. "We have to try."

Tenzin sighed before nodding once more. Watching Jinora grow up, he knew that once her mind was settled on something, it would be hard to change it. "I'll go with you," he declared, getting to his feet.

"No, you should stay here." Mako place a hand on Tenzin's shoulder, firmly pushing him back into his seat. "No disrespect to you, of course. It'd be less obvious if you were to go. They may be expecting a world leader like Tenzin or Tonraq," he said, glancing over at Lin, "and people of your stature, chief," he added.

"But that's just it," Tonraq said, "if anything were to go wrong, they won't take it easy on some kids."

"Then we'll have to go back to Zaofu and get Su," Lin commented, "and maybe her second in command, Aiwei. He'll be able to tell if the queen, or anyone in this city, is lying."

"Then we have a plan." Tenzin got up out of his seat and wrapped Jinora in a tight hug. "Please, be careful," he whispered into her hair.

"Tell Korra to take it easy as well," Tonraq added, "she's still recovering."

Kai's eyes widened in shock. "How-"

"It's Korra," Tenzin sighed as he released Jinora. "You tell her to go left, and she'll go right, up, and down."

Kai, Mako, and Jinora said their goodbyes before heading out into the hangar. Bolin was standing by the entryway of the hangar, glancing up into the sky. His lips were moving, as if he were talking to someone, but no one else was around. It wasn't until they got closer they were able to hear what he was saying.

"Asami, you're always doing something for someone else," Bolin whispered. "When will you stop putting yourself aside and do what you really want?" He jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Mako gave him a gentle smile before stepping away, Jinora and Kai walking up behind him. "Ready to go?"

"Yeah, let's do it." Bolin nodded.

"We should probably mention to Korra and Asami what we're doing," Kai pointed out.

Bolin sighed, looking back at the two women. "Do we have to interrupt them?" he quietly asked.

"This is kind of important," Jinora pressed. "We all came out to assist on this mission."

"I know." He half smiled. "It's just the one time I've really seen Asami relax."

"She knew the importance of the job," Mako pointed out. He then smiled warmly. "Besides, she'll be fine. She's Asami. She can do anything."

"You're right."

Bolin stepped out into the bright sun, shielded his eyes from the harsh sun. He gasped loudly when Asami suddenly slipped down the side of the airship. Bolin exhaled in relief as she came to a jerking stop.

"Hey Asami," Bolin called out. Asami gave him a wave as she walked around the base of the airship, inspecting more of the metal paneling. "Mako, Jinora, and I are going with Kai deeper into the Earth Kingdom. We're going to see if we can find more airbenders. Want to come?" he asked.

Kai stopped and held back, watching quietly as Bolin, Asami, and Korra were engaged in their conversation. Jinora stopped next to him, causing Mako to do the same. Kai couldn't help but smile at their easy banter. It was something he used to witness with the family that had taken him in off the streets. The house was filled with so much love and warmth, a wave of guilt rushed over him. He lowered his head, kicking at a clump of dirt near his feet.

Why did I have to go and mess things up? he thought. They were only nice to me. Why did I have to assume they were going to dump me like my parents.

Mako cleared his throat before glancing at the watch on his arm. He then began to walk towards Bolin, Korra, and Asami with large steps. Kai and Jinora had to speed up their pace to be able to keep up.

Hermes chirped happily as Mako, Jinora, and Kai all waked up. Hermes nuzzled Asami one more time before fading from site. Korra lifted her fingers to her mouth and blew hard, giving a shrill whistle. A loud bark emerged from the airship before Naga bounded down the ramp, sliding to a stop in front of everyone. Korra happily laughed when Naga gave her a large lick.

"Let's get going," Asami said. She walked to Naga's side and checked the pouch, nodding when she found a radio in one of the pockets. "Do you have a radio?" she asked over her shoulder.

"Right here," Kai said, patting the bag resting on his hip. Korra swung her arms around and produced a gust of wind. She pushed herself up onto Naga's back before leaning over and holding her hand out to help Asami up. Naga bent down and laid on her stomach.

"Good, so we'll all be in contact." Asami grabbed a hold of Korra's hand and cried out in shock as Korra gave a hard tug and pulled her up into Naga's seat. Korra scratched Naga behind her ears before using her knees to direct Naga towards the city.

"Have fun with the queen," Bolin said while taking a few steps out of the way.

"Let's go, girl. To the city." Korra grabbed Asami's hands and pulled them around her waist as Naga reared back on her hind legs before shooting forward. Asami grunted as she fell forward, slamming into Korra's back. She released one hand from Korra's tight grip and reached up to pull her goggles down over her eyes.

"Are you ready to go?" Mako asked. He clipped a radio onto his hip. "I want to get back before dusk." He turned towards Jinora and Kai. "We may have cell phones but the service could easily be terrible where we're all going. Plus, these radios don't have much juice left. Only use it when needed."

"We probably should have told Korra and Asami that," Bolin pointed out. He turned, hands cupping his mouth, ready to call out. He stopped upon noticing the small white figure racing off into the distance. "I forget how fast Naga is sometimes."

"It wouldn't have made much of a difference. You know how impulsive Korra is," Mako said with a smile. "We can radio them later." He bid his goodbyes to Jinora and Kai before heading into town towards the closest rail station.

"Let's do it!" Kai said enthusiastically, giving Jinora and thumbs up. She half-smiled before looking away.

---

Hou-Tang, the Earth Queen residing over Ba Sing Se and the rest of the Earth Kingdom, sighed heavily from her throne. She tapped her fingers along the arm of her chair, glaring down at the two Dai Li agents in front of her. The only sound in the room came from her nails clicking against the gold of her chair. "Do you know why I am displeased?" she quietly asked.

One of the Dai Li agents swallowed around a hard lump. The sound seemed to be amplified in the quiet room. The agent on the left looked to the one on the right, trying to catch her eyes, but she continued to look forward.

"Umm," he muttered, "…no?"

"Shhh!" the girl hissed.

"Are you asking me? Or telling me?" Hou-Tang demanded.

"Yes!" the male Dai Li agent nodded. The girl agent rolled her eyes and lowered her head more, trying to keep her eyes covered with the giant yellow round hat on her head. Though she tried to keep still, she shook in anticipation.

"It is because you have yet to add more to my collection of airbenders." Hou-Tang shifted in her seat. She began to tap them together, pursing her lips in discontent. "There must be more in this city."

"Some…whispers have been released to the public," the female Dai Li agent said, choosing her words very carefully. The male Dai Li agent took a small step to the side before reaching up and covering his ears with his hands.

"What?!" she exploded. The female Dai Li agent flinched at the loud echo bouncing around in the throne room. "Impossible!"

"No, we're sure of it," he said.

"Will you be quiet?" the female Dai Li agent hissed.

"Silence!" Hou-Tang roared. The female Dai Li agent looked over at her partner before pointing at the queen. "This unacceptable," Hou-Tang continued, "There must be others here in the city." She sighed heavily. "I don't care if they're not from here. If anyone uses airbending, take them!"

"Yes, your highness," the two nodded, bowing low.

"I am waiting for the Avatar. Please let me know when she arrives," she ordered. "Now get out of my sight!"

---

Jinora reached up and wiped the sweat off her forehead. She gripped the bottom of her shirt and pulled it away from her skin. She quickly reached a hand underneath and bent a small breeze, drying her skin.

The two had been searching around the city for hours, trying to hear any word of airbenders, and avoiding the Dai Li as much as possible. Whenever they were forced to cross paths, Kai and Jinora acted as polite as possible, to not bring any attention to themselves, even though they did stand out in their air nation clothing.

Kai walked next to her, his hands stuffed into his pockets. He watched in concern as Jinora placed a hand on her stomach, a grimace etched onto her face.

"Are you okay?" he asked, nudging her in the side.

"I'm just getting a bit hungry," Jinora answered with a smile. "I can keep going though. We have to keep looking."

"It is also okay to take a break from time to time." Kai placed a hand on her arm, gently pulling her to a stop. Jinora turned to face him. "You've been awesome and have been moving like a champ, but you need to eat something." Jinora reached up and brushed some loose strands of hair out of her face. She turned away so he wouldn't see her cheeks turning red. "Look, there are stalls all around. What are you hungry for?"

Jinora looked at a few of the food stalls closest to them before wrinkling her nose, shaking her head. "None of this food. At least most of it." She walked over to one, waving her hand in the air to shoo away some flies. "I don't eat meat or animal products, remember?"

Kai nodded before placing a hand on the small of her back, ushering her to another nearby stall. "Well, there are some vegetables."

"But they're serving them with the same spoon they serve the meat," Jinora pointed out. "I can't have any. Besides, these prices are steep," she added pointing at chalkboard sign on the table. "I wouldn't have enough money for some."

"Yeah, you're right." Kai nodded. He looked closely at the menu written in chalk. A middle-aged man just returned to the stall, placing a create of fresh vegetables onto the counter next to the menu. Kai straightened up, and looked at him with a half-smile. "These prices are a little ridiculous."

"Take it up with the Queen," the man grunted, wiping his hands onto an apron tied around his waist. "She puts taxes on all imports and exports, so we must raise our prices." He cleared his throat before resting an arm along the counter top. He picked up a pair of tongs and clicked them, ready to start serving his food."

"Why don't you say anything about it?" Kai pressed.

"Because I enjoy living here," the man answered, raising an eyebrow. "Thanks to the Dai Li it is safe for my wife and my kids."

"That's kind of stupid," he answered.

"No, not really," Jinora said. She sent the man an apologetic look as soon as she noticed a scowl forming on his face. She grabbed Kai by the crook of his elbow, trying to pull him away from the stall, but he shrugged off her grip. Kai walked around the stall and placed an arm around the man's shoulders. Or at least he tried to. The height difference was so big that Kai had to balance his weight on one foot.

"Yes, it is!" Kai insisted. He turned his attention back to the middle-aged man, ignoring the death glare he was receiving. "Barely making a living by being forced to raise prices, just to live somewhere safe? Move to Republic City, its much nicer," he suggested.

"Kai, they might not have the option to do so," Jinora said. She crossed her arms over her chest, impatiently tapping a foot. "Try to think of others and what they may be going through."

"You're right." Kai patted the man on the back before pulling away. He moved towards the front of the stall and glanced at the food options. "I'm sorry. How about, I ordered some steamed vegetables?" he asked. Kai reached into his pocket and pulled out a black wallet. Jinora glanced at it in confusion. "To help the cause."

The man's glare quickly faded. He nodded once as Kai slapped some money down on the countertop. "That would be great, thank you." He picked up two Styrofoam boxes before plunging a pair of tongs into the vegetables.

"And make sure you don't mix up utensils," Kai added.

Jinora took her container with a smile. She bit into the food, smiling happily as the seasoning coated her tongue, and the brother from the food coated her dry throat. "Have a wonderful day." She gave a deep bow. "Thank you."

"Yeah; thanks man," Kai said, giving a swift salute while receiving his own portion.

"Yeah, yeah," the man muttered. "Keep your boyfriend in line, will ya? I don't need the Dai Li sniffing around," he called after them.

"He's right, you know." Jinora made quick work of her food. She downed the rest of the broth from the vegetables and tossed the Styrofoam container into a nearby trash can. "We shouldn't be making any trouble."

"Trouble tends to find me," Kai said with a shrug. He popped a piece of broccoli into his mouth, chewing slowly, savoring every bite.

"You mean you go find it," she answered. "Where did you get that wallet?" she asked. "It didn't look like a Republic City wallet."

"That's because it's the gift that keeps on giving," Kai said with a smile. Jinora stopped, but Kai continued to eat his food and didn't notice for a few paces. He paused mid-chew, turning to look at the furious look on her face.

"You stole it from him?" Jinora demanded.

"Shhh!" Kai said, rushing over. Broth and spittle making its way down his chin. "We need money, and he needs money. We're square."

"Kai! You…you…jerk!" Jinora shouted. She reached both hands out and pushed at his chest. A large gale of wind picked Kai up and threw him into the air, the Styrofoam container and food fell to the ground. He yelled out in surprise. Jinora gasped, clasping her hands over her mouth in shock. As Kai fell back toward the ground, he bent air toward the ground to slow himself down.

Kai let out a sigh of relief as his feet touched the ground. He brushed his clothing free of dirt before running his fingers through his hair to clear any debris. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the wallet he had just snatched, tossing it to the side.

"Oh, Kai, I'm sorry," Jinora said, rushing up to him. "That was an accident."

"No problem," he answered.

"But it might be a problem," she insisted. "What if a Dai Li agent was watching?"

"Jinora, it is okay. There's no one here." Kai shrugged. He started to smile but a look of horror crossed his face. Rock erupted from the ground and locked his ankles in place. He cried out in pain as the sudden shift in his weight caused him to fall forward. Jinora caught him, and helped lower him to the ground. Her eyes widened in fear as she spotted four Dai Li agents running towards them.

Kai looked at her face before glancing over his shoulder. He then reached up and placed a hand near, her stomach. She grunted as a wave of air pushed against her, moving her back several feet. "Jinora, run!" he shouted.

Jinora's steps faltered as she moved backward. She quickly stopped, and rushed back towards Kai. He yelled in pain as rock handcuffs locked his hands and legs together. He cried out angrily as one of the Dai Li agents grabbed him by the back of his shirt, pulling him to his feet. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a Dai Li agent holding a sack, and another was spinning some type of netting over his head.

"No!" Kai shouted. Jinora skidded to a stop. "Just go. Get help!" She chewed on her bottom lip before nodding once. A Dai Li agent threw the netting at her. She quickly airbent it to shreds before forming an airscooter, rushing away.

Chapter Text

Kai grunted as he was thrown into a dark room. He quickly tensed up, bracing himself for impact onto the ground, but found himself cushioned by a gentle breeze. He opened his eyes as his feet were gently placed onto the ground. Hands reached behind him and made quick movements, and soon the pressure of the rock handcuffs was released.

Reaching up and rubbing his raw wrists, Kai squinted in the dimly lit room, eagerly soaking up the dim lighting from a small fire in front of him.

"What's going on?" he demanded.

"It's okay, you're safe here," a voice insisted. A large gust of wind blew around in the small room, stoking the fire with energy. Kai took a few steps back, blinking against the bright light. As soon as his eyes began to focus, he was able to see that he was in a small one room house. A woman wearing blue clothing wrung out a damp washcloth and moved to scrub at his face. Her face was covered in a blue dragon mask.

"What happened?" Kai asked.

"We just saved you from the Dai Li," a young female voice said from across the room. She was seated on the floor, stirring a bowl of soup, occasionally blowing on it. Her face was covered in a red dragon mask. "You put up a good fight but got knocked out from a swift blow to the head." She stood up and offered him the bowl of food.

Kai looked at it, suspiciously, until his stomach let out a loud growl. He quickly snatched up the bowl and began to consume its hot contents, ignoring the burning sensation on his tongue and throat. "What about-"

The door behind them opened and Jinora was careful ushered through the door by someone wearing all black. Jinora looked frightened as she glanced at the four people wearing masks. She then let out a cry of relief when she spotted Kai. She wrapped him in a tight hug before accepting the bowl of food he thrust into her hands.

"I thought you escaped," Kai said.

"I did, but then this man told me to follow him," Jinora answered. "I was scared at first, but a spirit appeared and re-assured me that he was safe."

Kai turned to face the two men, and two women wearing masks. He glanced carefully at their clothing. Each were donned in a different nation's respective colors, but the gear looked more advanced than traditional wear. "Who are you?" he asked.

"…We're just a few people who love this planet and are trying to rescue it," the man in the green dragon masked answered.

"How did you get past the Dai-Li?" Jinora asked. She quickly clamped a hand over her mouth, raising her shoulders sheepishly.

"This room is sound proof," the blue dragon mask said. She motioned towards the bowl, before pointing to a small pot on the ground by the fire. Jinora nodded once, and the woman quickly refilled the bowl. Bowing gently in thanks, Jinora turned and offered the bowl to Kai, who dismissed it with a gently push from his hand.

"Hou-Tang and the Dai-Li may know a lot about this Kingdom, but not every nook and cranny," red dragon mask said. She then nodded to the orange dragon mask, who turned and faced the two young airbenders.

"It has come to our attention that the Avatar is in great danger. You, the descendant of Aang, will have a bounty over your head."

"What does the Earth Queen want with Korra?" Kai asked.

"It's not the Earth Queen who is of the greatest threat," he continued. "We can protect this city, and this nation. The Avatar needs to focus on protect the whole world. She can't do that here with danger close to striking."

"We need to leave Ba Sing Se and get back to Republic City as soon as possible," Jinora stated. "We'll be safer there."

"That's good to hear," blue dragon mask said.

"Will you have enough room on your ship?" red dragon masked questioned.

"There's plenty of room," Kai said, his words laced with confusion. "Are you saying you would like to join us?"

"Not us, but some who, unfortunately and suddenly, got tangled up in all of this mess," the orange dragon mask said. He then suddenly stomped his foot twice into the ground. Kai and Jinora shared a confused look before jumping at the sudden sound of movement. Three large squares in the walls began to move, as well as five strips of rock from the ground.

Numerous pairs of eyes stared back at them.

---

Hou-Tang placed herself on her throne and crossed one leg over the other. She turned to the Dai Li agent closest to her and beckoned him forward. "Have you heard any more about the Avatar and the rest of her group?"

A male and female Dai Li agent both looked at each other. The silently urged one another to step forward and answer their queen's question. Hou-Tang's frown deepened the more the were silent. She reached out and began to tap a finger against the arm of her throne. The female Dai Li agent gulped loudly, before reaching out and smacking the male Dai Li agent, on the back, sending him forward.

The male Dai Li agent loudly cleared his throat. "They're leaving Ba Sing Se and taking the airbenders with them." The more he spoke, the faster his words tumbled out of his mouth. The volume of his speech declined as well. "We don't know exactly where, though."

"She's going to destroy everything I worked so hard to build!" Hou-Tang slammed her fist against the armrest. The female Dai Li agent moved forward and pulled the male agent back by his elbow. "I want them brought back immediately. A reward for anyone who aides in their capture."

The male and female Dai Li agent stopped and shared another look. The female agent tilted her head to the side in confusion. "Do you want the whole force to-"

"Yes! I need more people out looking for the Avatar!"

"But that will leave you unprotected and-"

Hou-Tang got up to her throne, and quickly scurried down the stairs, her golden robes fluttering behind her. "Go get my benders, if you value your life," she hissed. Both Dai Li agents gave a short salute before turning and rushing out of the room. As soon as the large doors slammed shut, Hou-Tang reached up and rubbed her temples. "It's like I have to do everything myself around here," she sighed.

While making her way back to her throne, the doors behind her slowly began to open. The creaking sound that emitted from the old doors echoed all around the large room. Hou-Tang turned, taking in a deep breath to prepare herself to yell at the intrusion, but was blown back into her chair by a large gust of wind. The throne room doors slammed into the wall, leaving a large dent behind the door-handles.

Hou-Tang quickly adjusted her golden robes away from her face as Zaheer slowly walked into the room. She brushed small amounts of dirt off her silk clothing before settling herself in her seat. "How dare you let yourself into my throne room without proper agreement. What is it that you want?" she demanded.

"A moment of your time." Zaheer performed a low bow. "I know where your airbenders are being taken to." Hou-Tang raised an eyebrow and sat up straighter in her chair. "You would like them back into your possession, would you not?"

"Listening in on royal entanglements is grounds for imprisonment," she snapped. "But I am in a generous mood and will cut you a deal." Hou-Tang got to her feet, crossing her arms over her chest. "I will let you freely walk out of this room, and you tell me what you know."

Zaheer smirked. "That's not going to work for us."

"Us?"

"We are looking for a change in the world, where there isn't one ruler. Were everyone would be able to make their own choices, their own destiny. We're aiming for the greater good. You see, we don't believe in the monarchy, in rules, in people holding the most power."

Zaheer waved his arms around in the air, creating a string of air. He watched, unblinkingly, as he wrapped the air around Hou-Tang's head. Her eyes bulged, and she desperately clutched her beck, gasping and wheezing for a breath. Her skin faded to a pale brown, before her arms fell to their sides. Zaheer dropped his arms, and Hou-Tang dropped to the ground, her eyes staring blank at the ceiling.

"The world needs to know that the Red Lotus has risen again," Zaheer said as Gazhan, Pl'i, and Ming-hua entered the throne room behind him. "I will take out all who stand in my way, including the world leaders, just to get the Avatar. I want the Avatar brought back here so that I can rid of her myself."

---

Asami was seated in the corner, squeezing and molding a pliable piece of metal in her hands, watching as Tonraq and Kya tended to the wound on Korra's head. Hermes was seated on her shoulder, watching as the metal was moved into different shapes. Lin was glancing out the window, keeping an eye on the perimeter of the airship. Tenzin was seated on the floor mediating, whereas Bumi was seated next to him, attempting to meditate as well.

"Dad!" Jinora cried as she emerged from the lower level of the airship. She quickly ran over to him and gave him a tight hug around the waist. Kai entered the room behind her, continuing to rub at the welts on his wrists.

"Are you two alright?" Bumi questioned.

"We're fine, now," Kai answered. He moved over to Kya, holding out his injured wrists. Kya nodded, mentioning that she'll tend to him in a moment. "There are more airbenders here. The queen was capturing them all to use them for her army," he announced.

"That's horrible!" Kya commented.

"People who just discovered they had special abilities kidnapped from their homes?" Asami asked. "Their lives? And for what? To protect a horrible ruler whom only cares for herself?"

"Where are they?" Korra asked. She pushed Kya's hands away from the cut on her forehead. She moved to stand up but was quickly pushed back down by Tonraq's hand on her shoulder. "We must go rescue them."

Jinora stepped out of her father's embrace, looking up into his face. "…They're all downstairs."

"How did you accomplish that?" Lin asked, an impressed look set on her features.

"That's a long story, and we'll have to explain it later," Kai said. "We must get out of here as soon as possible."

"Why?" Asami questioned. "What's going-"

Everyone in the room grunted and placed their hands over their ears as the loud screeching of microphone feedback split the air. Next came the sound of two thumps from tapping onto a microphone, before Zaheer's voice pierced through:

Attention all citizens of Ba Sing Se. The Earth Kingdom is no more. The Earth Queen has fallen. We have brought great change to the nation. No longer must you rule under a hierarchy. We are the creators of our own lives and destinies. Stand with the Red Lotus, and assist with changing the world, so no one will have more power over the other. The Avatar will not be viewed as the messiah and will no longer take rule over the world. The Red Lotus will eradicate all who stand in our way.

"He won't stop with Ba Sing Se." Lin shook her head. "It's likely he'll move to other parts of the nation, including Zaofu."

"Is there any place we can hide Korra until then?" Tonraq asked.

"Hide?" Korra shouted. "Who says I'm hiding?"

"You're recovering from a head injury. Or at least you would if you sit still." Kya said, before clicking her tongue and pushing Korra back down again. "It's best for you to rest right now. I agree with Tonraq, until your back to normal."

"But, won't we be sitting ducks if we go back to Republic City?" Asami questioned.

"What other options do we have?" Tenzin asked.

"There are always options." Asami began to move the metal in her hands, faster and faster. "There must be." She winced, stopping and shaking her hand. A small bit of blood began to slide down her finger.

"I understand that you're nervous but fidgeting with metals you're not used to isn't going to help this situation," Lin said. She quickly bent the metal out of the engineer's hands, placing it into a small cupboard across the room.

"I wasn't fidgeting, I was tinkering," Asami answered with a huff. "Anything to keep my mind busy."

Kya placed a small bandage at the top of Korra's head before moving to tend to Kai. Korra got up from her seat and placed a hand on Asami's shoulder, gently shaking her. "Take it easy, Tinkerbell," Korra instructed. "Pillow?" she asked.

Asami gasped lightly. She dropped her arms, her eyes widening in shock. "What'd you just say?" she whispered.

"I said, 'pillow'?" she repeated. Asami smiled brightly before stepping forward and throwing her arms around Korra's neck. Korra chuckled a bit before returning the hug. She then broke away when her father stepped forward. Tonraq gave Korra a kiss on her forehead before wrapping an arm around her shoulders and pulling her into his side.

"Why are you talking about pillows?" Mako asked. "What does that mean?"

Korra looked at the two of them and burst into loud laughter, as everyone else in the room smiled or tried to hide their amusement. Mako quickly tried to remove as much of the feminine clothing he was wearing as possible. Bolin, on the other hand, was taking a long look at his reflection an airship window.

"Why are you wearing women's clothing?" Kya asked with a laugh. "Not that there is anything wrong with that."

"We lost our passports," Mako admitted.

"Our passports got stolen," Bolin corrected. He then pointed his thumb in Mako's direction, shaking his head. "They got stolen, so our cousin helped us find clothes to fit in and gave us fake passports to be able to come back to the Upper Ring."

"Cousin?" Asami repeated.

"We'll explain later," Mako insisted. "We heard some news about airbenders in the city."

"They're all below deck," Tenzin explained. "Jinora and Kai brought them back with them."

"So, then, what does that have to do with pillows?" Bolin asked. He then gasped loudly. "Do we have to share rooms? Is there a pillow shortage?"

"It's an inside joke," Korra answered, dismissing him with a wave of her hand. She glanced at Asami and sent a wink in her direction. Asami quickly looked away, glancing down at her pant legs and brushing the dirt off. Her dark hair flowed around her face, hiding her reddening cheek bones.

"So, your memory is back?" Mako asked.

Korra frowned. "…I don't know if all, but some definitely is. At least, I think it is?" she shrugged. "I've felt like I've been walking in a cloud this entire time, and some of it has cleared out."

"Come on, everyone," Tenzin said. "We should get back to the city."

Korra reclaimed her seat by one of the windows and looked out at the city of Ba Sing Se. The sun had begun to set, casting an orange glow along the streets and the buildings. Everything seemed to be still, until small movement caught her eyes. She squinted and pressed her face against the window, spotting a lone figure ducking down into a small alleyway as Dai Li agents ran in the opposite direction. "The Kingdom may have fallen, but it's in safe hands." Korra peeled her face away from the window and let out a sigh. "At least for the time being."

"What about Zaheer?" Kya questioned.

"And the rest of the Red Lotus?" Tonraq added.

"Right now, we need to protect the airbenders," she said. "They're the start of a new era. But, when the Red Lotus strikes again, and they will, we'll be ready."

Chapter Text

"Will you stop worrying? This plan is fool proof," Rika said she shut her locker door. She grabbed Manami by the arm and roughly pulled her around the corner and down a short flight of stairs, coming to a stop outside of the doors to the practice gymnasium. The sounds of yelling and basketball bouncing on the ground echoed in the small space. "What are you worrying about?"

"I don't know, Rika," Manami whispered. She pulled her arm out of Rika's grip before crossing them over her chest.

A muscle in Rika's cheek twitched. Her eyes narrowed as her features turned cold. "Thinking of backing out?" she demanded.

Manami let out a deep sigh as she leaned up against the painted brick wall behind her. She looked up and watched as a cluster of students rushed past them on the top landing to their next class. "It's just that this plan carries way too big of a risk. What if we get caught?" she whispered.

"We won't," Rika said before shrugging, "and even if we did, none of this matters anymore."

"Then why are you still so dead set on getting Asami back?"

Rika rolled her eyes. "Because-"

"She deserves it for what her family did to yours, I get it!" Manami snapped. "But this?"

Rika stared at Manami, long and hard. She reached up and rubbed her right arm, overtop her uniform's jacket. She closed her eyes for a moment, pressing harder on the spot of her new Red Lotus tattoo. A crooked smile erupted on Rika's face before she snapped her eyes back open. Manami faltered in discomfort when she noticed Rika's pupils slightly growing, a crazed look appearing in the black depths.

"If you want to back out, it's fine," Rika said. A lock of hair fell into her face from behind her ear, covering her right eye. "I just thought you were my friend."

"I am," Manami said quietly. "This could get her into so much trouble though, way more than being punished by the school. She could be arrested."

Rika snickered. "…Good." She then abruptly turned on her foot and made her way back up the stairs. She paused on the last step and brushed her hair back behind her ear before brightly greeting a passing teacher and disappearing around the corner.

Manami let out a loud groan and reached up to clasp a hand to her head. "What do I do now?" she whispered.

"There's a lot you can do," Kiyoko said, causing Manami to jump, letting out a cry of shock. She stepped out of the shadows from underneath the stairs. "I didn't mean to startle you. Hardly anyone uses this entrance to go to the practice gym. I just sit here when I need some quiet and less stimulation."

"You didn't hear anything," Manami warned before making her way up the stairs.

"It's not too late for you, you know," Kiyoko called after her. Manami paused on the last stair. She moved toward the banister, looking down at Kiyoko.

"…She's had my back since the second grade," Manami said with a hint of sadness in her voice. "I can't go against her."

"Because then you'll end up with no friends?" Kiyoko asked. Manami refused to answer. She just shook her head before stepping away from the banister. "We used to be friends," she called out.

"Yeah, we used to be," Manami muttered as she made her way to her next class.

In the few weeks after their trip back from the Earth Kingdom, Korra was constantly on edge. Republic City had been the quietest its ever been, which made her suspicious. Given the fact that she had decided to leave school gave her more time to focus on her worries. Asami tried to convince her to go back to school like Mako, Bolin, and herself but to no avail. Korra would always counter that if she wasn't able to properly sit still and focus when she learned to airbend from Tenzin or learned spiritual projection from Jinorah, then sitting in a classroom all day wouldn't be any better.

In fact, for Asami, going to school didn't calm her nerves either. When she wasn't in class, she was constantly checking on Korra to make sure she didn't have any lasting effects from her head injury, as well as reading up on all symptoms of a concussion. Kiyoko would often have to snatch her phone away from her to be sure she wouldn't be tempted to be on it during class. Not that Asami would be able to concentrate as much as she'd like with Manami and Rika staring her down every moment they could.

"It just unsettles me," Asami admitted as she gathered up all her items. She pushed back her chair and stood up. "Whether or not she really is with the Red Lotus, it's only a matter of time until she actually does something to Korra."

"What about you?" Kiyoko asked as she gathered up her school supplies and stuffed them into her bag. She quickly joined Asami's side as they made their way out of the classroom among the group of other students. She looked around before lowering her head and dropping her voice. "Rika and Manami are planning on doing something to you that could be really bad!"

"I'm not worried about her, I'm worried about Korra!" Asami insisted. She reached into her school bag and pulled out a red waterbottle with a black tip that sported the Future Industries logo on it. She took a quick drink of the liquid inside before replacing it back into her bag. "The Red Lotus is more important than any conflict Rika and I have. Either way, I can't let my guard down around her."

Asami grunted as something hard hit her in the back. She quickly dove to the ground, sliding onto her stomach to lessen her fall. Her school bag slipped off her shoulder and fell to the ground with a quiet thump.

"Watch where you're going," Rika spat as she and Manami stepped around her.

Kiyoko helped Asami back up to her feet and reached for her school bag. Asami brushed her hair out of her face before moving to brush off the dirt on her school uniform. "You bumped into me," she said fiercely.

"Whatever." Rika shrugged. She then half-smiled. "You probably don't really mind it."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Asami asked.

"Pressing up against a woman," she answered lightly. "You probably enjoyed it." A small group of girls stopped to watch the two of them, whispering quietly to each other. The bell in the hallway rang twice, giving a two-minute warning. A few classroom doors in the hall opened as more students began to fill up the hallway. "It wouldn't surprise me, seeing as you're a d-"

Asami grabbed Rika by the collar of her jacket and pushed her up against a row of lockers. All movement in the hallway stopped. Rika winced in pain as a locker door handle dug into her bag. She reached up and grabbed Asami by the wrists, trying to pull her hands away.

"You're lucky I don't have my glove right now," Asami hissed. "Don't you ever-"

"Ms. Sato release her immediately," a loud voice called out. Asami immediately released her grip from the lapel of Rika's jacket. Rika stared right into Asami's eyes and pursed her lips before adopting a look of fear onto her face. Her chest began heaving before tears spilled down her cheeks. Manami pushed Asami away before reaching out and cradling Rika's head against her chest, gently comforting her. Kiyoko moved to the side as a female teacher walked up, her arms crossed tightly over her chest.

"Ms. Higurashi, I was just walking down the hallway and she grabbed me for no reason," Rika cried, her face turning red.

Ms. Higurashi turned her attention to Asami, who looked at Rika in shock. "I did not," she insisted. "She pushed me on purpose and called me a horrible word."

"No, she didn't," Manami said, shaking her head. "Rika didn't call Asami anything."

"She was going to call me a…a…offensive term," Asami muttered. "I personally can't repeat it, but-"

"If she was about to call you something, that doesn't mean she actually did," Ms. Higurashi said harshly. "And that doesn't give you the right to put your hands on her."

"But she deliberately pushed me down," Asami insisted.

"The only thing I saw was you pushing this young lady up against the lockers with your hands around her throat. You know the school's policy on fighting," she answered. Ms. Higurashi sighed before dropping her arms to the side. "I can't believe I'm about to say this to you, but please make your way to the dean's office."

"Yes, ma'am," Asami nodded once. Kiyoko handed her back her school bag before joining her side. "You may as well just hold onto it," she said, pushing the bag away with a sigh.

"Ms. Gan-Lan, are you okay?" Ms. Higurashi asked.

"I will be, thank you," Rika sniffed. Manami reached up and wiped a tear that ran down her cheek. Asami turned to look over her shoulder, glaring harshly. Rika locked eyes with her, smiling menacingly.


"Rika sure is something, isn't she?" Kiyoko asked, as soon as Asami excited the dean's office. She got up from her seat and followed Asami down a side hallway and exiting through the front doors of the school. "Although, name calling is kind of beneath her. After everything else she's put you through…or us."

"I told you, Kiyoko, I'm over that," Asami said. She moved to take a seat on the front steps, brushing her skirt underneath her before stretching her legs out, crossing her ankles. "It's just the word she was about to say. It's so vile. I mean, why is it any of her business?" she asked.

"Why is what her business?"

Asami pulled her lips into a straight line before turning to face Kiyoko. She shrugged her shoulders, before shyly twiddling her thumbs. "I'm not really sure yet, but the word she was going to call me, maybe I am," she said quietly. "But a nicer word," she added.

Kiyoko blinked. "You're attracted to women?"

"Only one," Asami answered.

"…Korra," she deduced.

Asami nodded once before leaning over and whispering into her friend's ear, "I kissed her," she admitted.

"You did?" Kiyoko gasped. "When?"

"New Years Eve."

"What did she say?"

Asami shook her head. "She didn't say anything."

"Why do you sound so ashamed?"

"I mean," Asami started. She then groaned loudly before clasping her hands over her face. "I technically assaulted her," she admitted.

"What?" Kiyoko asked.

Asami threw her hands in the air. "She was asleep when I had this overwhelming urge to kiss her." Her eyes then widened. "I didn't have her consent," she gasped. "How could I do that to someone? I don't know what I was thinking. I mean, I know what I was thinking it's just complicated," she rambled.

"Have you told her?" Kiyoko asked.

"No! Of course not!" Asami leaned back and rested her elbows on the stair behind her. She looked up at the pink sky, the first few of the night stars started to sprinkle against the light backdrop. "I don't know if I ever will," she quietly admitted. "It's just…up until Korra I've only ever liked guys. I still do." She then smiled. "Korra is just Korra. I don't know, it's hard to explain."

Kiyko nodded. "Well, then, maybe you don't like women," she suggested.

"What?"

"Maybe you don't like women," she repeated with a calming smile. "Maybe you just like Korra."

Asami chuckled. "There are times where I keep myself up at night, just thinking about everything. When I imagine being with her, in a relationship, it makes me happy. I just become so overwhelmed with…warmth." She could feel her cheeks growing warm. Asami received her school bag from Kiyoko and fished out her red water bottle, taking a long drink. "I don't feel that way all the time. There are other times when I feel like she's just a friend, a good friend, like you and Mako and Bolin. I don't know. It's just all too confusing." She began to gently toss the bottle back and forth between hands. "I do know that I like her, but its like a constant war in my head. I don't know if I'm making sense."

"You are," Kiyoko reassured her. "I get it."

"But, how am I making sense if this is all too confusing for me?"

Kiyoko giggled. "As smart as you are, it is impossible to know everything. Are you ever going to tell her?"

"I don't think so. Why ruin everything? If she's in my life, I'll be okay," Asami said. Her smile then faded. "I have to be."

"It's getting late, I should head home," Kiyoko commented as she glanced at her phone screen. "My parents may start to worry."

"That's okay, I'm about to head back inside. I want to work on my senior project."

"I love your new idea. I think it's fantastic!"

"Thanks," Asami beamed. "I can't wait for it to come to fruition. Have a good night. Be careful getting home."

"I will." Kiyoko paused for a moment before reaching out and tightly hugging Asami. "Thank you for sharing with me."

"Thank you for listening," Asami said softly. "Text me when you get home," she instructed. She picked up her school bag before making her way back into the building. Passing by the dean's office, she felt anger rise back up, causing her gait to change from a leisurely walk to a harsh strut.

While rounding a corner she let out a cry of surprise as the strap of her school bag got caught onto something, causing her to stumbled backward. Asami glared in annoyance as Manami slipped her red water bottle out of her bag. Rika tittered as she tightened her grip on the strap.

"Get off," Asami demanded. Manami tossed the bottle into the air before catching it in her right hand. She then unplugged the black tip and pressed hard on the body of the bottle, casuing the liquid to spray into Asami's face. "Stop it!" she sputtered, reaching up to cover her face. Manami tossed the water bottle into a nearby trashcan as Rika pulled the school bag off Asami's shoulder and onto the floor.

"Or what?" Rika asked. She reached out and grabbed Asami's hair at the nape of her neck. Asami grabbed her wrist and turned before rushing forward and pushing Rika up against the lockers. Rika let out a cry of pain as Asami kneed her in the abdomen.

Manami took a step to the side before swinging her right leg directly into Asami's side. Before she could pull her her leg back, Asami grabbed her by the ankle, tucking it into her left armpit, and and dragged her nails along Manami's thigh, drawing blood.

"Ouch!" Manami cried. Rika let go of Asami's hair and collapsed back against the lockers. Asami released Manami's leg before pushing her back into the locker's next to Rika. Asami then reached out and struck Rika across the face. Rika grabbed her cheek, glaring harshly at Asami.

A classroom door opened. "What's going on?" a voice called out.

Asami grunted as Manami and Rika pushed against her shoulders, causing her to take a few steps back. Manami reached into her bag and threw a red water bottle with a blue tip onto the ground. The lid popped off and the liquid spilled along the ground. Asami glared as she stepped over the puddle. Her anger turned into surprise as Manami and Rika both sent her a smirk before running off down a hallway to the right.

"Who's there?"

Asami picked up her bag and slung it over her shoulder before rushing off down another hallway. She sprinted towards an exit, slamming against the lever and pitching herself into the chilly air of Republic City.

Ms. Higurashi and two other teachers then ran into the area by the lockers, looking around. She let out a sound of surprise as her foot slid against the slick floor. One of the teachers, a male, quickly grabbed her by the elbow to steady her.

"Look at this mess," he commented. He then stopped and sniffed the air. "Wait…is this cactus juice?" he asked.

"It looks like it came from this," the other teacher said, picking up the stray red water bottle. Ms. Higurashi took the bottle from him as he went to find the lid. She turned the red bottle in her hand and stopped once she noticed the Future Industries logo etched onto the side.


"Yo, Tinkerbell, are you okay?" Korra's muffled voice called out. "You've been in there ever since you got back from school."

Asami smiled before wincing as she lifted her arm to take a glimpse at her side in the mirror. "I'm fine. I'll be right out," Asami called back. She gently reached out and poked a sore spot underneath her ribs. She hissed quietly before moving to touch her abdomen, which caused her to double over in pain. Asami curled her hand into a fist before slamming it against the countertop. She took a deep breath, slowly letting it out in intervals as the pain subsided.

"Well," she whispered, before standing back up, "at least there are no visible bruises". Asami pulled her shirt from underneath the band of her bra and let if fall back into place. She took a deep breath and rolled her shoulders back before turning off the light and opening the bathroom door, stepping into her bedroom.

Asami almost tripped over her feet when she spotted Korra sitting on her bed, thumbing through a magazine. Her dark legs were crossed, and she was leaned to one side, her left elbow pressed onto her left knee. Her left hand was open, gently cupping her cheek. Korra's abs were on full display as she was wearing a bright blue sports bar and matching knee-high biker shorts. Asami couldn't help but scan the lines of Korra's abdominal muscles. She followed the center line of Korra's abs up to her sports bra, stopping once she spotted the hint of cleavage at the top. She quickly turned away, wincing at the pain that erupted in her side.

"Are you alright?" Korra asked, climbing off the bed.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Asami said, leaning against the door frame of the bathroom. "…i-it's just my time of month. Cramps are my worst symptom."

"I can fix that," Korra offered.

"You don't have to." Asami shook her head. "I have a heating pad around her somewhere. Besides, you shouldn't be doing too much right now," she added. "Although, it seems like you still found your way to the gym."

Korra tried to fight back a smile. "We're not talking about me right now. Being a bender has its perks, I can make your cramps go away."

"Okay, if you're sure." Asami carefully made her way over to her bed and carefully lowered herself onto the mattress. She adjusted so that she laid flat on her back, her arms by her sides.

"I'm going to need you to lift up your shirt," Korra instructed. She blew a small flame from her mouth into her hands, before rubbing them together.

"…okay," Asami said. She quickly cleared her throat after hearing how high pitched her voice was. "Okay," she said again. She closed her eyes for a moment, slowly shaking her head. Asami took a deep breath before reaching her arms down and slowly lifting the fabric up towards the bottom of the cups of her bra. She carefully tucked the gathered fabric behind her back, presenting her pale stomach and rib cage.

Korra pulled up a chair next to the bed, and once again warmed her hands after breathing a small fire. "Ready?" she asked, waiting for Asami's approval. Once she spotted her head nod, Korra gently placed her hands onto Asami's abdomen, and pressed firmly with the palms of her hands, gentling massaging the muscle underneath.

Asami instantly relaxed as she felt the warmth spread across her body. Her breath did catch when one of Korra's hands moved closer to her lower abdomen, one of her fingers brushing against the top of her pants, and the other hand moved higher towards her ribcage. She forced herself to calm her breathing and to keep her hands to her sides. Asami sneaked a peak over at Korra and found herself mesmerized with the look of concentration on her face.

Asami, you're fully into her, she thought to herself, and you want this to be normal. You want to be with her. Why do you care what Rika or anyone else thinks? ...Because the world may not be ready for it…

"How's that?" Korra asked, removing her hands from Asami's stomach.

"Good," Asami whispered. She slowly set up, the tension in her body melting away when she noticed the pain was gone. "Better. Thank you," she said looking over at Korra. Korra looked at her intensely before reaching up and placing a hand on the back of Asami's neck and leaning forward pressing their foreheads together. Asami froze, the feeling of Korra's breath tickling her skin. "W-what are you doing?" she whispered.

"I was just checking to see if you were getting sick," Korra answered, leaning away. "My mom says the eyes are the first to show signs of sickness." She then half-smiled. "Sorry, but your eyes looked a bit watery for a second. Now they look normal, the usual beautiful green." She leaned back in her chair, clearing her throat. "Anyway, you're all fixed up."

"That feels so much better," Asami sighed.

"I'm sure your bruising won't be too bad," Korra added. "In fact, they may not even appear tomorrow."

Asami pulled her lips into a thin line before looking over at Korra, who raised an eyebrow in response. "Rika and Manami jumped me at school today," she admitted.

Korra erupted from the chair, the force causing it to fall backwards to the floor, clattering loudly. "Do you know where they live? Because I'm ready to bust some heads," she said, smashing a fist into her open palm.

"No, it's fine," Asami insisted, waving a hand in the air. "I took care of them."

"You took on both?!" Korra asked in surprise. "What happened?"

"Well, I scratched Manami and I slapped Rika and-"

"Was she stunned?" Korra asked. She quickly climbed onto Asami's bed, sitting next to Asami's feet. She crossed her legs and leaned forward; her eyes bright with excitement. "I mean, you have a mean right hook," she added.

"No, Korra." Asami smiled. "A teacher overheard us, and we just ran. It's not the first fight I got into today, though."

"You were in two fights?!" she said. Asami couldn't help but laugh as Korra's excitement reminded her of when little children are read bedtime stories and they're excited to get to the end.

"I'm glad you're enjoying the visual Korra, but this isn't a good thing," she said, her smile fading. "I got sent to the dean's office."

Korra's smile quickly faded. "Well, what happened?"

"Rika was about to call me a vulgar term, and I just go so angry, I pushed her against some lockers," Asami answered. She shivered when she felt the a/c kick on, which reminded her that her shirt was still pulled off her stomach. Asami made quick work of covering herself. "A teacher thought I was trying to choke her. Part of me wishes I did."

"What was she going to call you?" Korra's eyebrows furrowed with worry.

"It's not important," Asami said quietly.

Korra nodded once and quickly changed the subject, "Well, how is school aside from that? And your project?" she pulled her legs up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them as she watched Asami's excitement grow.

"Being in the Earth Kingdom and seeing their way of life gave me the perfect idea for my final project," Asami said brightly. "I want to modernize Central City Station. This way, we can connect with the Earth Kingdom to provide faster travel." The more she spoke, the more excited she became, and the faster she talked. "I have some plans drawn up and everything! It's going to be great, and I'm thinking we can have a ribbon cutting ceremony if plans go into effect. We're going to need a lot of supplies and products, and metal, so I may have to make another trip to Zaofu soon. Maybe I can bring Kuvira in to assist me with this project. She did offer to help with my first idea, and Baatar Jr is a fantastic engineer." As she paused to catch her breath, Asami noticed Korra watching her warmly. "You don't really get it, do you?"

"Not really," Korra said with a shrug, "but it's important to you, so I care. It sounds like you have everything working out for you." She then reached out and gently patted Asami on the knee, letting her hand linger for a moment before removing it.

Asami looked down at her knee, feeling the warmth from Korra's hand slowly fade. Not everything.

Chapter Text

"No, Korra, I don't need you as my bodyguard," Asami said as she took a seat on the front steps to her school. "Are you that bored at home?" She titled her head back and looked up, watching clouds slowly move across the clear blue sky. "You could always go back to school."

Korra let out a snicker. "I remember I told you once that you weren't funny, but that's actually a good joke."

She looked and up and gave Kiyoko a smile as she sat down on the step next to her. Kiyoko pulled a laptop out of her bag and placed it onto her thighs. She pulled out a wireless mouse and plugged in the USB nano receiver into a side port. Kiyoko then made quick work in an application to pull up a video screen.

"Look, it's sweet that you care, and to offer but I'm serious. I don't need a bodyguard," Asami insisted. "People usually assume that I'm daddy's helpless little girl, but I can handle myself." Asami pulled her phone away from her ear and glanced at the time, "Anyway, I have to go. Homeroom is going to start soon. Let's hang out after school. I have to head into the office for an hour or so, but after that I'm free. I could teach you how to drive, or something," she suggested. "Okay, fine. We can go to my racetrack and I'll drive. Let Mako and Bolin know. Okay, bye." Asami hung up her phone and placed it in her pocket before looking over at Kiyoko who was leaned so far over her laptop that her nose almost touched the screen. "What are you doing?"

"I'm looking more into your attack yesterday," Kiyoko muttered. Her fingers flew over the keyboard as she entered code into a black box.

"I wouldn't call it that," Asami said with a shrug. She leaned over and glanced at the screen, her eyes following the code that was being inputted.

"Whatever you call it, it wasn't right. I'm trying to see if I can get some evidence." With the click of the mouse, and the press of the Enter button, a video screen appeared on the desktop, showing different camera angles

"You sure are fired up, Ki," Asami commented. "I'm impressed, I didn't know you knew how to hack into things."

Kiyoko couldn't help but flush at Asami's compliment. "It's not hacking," she denied with the wave of a hand. "I was just able to decipher the proper chain of code and information to the security cameras without needing to be connected the the school's network and an administrative account," she said with a shrug. Asami glanced at her with a raised eyebrow. "Okay, I hacked it," she whispered. "It's actually easy to do. For a school with its caliber, the firewall is ridiculously easy to get around." Kiyoko glanced at the numerous cameras shown on her screen, making a sound of discomfort when she spotted Manami and Rika sitting in the quad, talking to each other. "You said you were in the North Hall when it happened?"

"Yes, right by the student life committee's office," Asami confirmed. Kiyoko pulled up the proper camera and was about to change the date range back a day when she heard footsteps behind her. Asami looked over her shoulder and spotted Ms. Higurashi walking towards them. She elbowed Kiyoko in the side, who quickly slammed the laptop shut. "It would probably be a good idea to do this in private next time, and not on the front steps of the school," Asami whispered. Kiyoko nodded rapidly but remained silent.

"Ms. Sato, the dean of the school would like to speak with you," Ms. Higurashi said. Asami and Kiyoko shared a confused look with each other, before Asami got to her feet. She brushed off the back of her skirt and picked up her bag, following Ms. Higurashi back into the school.

Asami remained quiet as she followed Ms. Higurashi down the hallways towards the administrative offices. She ignored the quiet whispers of a few of the students in the hallways. She felt their eyes burning into her back, but she held her head high, silently telling herself to keep her breathing calm.

Ms. Higurashi knocked twice on a door at the back of the offices before letting herself in. Asami stepped into the room and quick took the empty seat opposite of Dean Ito. It was difficult to read the expression on his face. Asami cleared her throat once before standing up and offering a quick bow. She then reclaimed her seat as Ms. Higurashi moved to stand next to Dean Ito behind his desk.

"Ms. Sato, am I correct in assuming this is your water bottle?" Dean Ito asked. He pulled open a drawer to his left and pulled out a red water bottle with blue lid.

Asami took one look at it and shook her head. "No, it isn't."

"It has the Future Industries logo on it," Ms. Higurashi pointed out.

"Those water-bottles are sold in RITA's school store as well as a variety of other stores in the city, and online," Asami listed off with a shrug. "It can be anyone's."

"You're the only person on campus who always carries one around," she added.

Asami nodded once before slowly blinking. "This is true, but my water bottle has a black lid. That one is blue," she pointed out. As soon as she said it, she realized how silly she sounded. Asami looked in between Ms. Higurashi and Dean Ito. "I don't understand why I was called in here for a water-bottle."

"Ms. Sato, we found this water-bottle after school the other day," Ms. Higurashi explained. "Its contents were spilled on the floor and based on it's odor, we quickly deduced that it was Cactus Juice."

"That's against rule number eight of the Code of Conduct: drugs and other substances are not permitted on campus unless medically provided and with proper documentation," Asami rattled off. "It can be found in section two, under header five and point 7A."

"When we didn't see who dropped the water-bottle we decided to take a look at the security cameras and found this." Dean Ito pulled up a recording on his computer screen. He pressed play and turned the monitor to face Asami.

Asami felt her stomach begin to churn as she watched the black and white video on the screen. It depicted Manami's and Rika's attack on her the other day, but due to the camera angle it only should Asami striking back against Rika and striking her across the face. "No, that's not what has happened!" she cried.

"This is the second offense in less than a day where you have assaulted Ms. Gan-Lan," Ms. Higurashi pointed out.

"Assault?" Asami repeated. "All of this is a mistake." She folded her hands tightly in her lap but could not stop her leg from bouncing up and down. "Rika is the one who's been bullying me. She's been doing it for years." Asami pointed a shaking finger at the monitor. "It's not showing the whole situation."

"Ms. Sato, I'm afraid this leaves me no choice," Dean Ito said with a sigh. "Effective immediately, you're expelled from RITA," he declared.

"This isn't happening!" Asami cried. "I'm almost finished with my final year! This is a mistake." She then snapped her fingers, before smiling. "I can prove it. If we can just talk to Kiyoko."

Dean Ito held up a hand to silence her. Asami pulled her lips into a thin line, before lowering her head. "I'm sorry, Ms. Sato, but my decision is final." He then gestured towards the door. "You may leave now."

Asami bit her bottom lip to stop herself from letting tears fall. After a few moments, she took a deep breath and lifted her head. "Do I have time to gather my items?" she asked in a monotone.

"We've already taken care of it." Ms Higurashi picked up a box from the table behind Dean Ito's desk. She walked over and held the box out to Asami who took it without another word.

After presenting a quick bow to the two of them, Asami rolled her shoulders back before moving towards the door. She balanced the box of items onto her hip and wrenched the door open. Normally she would have apologized for causing it to bounce against the wall, but instead she continued, walking with purpose towards the front doors of the school. As soon as she stepped outside into the cool air, she stopped, and turned to look up at the school building.

Asami felt her cell phone vibrate in her pocket. She moved the box to her hip once more and pulled her phone out, using her thumb to move through a few screens to read the new message.

Korra: -9:17am- For the record, you're definitely not a daddy's girl. You're amazing. I know you can take care of yourself.

"Hello, Asami."

Asami gasped, turning and dropping the box of her items. Before she could call out for help, Rika reached out and slapped a wet rag over her nose and mouth. She then reached forward and wrapped her left arm around Asami's neck, squeezing tightly. Asami reached up and grasped at Rika's hands, scratching at the skin on the back of her hand. Her fingers slipped along the blood that started to trickle out down the back of Rika's hand.

Korra, Asami thought before she slumped to the cold ground. Rika quickly scooped up Asami's cell phone and placed it into her pocket, before picking her up and shuffling towards the side of the school, dragging Asami behind her by the arms.


Asami groaned as a bright light flashed in her face. Her eyelids felt heavy as she tried to open them. Muffled voices hammered into her ears, exacerbating her throbbing temples. She felt her head rock back, letting out a light sigh of relief as the light moved way from her eyelids.

Carefully, she blinked, allowing her eyes to open. She was looking up at a metal ceiling lined with pipes. All at once she felt the sting from the tug of her arms, the abrasiveness of the rope digging into wrists behind her back, and the discomfort in her chest as she rapidly began to fill her lungs.

She looked over to her left and her right, trying to spot a window or an exit to the room but didn't find anyway. She then noticed Rika and Manami by the door, arguing with each other. Slowly their words began to shift from a muffled mess into coherent sentences.

"You're being a coward," Rika sneered.

"Rika, we've one way too far for this to be called payback," Manami said. "I can't be involved in this anymore." She shook her head before looking over at Asami with a sad look. "I'm sorry for everything I've done to you. I'm sorry I couldn't stop this." With that she turned on her heel and then ran out of the room.

"Wait," Asami rasped. She swallowed hard, desperate for her saliva to coat her throat. "Please, help me!"

"To hell with her," Rika muttered. "This is between you and me, anyway." She crouched down before leaning into Asami's face. She reached out and grabbed her by the chin, moving her head back and forth. "It always has been."

"Why?" Asami asked.

"Why do you think?" she demanded. "Seriously, I'm wondering why you think I'm doing this."

"I don't know," she whimpered. "Maybe it has to do with my father. Maybe Iroh!" she cried. "I don't know. You have made me persona non grata for years. One day, you, Manami, and Kiyoko come to my house for a sleepover and the next thing I know you've worked Kiyoko and Manami into hate me as much as you do."

Rika huffed in annoyance. "…It was right after Cabbage Corps create its first compact car. My family was finally starting to make some money and a name for itself. And your father could not handle it," she hissed. "Next thing we know, Future Industries makes their own version of a compact car and acquires a contract for the whole city to create a taxi system. Before long, he and the Sato name has taken over the whole city."

"I've been making up for what my father has done to this city, and it never seems like it's enough," Asami admitted. "My father ruins everything he touches, even our relationship and my trust of him. So, I understand."

Rika let out a sound of disgust as she got out of Asami's face. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her cellphone. "I don't want any of your pity. You bear his name so you're just as responsible."

"That notion has never been lost on me," Asami answered. "But, kidnapping? Holding me hostage?"

"Your father ruined my uncle's life!" Rika screamed. The wild look in her dark eyes had returned. Her hands shook and a muscle in her cheek twitched. "He's been sitting in jail ever since he plotted those lies and rumors about my family working with the Equalists." She took a deep breath. "My mother has to work between two and three jobs just to keep me at RITA when we used to be able to afford it."

"Ir's been proven that my father was behind all of it," Asami insisted.

"Once your reputation is ruined it is hard to bounce back. You know that now, but of course you were able to turn Future Industries around," she snapped. "Meanwhile, my mother and I are no better off than those gangs and the homeless who live on the street."

"That's not an excuse." Asami shook her head. "Two of my closest friends are from the street, but they're the most humble, kind, and down to earth people that I know. There family has about fifteen people living in one house in the Earth Kingdom and they are all in high spirits. You shouldn't judge everyone based on where they come from or where they live."

"Which is easy for you to say since you live in the only mansion in the city," Rika pointed out. "Looking down on everyone from the biggest hill."

"I have never looked down on anyone," Asami said, "I'm not my father!"

"You were always so perfect," she continued as if she weren't interrupted. "You got the best grades, the best clothes, and all that special treatment. It was always about you." Rika glared down at Asami. She reached up to run a hand through her hair. The movement caused her hair to appear wilder and more unkempt than it did before. "I don't see why everyone loves Future Industries so much. Cabbage Corps has excelled where Future Industries has lacked," she pointed out. "All you focus on is your high-tech gadgets that only the rich can afford. You only care about money, while Cabbage Corps cares about the people. We bring them household appliances, phones, computers, and other things like that. But then Future Industries takes the idea and comes up with something bigger and better, but only for those who can drop the biggest checks."

Asami closed her eyes for a moment before sighing. "…You're right," she admitted.

"Of course, I'm right, but no one takes me seriously," Rika crossed her arms over her chest, her cellphone still gripped tightly in her hands.

Maybe, if I can get out of these binds, I can get her phone and call for help, Asami thought. She forced herself to look directly into Rika's eyes while she began to move her wrists around, trying to find a knot in the rope with her fingers. At the same time, she tried not to show too much movement in her arms as to tip Rika off on what she was doing.

"My so-called friends don't even take me seriously," Rika scoffed. "I used to have a lot of friends, and as soon as I was happy you took that away from me. First Kiyoko and now Manami has deserted me. I don't need them anymore. I have my Uncle Zaheer and his friends."

Asami stopped all movements, her eyes opening wide. "What?"

Rika quickly slipped off her jacket and presented the Red Lotus symbol on her upper arm. "Do you like my new tattoo?" she brightly asked. "Now that I have you here, all I need is to send one text message and they'll come running," she added, shaking her phone in Asami's face.

"Rika, you don't know what you're doing," Asami warned.

"I know exactly what I'm doing. I'm finally going to get you out of my family's life and then we can have the life we were meant to have."

"The Red Lotus are a dangerous group," she insisted. "They're out to hurt Korra."

"Oh, gosh, I wouldn't want anyone to hurt your girlfriend," Rika said in mock concern. She then rolled her eyes before glancing at the time on her phone. "Although it's pretty late. I wonder if she even notices that you're missing at this point."

"Rika, this is bigger than me. The Red Lotus don't care about our petty squabbles." Asami resumed her attempts of getting out of the rope. "They're out to create chaos and change in a radical way."

"Then maybe you'll understand how it feels to lose someone important to you," Rika said.

"My mother was murdered in a robbery gone wrong. I know what it feels like to lose someone. I ordered her favorite flowers every year and place them around my apartment on her birthday. I always wear her gold hair clip. I buy a bottle of her favorite perform and spray my pillowcases every night with it so I can feel closer to her. My heart hurts every time I look in the mirror because of how much I look like her." Asami swallowed the hard lump that formed in her throat. Rika continued to look at her with a bored expression on her face. "My father, whom I looked up to all my life, was trying to eradicate benders and almost initiated a war. My three ex-best friends suddenly turn on me a day after my sleepover birthday party and bully me for years. And for a while, my first ever true friend, lost all recollection of me and we weren't sure how long it would last. So yes, I know what its like to lose someone who is important. Pain isn't a competition."

Rika shrugged. "New growth cannot exist without first the destruction of old."

"What?"

Asami let out a cry of pain as Rika slapped her across the face. She watched out of the corner of her eye as Rika made her way to the door. With a heave, she wrenched the door open and quickly shuffled out of the small room.

"It's time for a new normal," Rika insisted before letting the door slam shut. A few moments later a loud clicking sound filled the small room as she locked the door.

Asami tugged hard on the rope bindings around her wrist. She stomped her foot to the ground once she realized her movements caused the ropes to tighten even more around her wrists. She let out a loud cry before slumping forward, breathing hard. Sweat dripped down her forehead to the end of her nose.

"Okay, think Asami, think," she whispered to herself. "You've been able to get out of all kinds of situations. You can do this." She flinched as she felt something cold brush over her cheek. She turned her head and spotted Hermes, who purred happily while phasing through the back of the chair. It nipped lightly at her earlobe. "Hermes, help me," she cried.

Hermes purred once more before jumping down from the back of the chair. It turned and began to quickly gnaw on the ropes at her wrists. Asami began to tug, ignoring the rope burns she was rubbing into her skin. Hermes let out a loud yell before jumping into the air and flapping its wings. It then extended its front claws and slashed at the ropes. Asami let out a cry of triumph as her hands were finally pulled free.

"How did you get here so quickly?" Rika's voice said.

"That's not important. Where is she?" Zaheer's deep voice boomed out.

Asami picked up the chair she was sitting in and wedged it underneath the door handle. She brushed her long hair out of her face before turning and looked around the small space. "I don't think there's any way to get out," she said to herself.

Hermes jumped up onto her back and clamped on tight with its claws. Asami hissed in pain as she felt small pricks in the middle of her back and on her shoulder blades. She then gasped in shock when she felt her entire body turn cold before she sunk through the floor.

The door to the room blew off its hinges and flew across the room, slamming into the wall. Zaheer took two steps inside the room, glancing at the rope on the floor. Rika rushed in after him, stopping short at the sight of the door on the other side of the room. "What happened?" she asked.

"She isn't here," Zaheer calmly said.

"That's not possible," Rika cried. She ran into the room and picked up the rope on the floor. She thumbed to rips in the fibers before tossing it to the floor. "It's impossible to leave this room without going through the door."

"It's no matter." He shrugged before clasping his hands behind his back. "My team will go find her, the Avatar will arrive, and then we'll get rid of her."

Rika turned to face him; a look of confusion set upon her features. "Get rid of her?" she repeated.

"She is of no importance to us after the Avatar comes and rescues her."

"Y-you're going to harm her?" Rika squeaked.

"She and the Avatar stand in the way of a perfect world," Zaheer answered.

"That wasn't the plan!" she cried. Zaheer glanced down at her in slight annoyance. "It wasn't supposed to be like this. I just wanted her out of the way, not permanently gone."

"New growth cannot exist without first the destruction of old," he said. "I thought you understood that. I guess I was wrong."

Rika slowly dropped to her knees. She let out a loud wail before reaching up and grabbing at her hair. Tears heavily flowed down her cheeks. "How could you trick me?" she sobbed.

"We both got what we wanted. You wanted to feel important and for the girl to be out of your way. While I wanted access to the Avatar."

"Well, I'm not helping you anymore," Rika spat. "I thought the Red Lotus was to bring positive change."

"We will as soon as the Avatar is dead." Zaheer then took a step forward and gripped her forearm in his strong hand. He easily pulled her up into the air, her feet barely touching the floor. "In the meantime, I can't have you be a liability."

"Wait, let go of me!" Rika cried as she was dragged from the room.

Chapter Text

"Where is Asami?" Bolin asked. He was sprawled out on the couch, one leg up on the arm and the other on the floor. He tossed a ball over to Naga to just watched it bounce and roll away in front of her nose.

"Bolin, if you ask that one more time, we'll leave you behind," Mako said with a glare. He turned his attention back to the playing cards in his hand. He let out a sigh before picking one up from the deck in the middle of the table.

"What, it's a legit question," he said defensively.

"It would be if you didn't ask every two minutes," Mako commented. Korra snickered while looking at the cards in her hand. She hummed to herself while picking a card up from the discard pile.

"Two?" Bolin repeated. "I thought it was five."

"Gin!" Korra cried, laying her cards out on the table.

"I thought we were playing Cribbage," Mako commented in confusion.

"I don't think you can play cabbage; I think you eat it." Korra asked.

"Okay grandma and grandpa," Bolin commented while sitting up on the couch. "Has anyone even tried to get in contact with her?"

"I've sent her five text messages," Korra said. She leaned back in her chair, balancing on the two back legs. "Sending another message isn't going to make a difference."

The three of them shared confused looks as a loud rapping came on the door to the apartment. It paused for a moment before the knocking turned to loud banging. "That must be a persistent pizza delivery guy," Korra commented.

"Or woman," Bolin said, "no need to discriminate."

"Touché," Korra responded. She slammed the chair back onto the ground before getting up and walking over to the door. After peering through the peep hole, she opened the door before jumping back as it was pushed open. "Where's the fire?" she commented as Kiyoko rushed in.

"Is Asami here?" Kiyoko asked, while looking around. Without waiting for an answer, she began rushing around, looking in every open door.

"No, we haven't heard from her all day," Bolin called out from the couch.

"So, it is true!" she cried.

Mako grabbed Kiyoko by the shoulders, forcing her to stand still. "Hey, what's wrong?" he asked.

"Asami was expelled," Kiyoko announced. She moved out from Mako's grasp towards the table where Korra and Mako were sitting at. After brushing off the playing cards, she pulled her laptop out of her school bag and placed it onto the tabletop. As she waited for it to boot up, she pulled out a charger and plugged it into the wall.

"There's no way she could have gotten herself expelled," Mako said.

"It wasn't her; she was framed," Kiyoko responded. She pulled up a video player software and began to type furiously. Bolin, Korra, and Mako gathered around, glancing over her shoulder. After two more clicks with the keyboard mouse, she made the video player screen bigger. "Check this out," she instructed. "They're security cameras at RITA."

"How did you get this?" Korra asked.

"I'm good with computers," Kiyoko said. She pulled up the video of Asami fighting back against Rika and Manami. Mako, Korra, and Bolin let out cries of discomfort when they saw Asami push Rika up against a row of lokers. Bolin then let out a gasp of surprise when it was shown Asami had slapped her across the face. Korra let out a laugh, and Mako's eyes widened in surprise. "Rika and Manami set her up so she could be expelled out of RITA. This is the full video." With that, Kiyoko pulled up another video but from a different angle. It clearly shows Asami being confronted by Rika and Manami before defending herself.

"Why is this video different?" Bolin wondered.

"The other video was doctored to show Asami being the main aggressor," Kiyoko explained. "Probably done by Manami. We went to the same coding summer camp last year."

"You rich kids really need to get a life," Korra snickered. "That's not a summer camp, that's voluntary summer school."

Mako continued to silently watch the video. After a moment, he leaned forward and replayed the video, pausing it when Manami tossed an object to the ground. "What's with the water-bottle?" he asked.

"They switched her water-bottle to frame her for having cactus juice," Kiyoko said. "But, that's not the worst part," she said quietly. With a few more clicks of the keyboard mouse, the camera feed changed to view the outside of RITA. It showed Asami walking out of the front doors of the school. A few moments later, the camera angle shifted and showed Asami being dragged to the side of the building. Manami appeared from a dark spot in the corner, picking up Asami's legs and assisting Rika in moving her out of frame.

"They abducted her?" Bolin gasped.

"I didn't find out until a few minutes ago, when I got this." Kiyoko reached into the pocket of her skirt and pulled out her cell phone. She pulled up a recent text message and handed her phone to Korra, who read the message out loud:

Manami: -6:23pm- Si Wong Desert in a hidden bunker. Near Misty Oasis. I'm sorry about this. About everything. She's alive, last I saw.

"Si Wong Desert?" Bolin repeated. "How'd they get there so quickly?"

"Rika has family ties to Cabbage Corps. They probably got an airship," Kiyoko explained.

Korra gasped, snapping her fingers. "Maybe that's why Rika doesn't like her. After Hiroshi framed Cabbage Corps for Equalist involvement, the company practically folded."

"There's more. She's been inducted into some group called the Red Lotus."

Mako, Bolin, and Korra all exchanged looks of horror with each other. Kiyoko looked in between the three of them before hunkering down at her computer. The sounds of her typing quickly filled the silence. A moment later, Korra lifted her fingers to her lips and let out a loud whistle. Naga jumped to her feet and rushed over.

"Come on, girl, we have to go find Asami!" Korra ordered.

Mako quickly grabbed her by the middle of her elbow and pulled her away from the polar-bear dog's side. ""Korra, it can easily be a trap," he insisted. "They probably adbucted Asami to get to you."

"Well, we have to do something," she shouted. "Asami's in trouble. We don't even know if she's still alive."

"Mako's right," Bolin said. "There's no point in rushing out to get Asami if we don't know where she is."

Korra pushed Naga away. She clasped her hands behind her back and began to pace back and forth. She was muttering to herself as Bolin and Mako watched her movements. Naga began to follow behind her, sniffing lightly at her heels. Suddenly, Korra stopped walking, let out a grunt as Naga kept moving. The polar-bear dog slipped her head between her owner's legs and slid Korra down the back of her neck, resting at her shoulders.

"I have an idea," Korra said happily. She leaned forward and gave Naga a kiss on the back of her neck before turning to scramble up her back. She made herself comfortable before crossing her legs in a sitting position. "Watch over my body," she instructed, before closing her eyes.


Asami woke up with a gasp before closing her eyes against the hot sun. She took in a few deep breaths of dry air, which only sent discomfort into her chest. Hermes purred before rapidly flapping its wings, directing cool air over her face and neck. Asami hummed in content before sitting up. She groaned when she felt sand slip out of her hair and into her lap. Slowly opening her eyes, she looked around at the miles and miles of sand. A few yards in front of her was a set of train tracks. Shimmying out of her school uniform's jacket, she took the arms and wrapped them around her waist, tying it in a not.

"Hermes, where are we?" she coughed. Hermes looked at her with its big green eyes, cocking its head to the side. "I guess you don't know either," she commented. "Thank you for rescuing me." Hermes jumping into her lap and curled up into a ball, folding its wings.

Asami slowly climbed to her feet. Hermes landed on his feet before sinking into the sand before disappearing. Asami removed the jacket from around her waist before placing it on top of her, blocking the sun and providing a little bit of shade. "Okay, how am I going to get out of this?" she muttered to herself.

"Asami!"

Asami turned around, letting out a cry of pain as the dry wind picked up, blowing dust into her face. Her school jacket blew off her head and off into the distance. The sand buffeted against her legs and neck. She spat into the sand, desperate to get the grainy dirt out of her mouth.

"Asami, I'm right here!"

"Korra," she said quietly. Asami slowly opened her eyes, her jaw dropping upon noticing a Korra spirit in front of you. "Is this real?"

"Yes, ever since the Harmonic Convergence I've been able to project my spirit," Korra said proudly. "Jinora taught me how to do it. Are you okay? We heard what happened."

Asami grunted, rolling her eyes. "I'm fine, but I'm not yet sure how to get out of this one, or where I need to go." She, again, looked over in the direction of the train tracks. After a moment she started to walk in its direction, attempting to gauge which direction the tracks her heading.

"Misty Palms Oasis should be close by," Korra suggested. "It is a great little spot for refuge." A moment later, a frown hardened her face. "Did Rika leave you in the desert?" she demanded. "Just wait until we cross paths. I mean it, Asami, this girl's head is going to roll-"

"No!" Asami insisted. She stood on top of the train tracks before bending down. She winced as the glare of the sun flashed off the metal railings. She shifted so that the reflection of the sun was in a different spot. The sudden movement caused her to lose her balance and lean forward. Her shin pressed against the hot metal, burning into her skin. Asami let out a cry of pain as she moved to stand up. "I was stuck in this metal room," she hissed. "She called Zaheer a-and showed me her Red Lotus tattoo."

Korra's anger faded. "So, it's true," she said quietly.

Asami ended up picking a direction and began to walk along the tracks. "Rika is in over her head," she admitted.

"You're making excuses for her?" Korra demanded.

"No, I am not!" Asami insisted. "I'm pretty sure it's the same way my father got involved with the Equalists."

"How'd you escape?"

"Hermes helped me escape," Asami said. Another dry gust of wind blew sand everywhere. She looked up at the sky, willing for a cloud to be blow across the sun but found herself looking at a vast of blue. "Somehow they were able to phase their spirit energy to me. The last thing I remember is that I was slipping through the floor."

"Through the floor?" Korra repeated.

"Yeah, it was weird," she responded. "I don't think he'll be able to take me all the way back to Republic City though."

"Don't worry about it. You just get to Misty Oasis, and we'll take it form there to get you home." Korra then shyly looked down at her hands. "Asami, I'm so glad you're safe," she said quietly. "I don't know what I'd do if something happened to you." She half smiled. "I don't think I tell you enough how much I appreciate you."

Before, she could respond Asami jumped at the loud sound of a train horn. She squinted her eyes, peering forward into the distance to see if the train was coming, but didn't spot anything. It wasn't until the sound came again that she realized the train was behind her. The ground beneath her began to shake. Asami let out a cry as the movement caused her to fall over into the sand. She quickly scrambled to her feet before running along side of the train. The burn on her leg and the resistance of the sand made her quickly fall behind. Asami took a deep breath and forced herself to move faster. As soon as she was an arms length away, she reached out and grabbed the back of the railing on the train, pulling herself up. An attendant at the back of the train, assisted her onto the platform.

"Miss are you okay?" he asked. He looked closer at the crest on the right side of her button-down shirt. "You're a long way from home."

"I know," Asami panted. "I don't have a ticket. I just need a ride to the Misty Oasis. I'll pay my fare when we get there." Her eyes widened as she felt her pockets. "Somehow."

"Miss, it's okay," he said, opening the back door to the train. "Why don't you take an empty bed in one of the resting cars and lie down?"

Asami offered him a smile before entering through the back door the attendant held open for her. She moved through numerous compartments before picking one that was the emptiest, only holding a handful of people. Asami immediately took a seat on an empty bed and looked out the window. In the distance, she saw a few palm trees and a small yellow building appear.

"That must be it," she said to herself. Asami made herself comfortable on the bed before lifting her leg to look at her burn, when she spotted the same skirt in the bed across from her. Asami quickly dropped to her knees, ignoring the abrasive carpet rubbing against her burn. "Rika, are you okay?" she asked.

Rika was laying on the bed, her clothes tattered, a bruise on her lip, and a cut through her left eyebrow. She looked over at Asami, her brown eyes a dull shade of chocolate brown. She made a low sound before turning to look out the window to her right.

"What did they do to you?" Asami questioned. She looked down at her pale legs and noticed a purple spot on her upper thigh. "Were you-"

"No," Rika whispered. She winced in pain as she moved to cover herself with the blanket on the bed. "I asked to leave their group," she whimpered, a tear spilling out of the coroner of her eye. "It was the only way I could leave."

"What can I do to help?"

"Why would you want to help me?" Rika asked. She reached up a shaky hand and touched her lip. She then suddenly curled, pulling her knees up, and letting out a loud groan as she placed a hand to her side. "After everything that's happened." She curled her empty hand into a tight fist. "I'm sorry for everything I did. And now, he wants to hurt you and your friends."

"He's wanted to hurt me and my friends long before you became involved," Asami admitted. "Everything is so much bigger than you and me, but that doesn't mean you aren't important."

"You think I'm important?" Rika looked Asami directly in the eyes. Asami felt the coroner of her lips pull into a small smile.

"Everyone is important in their own way," she insisted. A woman pushing a cart entered the resting car, calling out for drinks and snacks. Asami moved so that she allowed the woman to pass, asking her for some rubbing alcohol and a clean rag.

"Zaheer and them made me feel that way," Rika admitted. She reached into the pocket of her skirt and pulled out a cell phone. "Here, its yours," she said, her voice cracking.

"Sometimes we're just loyal to the wrong people," Asami suggested. She pushed the power button on her phone, and a few moments later it lit ip and vibrated with the numerous incoming text messages loading onto her phone. One of the most recent messages was from Korra. "And other times, we find that one in a million person who ends up becoming a changing point in our lives."

"And that's you?" Rika asked.

"It can be anyone you want it to be." The woman pushing the cart came back with a small cup filled rubbing alcohol and a clean rag. Asami pocketed her cell phone before receiving the items from her. She dipped the rag int othe alcohol before carefully pressing it against Rika's eyebrow. "You must reach your lowest point to make your greatest change."

"Good change or bad change?

"That's your choice. You already faced a negative change," Asami said. "Is that something you want to continue to deal with?"

Chapter Text

"There you are, I was getting worried," Asami greeted brightly when Korra entered her bedroom. Asami was seated on her bed, dressed in a long-sleeved shirt, a pair of shorts, and knee-high socks. She was reading Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon, and quickly devouring its contents.

"This has to be the most relaxed I have ever seen you," Korra commented as she walked further into the room. She had a towel draped around her neck. "Well, not too relaxed. You don't even have your feet propped up," she snickered. "Sorry, for being late. I tend to lose track of time while in the gym." She dropped her sports bag next to the bed before lowering herself to the ground. After letting out a light sigh, she dragged the bag over to her by her foot. Without wasting a second, she unzipped it and dug out an energy bar.

"You don't have to sit on the floor, you know," Asami commented from the bed. She was leaning up against her pillows, but her feet were dangling off the side. The lamp that was sitting on her nightstand was pointed in her direction, bouncing light off the wall.

"I know," Korra answered around a bite of her energy bar. "I'm just more comfortable down here."

"But today is Tuesday, so you must have had practice with Tenzin on top of going to the gym." Asami slipped off her bed. She crossed the room and flicked off the overhead lights. The engineer had always preferred to red on her bed with the small lamp on her table. She had explained that the dim lighting allowed her to focus on whatever she was reading. "Come on, your muscles will be screaming in about an hour. There's plenty of room up here." Asami pulled the shorter girl to her feet and tugging her over to the bed. "Just sit on a towel," she instructed. Asami entered the bathroom and quickly re-emerged with a wine red colored towel.

After receiving the item from Asami, Korra tossed it onto the bed before climbed up onto it. "What are you doing?" Korra asked as Asami pulled out her cellphone and opened a music app. "You like to read in silence."

"Yeah, but you like background noise when you're lounging around," Asami answered with a shrug. She pressed play before slipping it into the empty mug sitting on her bedside table, instantly amplifying the sound.

"Okay, what's going on?" Korra demanded. She used her energy bar to point in Asami's direction. "You're being extra nice to me. Why? I should be the one who is extra nice to you, after what you had to deal with."

It had been about two weeks since Asami returned from Mist Palms Oasis in the Earth Kingdom. Upon returning, Asami has used all her new free time to solely focus on work at Future Industries, being an art model in a few of Pema's art classes at Republic School for the Gifted and working on small projects around the apartment. Some of those projects included re-organizing the kitchen, the laundry room, and even Korra's clothing in her drawers.

"I don't think I'm being extra nice," Asami said with a shrug. She reclaimed her seat on her bed and picked up her book. Once again, she dangled her feet off the side of the bed.

"The last time I sat on your bed after returning from working out, you steam cleaned your bed," Korra said. "I didn't even think that was possible!" She jammed the rest of her energy bar into her mouth, licking the crumbs off her lips. "You know you can tell me anything."

"I know." Asami smiled. She placed the book upside down on her bed, before moving to brush some of her hair out of her face. "I feel so safe around you."

"So, what's going on?" Korra asked, her voice dripping with concern. "It can be one of my twenty questions."

Asami looked at her in confusion before she noticed the smile on Korra's face. "Oh, right! We were playing twenty questions," she cried. "What number are we on?"

"I don't remember." Korra shrugged. "…I think I had four left."

"No, I think you had two and I had four," Asami corrected her.

"Semantics," she said with a wave of her hand.

"Okay, how about we agree to two more questions each?" Asami suggested. "And, no more passes or throw outs."

"So, we have to actually answer?" Korra asked. She then lifted her hand, pointing a finger high into the air. "Then I call an addendum," she declared.

"You can't make up rules just so you can win." Asami pulled a pillow from behind her and threw it into Korra's stomach. "In fact, it's impossible to win at this game."

"There is always a way to win," Korra said with a laugh. "Anyway, if we have to answer the last two questions then I want to create an addendum."

"I'm listening."

Korra lowered her hand before tapping her knee in deep thought as Asami waited patiently. Korra then snapped her fingers before smiling triumphantly. "We have to answer the question, but we can take as much time as we want to answer without any needling or pressing from the asker. And the askee must answer the question before they can ask their question."

Asami reached out and grabbed Korra's hand tightly, shaking it up and down. "Deal," she confirmed.

Wow, I was able to shake her hand without freaking out, Asami thought as Korra climbed off the bed to fully unfold the red towel so that she could lie down on the bed. Only being friends with her is already working out!

"So, with that being said, what's wrong with you?" Korra asked. She leaned forward and began to finger the stitching along the red comforter on Asami's bed, waiting patiently. Asami took a deep breath as she gathered her thoughts

Asami shrugged. "I don't have anything left," she admitted.

Korra's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "What do you mean?"

Asami let out a sardonic laugh, slowly shaking her head. She lifted her hand to count on her fingers. She paused when she noticed a small chip in the red nail polish on her left index finger. A moment later she pushed the worry away and began counting. "My mother is dead, my father's in jail, and I got expelled from school due to being set up from a girl who's been bullying me for years." With that, she threw her hands in the air. "What else is there for me?"

"Your company," Korra immediately answered. "I thought you liked inventing and tinkering."

"I do, but that's not the only thing that makes me me," Asami admitted. She placed her hands in her lab, slowly twiddling her thumbs. "There's more to me than engineering. I don't know if I'm not showing enough of it or if people just don't want to take the time to get to know me. I don't know what I'm doing wrong."

Korra reached out and placed her hand on top of Asami's. She then offered a half-smile before clearing her throat. "Asami, you need to chill," she declared. Asami pulled her hands away and looked at Korra with a raised eyebrow. "I mean, look at you. You won't even put your sock covered feet up on the bed." With that, she leaned forward and pulled on Asami's calf, pulling her feet up onto the comforter. "Everything seems to be so intense with you. Remember when you let loose and relaxed? We used to have fun!" she said. "Like when we snuck into the Midnight Dragon? Or snuck Bolin and Mako out of Opal's dorm room? Or went to the winter formal all dressed in suits? Or our New Year's Eve party? Or the-

"I get it!" Asami held up a hand to silence her.

"Or karaoke!" Korra said excitedly. "You really let loose that night."

"I said, I get it!" Asami winced at the harsh sound of her voice.

"Stop that," Korra ordered. "I'm not dismissing your worries. What I'm really saying is that you're always on the go." She then waved her hand up and down, gesturing towards Asami's body. "You're always so put together, except for right now," she quickly added. "You're always worrying about what other people think. Maybe it's because of your status in the city. What does Asami think?" Korra pressed. "Yes, being expelled is horrible, but now you actually have a lot of time to do what you want. You get to slow down and take care of you."

"I see what you're saying." Asami smiled softly.

"Don't for a second think you can't be sad, or angry, or upset," Korra continued. "You're entitled to your feelings, just don't let it consume you."

"Don't let my feelings consume me?" Asami repeated. "Korra, when we were getting arrested for being out during the illegitimate curfew of non-benders during the Equalist problem, you were going to drop a large slab of earth on some members of the police force," she pointed out.

Korra opened her mouth for a rebuttable, but quickly she closed it and made a grunting sound. Her eyes widened as she looked up at the ceiling in thought, tapping her fingers against her the bedspread. She then shrugged. "We're not talking about me right now," she commented, before reaching out and running a finger up Asami's sock covered foot. Asami let out a light scream, pulling her feet away. "I almost forgot about that," Korra commented.

Asami rolled her eyes before pushing on Korra's leg and pointing at the door. "You can leave now," she laughed. "I want to finish my book."

Korra performed a back roll off the bed, landing on her feet. She gave a quick wave over her shoulder before rushing out of the room. Asami smiled when she heard Korra calling out to Naga from the living room. She grabbed the book off the bed and made a quick note of the page she stopped on before closing it, checking to make sure it would close fully after being propped open on the bed for so long. Asami shifted her feet back off the bed, and leaned back into the pillows. She re-opened the book and began to read.

Asami jumped when she felt a finger poke on the bottom of her foot. She looked up from her book to see Korra leaning over her, holding out her cell phone with an annoyed look on her face. "My mom wants to talk to you," Korra said with an eye-roll.

"What's with your tone of voice?" Asami asked. She quickly marked her page in the book before gently closing it and placing it onto the bedside table.

"All she said to me was 'hi' and 'how are you doing' and then she asked to talk to you," Korra hugged. "I'm her only child. The light and joy of her life, but she wants to talk to you." She placed her phone into Asami's hand before crossing her arms over her chest. "I think she likes you more than me."

"Well, they do say you're not supposed to spoil your own children," Asami commented as she moved the phone to her ear.

"Look who's talking," Korra said with a smirk, pointing around the room. She let out a laugh when Asami stuck her tongue out at her. She then headed out of the bedroom and closed the door.

Asami made herself comfortable on the couch by turning so that her neck was against the armrest. She grabbed a throw pillow and placed it behind her back before stretching her legs out, albeit being careful not to place her feet up on the cushions. "Hi, Senna!"


Asami knocked on the open door to Korra's bedroom, announcing her arrival. She smiled brightly when she noticed Naga and Korra rolling around the floor. Even though Naga was a large animal, she still acted like a small puppy around Korra, evident in the fact that she just placed herself in her owner's lap. Not that Korra seemed to mind; she let out a loud laugh before burying her face into Naga's neck. Asami pulled out her cell phone and began to record a video of Korra and Naga playing.

A moment later, Korra looked up from the floor, a smile still on her face. "What's up?" she asked.

Asami ended the video recording and re-pocketed her phone before walking into the room. "I came to return your phone," she said. Korra gestured to her bed before squirming away when Naga began to sniff at her check. Asami gently tossed the phone onto the bed. "Senna gave me her number. I hope that's okay with you."

"Why would it be a problem for me?" Korra asked. "Everyone's needs a mom." She froze for a moment before turning to face Asami with an apologetic on her face.

"It's no problem," Asami said as she gracefully lowered herself to the floor. "I knew what you meant." She reached out and scratched Naga behind one of her ears.

"Naga's a good replacement though." Korra sighed happily. "Nothing like some animal therapy to put you in good spirits."

"What do you mean?" Asami asked. She watched as Korra hunched over a little bit, physically showing her discomfort. She forced herself to ignore her disgust of Naga licking all around her hand to focus on Korra.

"Sometimes, when I get overrun with worries or negative thoughts, I give Naga more of my attention," Korra admitted quietly. She then shrugged before offering a smile. "Its a win-win situation. She gets more time with me, and I get to relax for a few moments, and just have fun. I get to be carefree."

"Carefree?" Asami repeated. "You're one of, if not the most easy-going person I know." Korra let out a chuckle. "You're probably the living definition of fun. You're not afraid of anything. You're so sure of yourself," she added. Asami quickly stopped complimenting her friend when she noticed the solemn look on her face. Korra quickly turned away and grabbed a dog brush from the floor, one of the many items covering the area. "…or is that what you want everyone else to think?" Asami deduced. "Showing your real emotions isn't a weakness."

"I never said it was," Korra answered with an edge. She began to brush the fur along Naga's back. Naga let out a deep sigh before rolling onto her stomach out of Korra's lap. Asami wiped her wet hand along Naga's fur on her back, frowing at all of the fur that had instead stuck to her hand.

"So, what are you afraid of?" Asami asked. Korra remained silent, continuing to brush Naga's fur. "That's one of my two questions," she pressed.

Korra paused her brushing motions. She let out a deep sigh. "Amon, letting people down, not living up to expectations…" she listed off. "Failure," she whispered.

"You're not a failure," Asami reassured her.

Korra shook her head. "I didn't say I was a failure, just failure in general," she admitted. Korra patted Naga on the side before taking a seat on the floor, using the flank of her pet as a back rest. "As much as I would like for someone else to understand, no one does except for Aang, or Kiyoshi, or the other Avatars, and I can't talk to them anymore." Korra's voice cracked. She cleared her throat and reaching up to rub the back of her neck before looking over at Asami. "The entire balance of the world is on my shoulders, and even when I succeed, not everyone will agree with my choices. It is a lot of pressure, and it doesn't just affect my life, it affects everyone's." She shrugged. "Aang, was twelve and he handled this much better than I am."

"Technically, he was 112 so-"

"So, he's still better than me," she concluded.

Asami sat down next to Korra before reaching out and gently holding Korra's hand. "Korra, you can't live your life comparing yourself to the other Avatar's that came before you. You all are different," she gently explained. "Aang was a pacifist while Avatar Kiyoshi didn't have problems with murdering a tyrant. Wan was cocky and abused his newfound powers at first. There is no such thing as a perfect person, or even a perfect Avatar." She gave Korra's hand a squeeze before releasing her grip. "Don't for a second think for a second you haven't done anything as great as them. You're amazing."

Korra leaned over and pulled Asami into a hug. "You always know what to say," she commented. "I knew there was a reason I keep you around."

Asami laughed, allowing Korra to holder her tighter. "I want you to know that I'm here for you," she said quietly. "If you ever want to talk, or-"

Korra and Naga let out a loud cry as they fell to the floor, Naga rolling on top of them. The two looked at each other and bust into fresh giggles. "It looks like Naga is here for us as well," Korra said.

Asami reached out to pet Naga's side, ignoring the small flush of heat in her cheeks when Korra said the word 'us'.

Chapter Text

"Asami, I hate to say this, but you're kind of dragging me down," Korra commented as she plopped down onto the couch with a soda and a bowl of popcorn. Asami was sitting on the floor in front of the couch, working a screw back into a DVD player. "That's the third time I've seen you take that apart and put it back together."

"Well, what else do you propose I do?" Asami asked with a sigh. She gave another twist to the screw before putting the screwdriver down onto the table. "I'm just waiting for some papers from work, and I don't have school assignments to worry about anymore."

"Don't think I haven't noticed you still completing your homework assignments," Korra said. Asami blushed. She had been expelled from RITA for a little over three weeks. As the countdown to what was supposed to be her graduation date, she became more and more restless. Instead of answering she picked up the DVD player and began to inspect it at every angle. "I don't know." Korra stuffed a handful of popcorn into her mouth. Asami watched with a raised eyebrow as her friend shifted to be more comfortable on the couch, causing a few kernals to spill onto the couch. "Maybe talk to my mom again?" Korra muttered in between chews. "You spoke to her for about an hour the last time she called," she added bitterly.

"Are you jealous that your mom likes me more than you?" Asami questioned.

Korra paused in her chewing, her cheeks puffed out with food. Her eyes slowly widened. "…I didn't think that was true," she whimpered.

Asami quickly jumped up onto the couch and patted her friend on the knee. "Korra, I was kidding," she insisted.

Korra took a swig of her soda and swallowed all the contents in her mouth. She then let out a loud burp before half-smiling. "Me too," she said with a laugh. Asami rolled her eyes before slumping back into the couch, failing at fighting a smile to appear on her lips. "What did you talk about anyway?"

"Don't worry about it," Asami said with a wave of her hand. She couldn't help but think back on her phone conversation.

"Hi, Senna!"

"Hi, Asami, how are you doing?" Senna greeted.

Asami hesitated for a moment before politely responding. She picked up her cellphone and pressed the power button, smiling at the background picture on her phone. It was a selfie of Korra smiling brightly at the camera. She didn't' remember when she took this photo but quickly concluded that some time ago Korra had changed it without her noticing. "I'm guessing Korra told you about what's been going on."

"She did," Senna confirmed. "Are you okay? Is there anything you need from me?" she asked.

"No, Senna, but thank you," Asami answered. "That was sweet of you to ask."

"I ask because you probably won't," Senna commented. "I can't help but worry about you. Not to put my own daughter down, but there's only so much friends can do until you need to move higher."

"Of course, Senna, I understand," she said. "I just don't want too many people involved. It's already difficult not to have Korra fight my battles for me. I really do appreciate it, but there are some situations I would rather handle myself."

"Sounds familiar," Senna chuckled. "She takes after her father. On one hand it shows how much he cares for me and wants to help, but on the other it feels like he doesn't listen."

"How do you deal with it?" Asami questioned.

"Sometimes its easier to just let them do it," Senna admitted. "They can be so stubborn that when I try to talk to them about their impulsive decisions we get into an argument. Tonraq was especially bad at this when we first dated, but now that he has a family, he's learned to tone it down. I believe they just want to prove their worth to those they really care about, to prove that they'll always be around."

"That makes sense."

"It's best to pick and choose which of the many situations you should insist upon doing yourself," Senna added. She then muttered to someone on her end of the line after a door opened and closed. "Oh, I have to go. Katara just dropped by."

"Actually," Asami quickly said, "if it's not too much to ask, may I speak with her?"

Senna gave her a goodbye greeting. Asami waited patiently as she heard the phone being passed around. She wiped her empty hand on her pant leg, trying to get rid of the clamminess that started to develop.

"Hello?" Katara greeted.

"Hi," Asami said shakily, "I'm sure you don't know me but I'm Asami Sato."

"I've only heard wonderful things about you from Korra," Katara answered. "How are you doing, dear?"

"I'm good, kind of." Asami took a deep breath, before licking her lips. "Um, if its not too much trouble, may I ask you a question?"

"Of course."

"…How did you become comfortable being with Aang?" she asked. "I-I mean, while he was alive he must have been traveling all over the world, and not spending a lot of time at home. You never knew if he was in danger or anything like that. I'm sure you worried."

"All the time," Katara agreed, "but I also trusted my husband to do the right thing and make the best decisions he thought would benefit as many people as possible. But, that's not what you want to hear, is it?" she asked.

"…How'd you know?"

"Usually, when people ask about my late husband it's about some of the biggest battles we've faced," Katara said. Asami waited patiently as Katara cleared her throat. "It is difficult to be involved with an Avatar, even if you're friends. You end up worrying if one day they won't come back. They won't, be it due to passing naturally or using up all of their energy. You are given firsthand experience of how simple your life my be in comparison to the weight of the world they must carry. However, you and all your other friends can see Korra as just Korra, who also happens to be the Avatar," she explained. "It never gets any easier, but sometimes you don't want it to be, as long as they are still around. I didn't fall for Aang just because he was the first friend I made outside of my home, or that he was the Avatar. I liked that no matter what happened or what he faced, he never changed and he never wavered or apologized for what he believed in. He treated everyone with kindness and respect and was gentle with all kinds of creatures. He never used his powers to his advantage unless it was to get out of a scrape. Aang knew how to have fun and just lit up everything and everyone he touched. Most importantly, Aang was true to himself."

"Thank you, Katara," Asami said quietly.

"You're welcome, Asami."

"Well, I should let you go," Asami rushed. "I didn't mean to hold you up for so long." She paused. "And, Katara-"

"Don't worry," Katara interrupted. "I won't say anything."

"This must be some super secret phone conversation," Korra commented with a snort. She leaned over and snapped her fingers by Asami's ear, causing her to flinch at the sound. "You've been zoned out for the past few minutes." She held out the popcorn bowl to Asami who took a few pieces. "So, what can we do?"

Asami and Korra took turns suggesting various games or activities they could do, and quickly grew frustrated when the other person would quickly shoot down their ideas. "Okay, we could play chubby bunny," Korra said.

Asami tossed a piece of popcorn into the air and caught it in her mouth. "Last time I played that game was with Manami, Kiyoko, and Rika, and we used grapes. I almost choked on the juices."

"You aren't supposed to eat them," Korra pointed out.

"I needed to make more room to win," Asami said defensively. "It would have worked if the grapes didn't make a loud crunching sound when I chewed."

"Okay, we could play a board game."

Asami groaned. "The last time we played Candy Land you cheated."

"It's not cheating!" Korra shook her head. "You have to go past the last color space to win."

"No, you must land on the last color space to win," Asami countered. She quickly held a hand up. "Though we're not having this argument again or else we'll be here all night."

"We're already going to be here all night." Korra sighed. She removed the bowl of popcorn from her lap and began to eat the few kernels that were scattered on her shirt. "Oh! What if we find a car outside and you teach me how to hotwire it?"

"Why?" Asami slowly asked.

"…Science project?" Korrasaid with a shrug.

"You're not in school and you're not home-schooled. So no, I'm not committing grand theft sato," Asami commented. Korra looked over at Asami, her eyes slowly widening and her jaw dropping. Asami sighed, hanging her head. "It's because it's an automobile, which is another name for a car, and-"

"And it's a Satomobile!" Korra erupted into laughter. She reached over and jostled Asami by her shoulders. "That's a good one! I can't believe I didn't think of it." She then began to laugh harder. "See, you can be funny!"

Asami laughed along with her. Once the two were able to collect themselves, silence enveloped them as they continued to think of what they could do. The only sounds interrupting the silence was Naga's quiet snores from the coroner of the living room, and a clock ticking in the kitchen. "Maybe I can work on a new YouTube video. I haven't uploaded one in a while," she suggested. She then sat up straight and turned towards Korra. "Or…" she trailed off.

"Or…" Korra repeated.

"Or, we start our own channel together!"

"What?"

"Come on, it'll be fun." With that, Asami grabbed Korra by the arm and pulled her off the couch. She didn't release her grip until she pulled her over to the closed door near the front door. Asami quickly opened it and pushed Korra inside, flipping on the light.

"What's so fun about talking to a camera and putting it online for others to see?" Korra asked, blinking rapidly to get her eyes to adjust to the bright lighting in the room. Asami picked up a black stool and placed it next to a red one sitting at a table in front of a camera. A white back drop with a pink paisley design was hung up on the opposite wall. A computer set up was on a table off to the right of the camera set up. "I'm boring. I just like to play video games and compete in pro-bending matches."

"Then use that," Asami suggested. She moved Korra to sit on the black stool in front of the camera as Asami placed herself on the red one. "People make YouTube videos for all kinds of reasons. I do makeup, tinkering as you call it, and some modeling tips," she explained. "However, a lot of people post videos of themselves playing video games. You can do anything. Why don't we do the Friendship Tag?"

"Friendship Tag?"

"Yes, it's basically a video of where two friends ask each other questions to see how well they know the other person," Asami said. She picked up a small black remote from the table and pressed a button. The camera lens began to expand, and a red light appeared at the top. "It's more popular as the boyfriend or girlfriend tag, but, it's something to do."

"I don't know." Korra shrugged.

"This could actually help!" Asami continued. "It'll help show that you may be the Avatar but you're also a regular person."

Korra regarded Asami before sighing deeply. "Okay, I'll try it, for you," she said. Korra shifted in her seat to try and make herself more comfortable. A moment later, Asami positioned her so that she wasn't slouching over. "So what should we name our channel?" Asami shrugged before tapping her chin in thought. Korra cleared her throat. "How about…Korrasami?"

"I like it!" Asami said brightly. "So, I'm going to pull the questions up on my phone." She motioned over to Korra with a raised eyebrow, displaying her phone screen background. Korra smiled brightly in response. "Wow, there's about 100 of them," Asami commented as she pulled up the questions.

"We're not doing 100 questions!" Korra said.

"Okay, I'll pick the most interesting ones." She angled the small black remote at the camera, her finger hovering over the record button. "I'm about to start the video. Ready?"

"I guess."

Asami pressed the button and placed the remote down onto the table before glancing at the phone. "We can record our intro later. So, I'll start!" she announced. "What is my favorite color?"

Korra looked Asami up and down before raising an eyebrow. "What is that? A trick question? It's red."

"Nope," Asami said, making a loud popping sound on the 'p'.

"Okay, fine, black."

"No."

"No?" Korra repeated, sounding offended. "Those are the only two colors you wear."

"You were blue every day," Asami pointed out.

"Yeah, but I also like the color blue." Korra quickly stuck out a finger and pressed it against Asami's lips. "It's not because I'm from a water tribe. That's a coincidence."

"Well, you were right, it kind of was a trick question because I have two favorite colors: pink and purple," Asami announced. "And blue is a close third."

Korra grumbled to herself as Asami scanned the list for another question. She crossed her arms over jer cjest and began to bounce one leg up and down. Korra had never been too comfortable in front of cameras, and wasn't sure what she should be doing as she waited for her firned to find a question.

"Okay, what is one food I can't live without?" Asami questioned.

"Fire flakes," Korra announced excitedly. "I even remember that one time me and Bolin replaced them with raisin bran flakes covered in salt." She began to laugh at the memory as Asami groaned.

During one of their late-night study parties for exams, Asami had fallen asleep leaving Korra and Bolin to study by themselves. So, for entertainment they dumped out her bag of fire flakes into a bowls and filled it with raisin bran before covering it with heaps of salt. Once Asami had woken up for a snack before resuming studying, she had noticed Bolin and Korra sitting close to each other, sharing a book, burying their heads deep into the pages. As soon as Asami placed a handful of her favorite snack into her mouth they erupted into laughter as she spat out the food, coughing harshly from the salt. From then, the two were forbidden from attending the same study night.

"You have to admit that was funny," Korra giggled.

"Moving on," Asami said, scrolling through her phone. "What is, or was, my weakest subject in school?"

"Is there a class you're bad at?"

"Yes."

Korra made a noise with her mouth before throwing her hands in the air. "I'm guessing, history."

"No, art." Asami shook her head. "When I work on my designs they're done with rulers, measurements, and math. Otherwise, I'm horrible at art."

"Oh, thank the spirits, you are human," Korra said as she placed a hand on her chest. Asami pushed her on her arm before moving through the questions again. Korra leaned over her shoulder, quickly reading as the text flew by. "There's a good one! Are you ticklish? That's a yes!"

With that, Korra quickly picked up Asami's leg and placed her foot into her lap.

"Wait, ow," Asami laughed as she shifted in her seat. "My foot doesn't bed that way," she cried, trying to pull her foot out of Korra's grip. Asami shrieked as Korra dug her thumb into the bottom of her right foot. She burst into hysterical laughter as the Avatar skirted her fingers lightly over her arch. "Stop! Stop!" she begged. "I can't take it." Korra ignored her and continued to tickle the bottom of her foot. "Okay, okay," she gasped.

"I wanted to get at least another question right," Korra said as Asami mock glared at her. She leaned over and plucked Asami's phone from her hands and began to read the screen. "Have I ever failed a test?" she asked.

"Once, while home-schooled back home. Your parents grounded you for two weeks. One for failing and the other for attempting to cheat," Asami quickly listed off.

Korra looked directly at the camera lens. "Note to self, edit this out," she said. "Okay, how