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Last Summer

Chapter Text

Korra didn’t know what to think. Most Friday nights, Korra liked to go out with “the crew”. It wasn’t like she normally stayed in on such a nice summer evening. One where all the stars seemed to want to play and the wind is just warm enough to not need a jacket. But especially after everything that has happened this year, she needed a day in the summer to herself. Ever since the last day of classes, it had been a lot of partying, getting drunk, catching up with old friends. And then there were finals, which was a nightmare she didn’t want to revisit. Honestly, Korra was exhausted after all of that.

The crew went to the lake near their old high school, something that they had always done in their senior year of high school. For old times sake. And of course, Asami was going to be there like she always had been. Asami who could take on the world, Asami who was top student of her faculty, Asami who broke up with Korra. Things were fine between them but it was still hard sometimes. Korra couldn’t really trust herself to drink and not do something stupid. So she decided that this is for the best and that Naga can be the body that warms her tonight.

Besides, this wasn’t so bad.

“Naga, move! This is the best scene!” The giant white dog stares at her owner blankly and Korra resorts to physically nudging her massive fluffy butt. Which her faithful dog interprets as a command to sit and complies easily. Korra groans, the screen of her TV effectively blocked while one of the two most gayest characters in the world finally kiss. It was a real tragedy. Naga wags her tail and barks at Korra, demanding praise for her compliance. Korra opts to falling sideways onto her couch and burying her face into a pillow, trying to block out the noises of her two gaybies kissing.

“I hate everything.” Naga whines in response and Korra only offers a glare. They were all probably already thoroughly drunk and all having a lot of fun, reliving old high school memories. Maybe Mako and Asami were even hooking up. Not like that bothered Korra at all. Nope. They could live their life however they wanted.

“Maybe I should go out and get some wine or something. I still can’t believe mom and dad drank everything…” Korra got up to check the pantry once more, making sure that all the booze in the house was effectively gone. Naga grunts.

“I’m not an alcoholic Naga. If anyone’s the alcoholic here, it's you. I bet you’re the reason that everything's gone.” Naga barks in response and leaves Korra in the kitchen alone, what dog was going to take these verbal accusations passively? Not this dog. Korra almost feels lonely.

“Great, now I’m actually talking to myself.” Korra mumbles to herself. Truly, the only way to get some relief from this isolation was to go to the liquor store and get something for herself. It wasn’t cold so Korra just grabbed the car keys and got into her blue pick-up truck with Naga in the back. It’s not like she could actually leave her only companion home alone to suffer the same fate.

It really was a perfect night. Even with all the windows rolled down, the temperature was perfect and summer nights here were always a little brighter than they should be. While Korra was away for University, this was what she missed. Driving on empty streets at night, that silence, that feeling of content and peace. Since it was summer, there was that smell of cut grass and flowers everywhere. There was no such thing as an empty street back at her University, it was always moving, something was always awake, something was always lurking. And there was always something to do. A paper to write, an email to read, someone to talk to. But here, everything was perfect and still. It was the best place to come back to after a hectic first year at University. The only thing missing was that warm hand on her leg, that sweet smell of vanilla with a hint of oil, those vibrant green eyes that flashed in the dark no matter what. Those bright red lips that could spark a fire in Korra’s soul. That voice that could tame the darkest seas that raged in Korra’s head. That kiss that could bring Korra’s body back to life.

Korra didn’t turn to her right. She knew what she was looking for wasn’t there anymore.

It didn’t take that long to get to the liquor store even though Korra took the long way around. As soon as she parked her phone rung for the first time that night. It lit up her dashboard like a beacon against the dark glass. It was a perfect reflection and Korra could read that even from here that it was from her. Korra had to tell herself that they were all drunk and that alcohol is capable of turning geniuses into bumbling idiots. The phone kept ringing. Naga shifted in the back. The fluorescent light bulbs from the liquor store flickered.

Korra breathed, and picked up her phone.

“Hello?”

“Heeyyyyyyy wonderful ex! Have I ever told you that you’re the best ex that I’ve ever had??” Korra ignored the sharp pain that rung through her body.

“Asami, you’re drunk.” Korra hoped that Asami couldn’t hear her heart thumping in her chest, threatening to break out and kill her.

“No, no nonoono. You’re nurt litsening to me.” Asami was slurring every possible syllable together and she was acting like a child. Korra had to laugh at that.

“I am, and you’re very very very drunk.” Korra could almost see her pouting. There was a bit of commotion and distant protests from Asami before her voice was replaced by a deeper and definitely more sober voice.

“Korra?” It was a little disorienting. There was nothing more confusing than being on the other end of chaos.

“Uhm, hi? Is that you Bolin?”

“Oh, of course she called you.” Bolin sounded exasperated and Korra instantly sympathized. Hearing her friend's voice alone made her regret choosing to stay back at home.

“Bolin, it’s fine. Did you guys need something?”

“Yea, actually. We’re short one seat, Varrick showed up later with a bunch of people and now he’s puking everywhere so he can’t drive everyone back. Can you come to the lake and take someone?” There was distant shouting and Bolin didn’t wait for Korra to reply. “Okay, thanks! I gotta go.” And the line went dead. How many times had Korra heard that beeping coming from this phone number and left feeling like a hollow, broken machine.

Korra glanced wistfully at the bright glitter of rows and rows of inexpensive alcohol just two meters from where she sat. If there was any point in the night where she needed a glass of red or white or anything, it was right now. A small voice in the back of her head told her it was a bad idea, which sounded a lot like Asami herself, so Korra turned the ignition and just drove away.

The drive to the lake was nostalgic. Since moving back, Korra hadn’t been back there. How many times had Korra driven this same path during her high school years, she couldn’t even begin to count. Memories had tied themselves to the black concrete and looming trees. Kisses, long talks, sunsets.

When she got there, it looked like some people had already left with their own methods, only Mako, Bolin and Asami were left. Seeing them sitting on the curb waiting... How many times had they all piled into this truck and sung to radio songs? It had just been the four of them and the rest of the world. They were always so invincible to the strings that seemed to be attached to everyone else.

Naga jumped out the back before Korra could even get out, greeting her old friends with vigor. Bolin stood, walking up to Korra with a sheepish look on his face and Korra immediately didn’t want to hear what he had to say.

“Uhm so my car is full already and Asami is really insistent on riding with you.” Asami and Mako were on the ground laughing, knocked over by Naga who was eagerly licking their faces. Asami who’s drunk and not thinking properly. Asami who broke up with Korra. Asami who still looks beautiful even with her messy hair and smudged make up.

Fuck.

“Bolin…” Korra wavers and Bolin knows it.

“C’mon Korra. I know that this is hard I mean… I remember exactly what it feels like for someone to break up with me.” Korra winced at that but Bolin wouldn’t let her look away, his olive eyes brimming with understanding. Not a hint of malice or envy, just compassion. His large hand landed on her shoulder and he squeezed it. “I know you’ve been avoiding her but you guys need to talk. It’s been months. She wants--no needs to talk to you. It might help.” Korra took in a deep breath.

“Okay fine.” It was barely a mumble but Bolin gave her an enthusiastic smile anyway.

“Just call me if you need me okay?” He took her shoulder and gently pushed her towards Asami and Mako. Naga seemed to finished greeting Mako and Asami, now with her whole torso across the both of them in a mess of bodies and limbs. It was hard to tell where one of them started and where one of them ended.

“Naga! Come!” As always, Naga came to Korra as readily as she always had and bounded up to her owner as eagerly as she had to Korra’s friends. Bolin gave her a sympathetic smile that still looked a little sheepish while carting off a drunk Mako. She couldn’t help but feel like he was plotting something and then she remembered who Bolin was. Bolin would never do that.

After Asami and Naga were secured in the car, Korra let Asami sit in there by herself a little bit. Hoping she would sober up even a little bit. She watched Bolin’s headlights disappear into the darkness, the sound of gravel crunching under his tire fading into the distance. All that was left was the lapping of the water and the sound of her engine running. It was like she was back on the street, in a state of stillness except with an astounding feeling of brevity settling in the space between her ribcage and lungs. In the clearing, she could see the moon and stars reflected on the surface of the lake, surrounded by dark trees hiding the secrets of the earth. Korra made sure all the coals in the fire were stomped out and headed back to her car, the lake behind her and only the road to travel back on. Korra thought for a moment that things could start and end so quickly.

Asami was half asleep when Korra got into the car. Her leather jacket lay across her lap as a makeshift blanket, shirt rolling off her shoulders, silky fabric slipping off the swell of her chest. Korra swallowed thickly. She briefly wondered why Asami chose such an expensive looking shirt to wear. Asami’s head was lolling around, listening to music no one else could hear, dark wavy hair curtaining her face from the bright car lights. Korra fingered her own ponytail, not as wavy and silky as Asami’s was. Her hair was damaged and rough from swimming in a chlorine pool, a consequence of being in the swim club. Korra tucked back a strand of hair to see Asami’s face, brushing a knuckle against that smooth olive skin, making Asami stirr. Korra froze and drew in a sharp intake of air. Emerald eyes peeked out from under her lashes, glazed with sleep and inhibited by her drinking.

“Korra.” It was just a soft murmur, a little slurred, but Korra fell right back into that familiar mold she had always belonged in high school. Asami sounded as quiet as the night surrounding them, nothing but the endless sky and mysterious forest to pay witness to this moment. Asami turned inward, her red lips brushing against knuckles she knew so well, lips ajar as if she were to spill all her secrets to that hand. Korra didn’t know if it was on purpose or if it was an accident. As still as the lake, Korra became a reflection of the starry night sky.

“Asami?” Eon’s might’ve passed. The earth could have died and been reborn again, Korra wouldn’t have know. It might’ve been forever and Korra wouldn’t have known. The apocalypse could start and Korra wouldn’t care. If things could be like this forever, she wouldn’t mind. But Naga shifted, her claws clicking against aluminum and Korra knew she couldn’t stay like this for that long. Hand cupped around Asami’s neck, Korra gently pushed her so her head was pressed against the truck window, just to get a better look at her, to evoke a response from Asami’s numbed lips.

Korra scoffed. Asami wasn’t just half asleep, she was knocked out cold. Korra’s shoulder relaxed and she started heading back down that dark road, only the sound of Asami’s breathing and gravel crunching to accompany her.

“Let’s get you back home.”

Chapter Text

When Asami woke up, she was definitely not in her own room. This creamy ceiling was not the same tone of cream and everything smelt different. The sheets were soft, like they had been washed recently (Asami didn’t have time to wash her sheets since she’s been back).There was a harsh sunlight filtering in from somewhere making everything seemer sharp and jarring. And even though this was definitely not her own room, she could still recognize this smell.

Korra.

The thought travelled all the way to her fingertips. A mixture of absolute fear, warmth and hurt pulsed through her body. Even though Asami knew she wasn’t allowed to feel hurt, it still did. It still hurt to be in these sheets and feel like she was right there in the bed with her. But that could’ve been this horrible hangover. Then she remembered what she said to Korra. How she insisted on getting a ride with her. Kissing that worn, rough palm. Asami was going to be sick.

Her first instinct was to run away. Asami was still in her clothes from the night before and she reeked of hard liquor and smoke. Her makeup had smudged off in her sleep, and her hair was a monster she didn’t even want to think about taming. How the hell was she supposed to face Korra like this? And this stupid sunlight was not helping her trying to think through this goddamn hangover.

Wait. Sunlight?

Asami gingerly sat up and looked around, eye’s squinted because it felt like her head was being stabbed repeatedly. Her stomach churned uncomfortably and her mouth was drier than she thought it was. But there it was. A window.

Her ticket out of here.

Asami didn’t think about how she was going to get home or what she was going to do if Korra was outside. All logic and reason was thrown out the window. Literally. Asami, logically, had to go get that right? Asami swallowed the small nagging feeling that told her that this was a bad idea.

Asami took it slowly. Very slowly. Making sure not to puke all over the nice sheets and spotless carpet. Eventually the nausea died down and Asami could stand. As she stood there in the room, she choked down the memories that kept threatening to resurface. This wasn’t even Korra’s room. From the way the room looked, nice and primed, it was only the guest room. It only made escape so much more urgent.

Asami groped her pockets. House keys. Car keys. Wallet. Phone. Everything was in order. She took in a deep breathe and sized up the window. Asami, thankfully, was slim enough to slip through it. Suddenly those days hitting the boxing gym were so worth it. It was the second floor, but if memory served correctly, there was a pipe that Asami could sidle down from the roof. She opened the window and peered outside, hoping no one would notice her.

The sunlight was so much worse in all of its glory. Asami winced and bit through the pain. Sure enough, the window was over the roof, and Asami could shuffle her way to one of the pipes and sidle down. It wasn’t a very tall house, even with a hangover, Asami was confident she could do this. But it was facing the street so she would have to do this fast.

The safest way to do this was to step backwards into the window. And if she did this quickly, this wouldn’t be as humiliating. Asami was one foot out the window, half a buttcheek already warm from the glaring sun when she heard a low bark.

Naga.

Asami panicked and tried to bring her leg back in, effectively not raising her knee high enough and knocking it against the window sill. Asami winced and took a moment to let the pain subside. She had hit a funny bone. Asami cursed under her breath. Naga barked again, loudly. The only way to get out of this situation was to follow through with the plan. Obviously. Asami grit her teeth and pushed her other foot through the window, practically scrambling out. Naga was now escalating to a full out bark fest. Asami prayed that Korra would just ignore it. Asami remembered nights where they would giggle and make out under sheets, ignoring Naga who barked at every moving muscle. Successfully on the roof, Asami made a break for the pipe on all fours.

“Asami?” Asami froze. Her heart practically stopped. Asami looked to her right and surely enough, Korra was standing there. She was in her jogging gear, red in the face and sleek with sweat. Even in her most humiliating state, Asami couldn’t help but notice that Korra looked so hot. Asami, in that moment, concluded two things. 1) She was still drunk. 2) This was officially by far the worst morning ever. Asami knew that Korra always went for a morning run with Naga. She could’ve just snuck out the back door.

“Uhm. What are you doing?” Korra asked. Asami just stared at her and stopped caring.

“Sneaking out.”

“Oh.” An awkward silence stretched between them. Asami licked her lips. Being out in the sun was making her feel even more dehydrated. Korra was the one to break the silence.

“Uhm. Do you wanna come back inside and I’ll fix breakfast up for you? Maybe you can shower before you go?” She was still a little out of breath. Every other word was punctuated by a heavy breath. Asami hung her head and sighed.

“Yea. I’d like that.”

 

By the time Asami made her way back in, Korra was already in the guest room with a towel and a change of clothes in her arms. She smiled awkwardly and left it on the bed before rushing back out. She was probably hoping to have done that before Asami got back in. Asami didn’t have any dignity left in her so she figured a shower in her ex’s home couldn’t hurt.

A plate of hashbrowns, eggs, and toast were greeting Asami when she moseyed downstairs after her shower. The hangover just a dull thud, and feeling refreshed after her shower, the breakfast was a welcome sight. Korra was leaning against the archway, nibbling a piece of toast, eyeing Asami like she was some kind of predator. The whole house was in a bit of a disarray, clothes were hanging off the chairs, a dog leash was sitting on the breakfast bar, bills and papers were on one half of the dining table. Korra’s parents must be away.

“Coffee?” Korra asked.

“Uhm, no thanks. Can I have some water instead?”

“Sure.” Korra dutiful grabbed a cup for Asami after ushering her into a seat. Asami accepted with a soft thanks and as soon as the water touched her lips, she just drank the whole cup down in one go. Asami was parched. Water had never tasted so good. Korra raised an eyebrow.

“Someone was thirsty.” Asami almost choked. Was she…? When she put the cup down, Korra was giving her the biggest smirk. Oh my god. Korra was flirting with Asami. Bells went off and Asami could feel her face turning red, she just gaped at Korra. Asami must’ve made her self conscious because the smirk fades and Korra gets bashful again. First, Korra finds Asami on her roof, trying to escape. And now, Korra was flirting with her. Flirting. Oh my god. Asami almost knocks her cup off the table trying to recover, scrambling for her utensils and just tried to focus on putting food into her mouth while it was still warm. Korra coughed awkwardly and grabbed her cup.

“I’ll get you some more water.” Korra shuffled away and Asami still felt hot under her collar. It was more disorienting having her ex’s clothes on. Asami couldn’t escape the sleepy sour scent of chlorine that seemed infused in all of her clothes. She would have to thoroughly wash these before returning the sweats her ex so graciously gifted her with. At least they didn’t smell like booze.

At least she didn’t smell like booze anymore?

Asami froze. She was sitting here, eating home cooked food, sitting in freshly washed clothes, having water served to her, after having been driven here from the middle of nowhere, tucked into a nice clean bed after a rough night. And what did Asami do? Asami called Korra in the middle of the night, drunk, because she missed Korra’s voice. And she kissed that rough palm that was so familiar, even though she was the one that broke up with Korra. And, the icing on the cake, she tried to escape. Via roof and pipe. Asami was planning on leaving without so much as a goodbye. At least she didn’t smell like booze anymore. What the hell was Asami doing? Asami felt sick again. She stood with a hard scrape.

“Korra.” Asami’s voice shook, she stood at the entranceway of the kitchen. She didn’t deserve any of this. These warm, comfortable, worn clothes. The delicious, perfect, hangover food. Korra’s graciousness. This beautiful woman was wearing an apron, cooking more hashbrowns and eggs. Korra hadn’t even eaten yet and she was humming. if Korra was upset over the events that had happened, she wasn’t showing it. Korra wasn’t blaming Asami for anything.

“Hm?” Korra’s eyes were trained on the food. She used to be so bad at cooking. “Do you want more water? You can get filtered water from the fridge.” Korra didn’t even look up. Asami wanted to just wrap her arms around that muscular midsection, and beg Korra to take Asami back. Asami knew she wouldn’t even have to beg, and that made it even worse. What the hell was she doing?

“Korra.” Asami said it louder. “I’m so sorry.” That seemed to catch Korra off guard. She turned around hesitantly, as if she was scared she was going to be ambushed.

“Uhm…” Those blue eyes just bore into her and suddenly Asami was at a loss for words. The pop and sizzle of egg cooking sounded like gunfire in the silence. Naga’s claws clicked against the tile as she walked around, oblivious to the tiny storm brewing in Korra’s kitchen. Something seemed to release in Korra, suddenly her shoulders sagged and she just looked so tired. She turned back to her food, plating it. Her egg, sunny side up. Just like she had always liked it. No more humming.

“Asami.” Korra started. “You can’t do that again. You can’t call me like that.” She turned and just smiled. It was so sad and hollow, Asami barely recognized the girl in front of her. Asami had never seen Korra smile like that. Is that what she looked like when they broke up? “I can’t get phone calls from you and not think of… yea.” Korra shuffled past her and sat down to eat her breakfast. Asami felt like a knife was twisted into her gut.

Asami was the one that broke up with Korra, over the phone.

Asami sat down and finished her meal in silence. Even though she had lost her appetite and food just tasted like sand. How could Asami walk out without finishing the meal Korra cooked for her. She mumbled a thanks, ran upstairs to grab her clothes, keys, phone, wallet. When she came back down, Korra was swinging her car keys on her finger, waiting patiently by the door. Korra thumbed behind her with a small grin, all traces of that exhaustion gone.

“I’ll give you a ride. I didn’t know where you lived anymore so I just brought you here. But now that you’re conscious, you can direct me.” Korra said. Asami smiled sadly and shook her head.

“You’ve done enough. Thank you for… everything Korra. I…” Asami stuttered. “Keep in touch. Come hang out with us next time. Don’t stop on the account of… Of me.” Korra seemed a little surprised.

“Uh...It’s really not a problem. I have my truck.” Korra didn’t stop Asami from turning the doorknob.

“I’ll miss my bus.” Asami said. She looked into those sweet blue eyes once more. Korra was so close. Asami could just bend down and kiss her right there.

“Oh. Okay. I’ll see you later?” Korra said.

“Yea.”

Asami walked out the door and struggled to look forward. But she was weak when it came to Korra. When she hit the sidewalk, Asami turned back to that familiar yellow house, one that had so many good memories in it. First kisses, late nights, hushed whispers. She almost hoped that Korra would chase after her. A faint engine humming told Asami that the bus was going to be there soon, so she rushed off to her stop, without looking back again.

The door to Korra’s house was closed.