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Three is (Not) a crowd

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Korra breathed into her hand and took a sniff, smelling the mints that she plopped into her mouth a few minutes ago. Satisfied that her breath didn't stink, she looked down to inspect her clothes. She wore the usual outfit but there was a small stain on the right side of her shirt. Korra really shouldn't have had that chili dog outside of Future Industries Headquarters. But that chili dog was amazing. Maybe she should get another one. Or two. And this time get extra chili.

Wait. She came here for a reason. Korra patted at her cheeks to clear her mind, trying not to notice how hot they were. She took a deep breath and glared at the door that closed off Asami Sato's office to the Avatar like it was the newest threat to the world. Okay, she was going to walk into Asami's office and demand that the two go on a date. Maybe not demand, persuade would be a better word. Or politely ask but definitely not beg. The Avatar never begs. They could even have a casual lunch. As long as they talk about their feelings. There was no doubt in Korra's mind that the two had a connection between them, it was their Unspoken Thing. And Asami was smart enough to notice it too. She was always the brightest of Team Avatar. Or anyone really.

Korra groaned to herself when she realized she was rambling in her head again. She grabbed the handle and took a deep breath. She pulled the door handle with too much force, it slipped from her hand and slammed into the wall next to her. Korra winced at the harsh bang and glanced at Asami.

Asami was staring at her, eyes wide in alarm. The CEO was gripping her pen like it would prove to be a valuable weapon against the Avatar. Asami relaxed her grip and put the pen down with grace that the mechanic exhibited with everything she did. "Is there something I can help you with, Korra?" she asked with cool professionalism.

"Uh," Korra stammered. She walked into the office and fiddled with her fingers, wishing her hair still had a wolf tail to play with. Ever since Varrick's and Zhu Li's wedding, she and Asami had been seeing less and less of each other. Now that Korra was thinking about it, Team Avatar had been going their separate ways in the past two months after the wedding. Bolin and Mako had been hard at work in the Police Department and Asami had dove head first into Future Industries. The CEO had to deal with the mess that Kuvira's attack had created in Republic City, not to mention arranging a private funeral for her father which sparked a media scandal, some even going so far as declaring Asami was becoming an Equalist sympathizer. The only member that woke up almost every morning with no plan was Korra.

"Are you okay, Korra?"

The question snapped the Avatar from her thoughts. "Yeah, yeah I'm okay. Great actually." Korra coughed to clear her throat and took one of the two seats situated in front of Asami's desk. She glanced down and noticed that the entire surface was littered with blueprints of a railway system. Frowning, Korra leaned forward in her desk, eager to grasp any distraction. "I thought you were done with all this." She looked back at Asami. "Are you upgrading the system in Republic City already?"

Asami tapped at the blueprint that displayed one of the train's coaches. "I want to introduce the railway system to the Fire Nation. I've been working with Varrick to make the frames for the coaches heat resistant. The current trains won't be able to take the constant high temperatures without having to be replaced every five years or so." The way Asami talked, it was obvious that she was having difficulty handling this issue for a long time.

"Well you and Varrick are geniuses," Korra said, putting in as much confidence as she could in her voice. "You'll have this figured out in no time." The Avatar leaned back in her chair, her fingers once again fidgeting. "Maybe if you take a break, it will be easier for you to come up with a solution to the whole heat problem. We could go and get a quick bite." Korra could feel the heat rising in her cheeks as her heart increased in tempo. She was never this nervous when she dated Mako. What was it about Asami that made her feel like a turtle duck without its protective shell?

"Thanks for the offer but no." Asami must have read the hurt on Korra's face because she was quick to add, "I already have plans. With Lin."

"Lin?" Korra repeated, her confusion overshadowing the hurt feelings caused by the quick rejection. Why would the Chief of Police want to spend time with Asami?

Asami nodded and gave Korra a small smile. "She's a really great person once you get past her walls. We started to spend time together after you left."

The words hung in the room like a cloud and Korra felt the stirrings of guilt of being away for three years with only one letter telling Asami that she was still alive and well. The Avatar looked past Asami's right shoulder to the sun that was just now touching the horizon. She knew she had wounded her friend. The number of letters she received from Asami alone decreased in frequency as time went on and Korra didn't receive one from the mechanic after she sent her own meager letter.

"Lin wanted to investigate my company in case the metal poison was somehow connected to," Asami hesitated and her eyes dulled, "to my father." She looked over to the framed picture of her parents and her. It was the only picture with all three of them together that Asami owned and it was one of her most prized possessions.

Korra reached over and grabbed Asami's hand. The mechanic immediately turned over her hand to grab Korra's in turn, taking comfort in the physical contact. "I'm sorry to hear that," Korra whispered. "Did, did Lin find anything?"

Asami shook her head. "No, thank the spirits. If Lin had, she would have contacted you as soon as she did." She let go of Korra's hand and brushed the bangs away from her face. "The poison was created by the Red Lotus. My father had no connections to the organization." Asami chuckled weakly. "It seems that there were lines not even my father would cross."

"How did the investigation make you two friends?" Korra asked. She could read the relief on Asami's face at the turn of their conversation.

"Honestly, it sort of just happened," Asami answered after a minute of silence. "Once the investigation turned up nothing and I started to leave Republic City to expand Future Industries, Lin became my personal bodyguard. The police were worried that the Red Lotus would go after the rest of Team Avatar and because I was the only nonbender, I was seen as a prime target." Asami shrugged like the entire situation was not a big deal. At this time, she got up from her seat and started to roll up the blueprints with great care. "After a few trips, I figured if Lin was going to be my shadow, I might as well be friends with her."

Korra narrowed her eyes in suspicion. Asami was leaving something out; she could tell by the way the CEO kept her hands busy and wouldn't glance up from her rolling to meet Korra's eyes, despite being perfectly capable of doing so just a few moments ago. She wasn't going to voice it though, something in her stomach told her that they were starting to tread on thin ice.

Asami finished rolling the last of the blue prints and store them in a satchel. "I'm sorry to cut our conversation short but I have to go pick up dinner. It's from that Water Tribe restaurant. It's Lin's birthday today so I got her favorite."

"Can I join in?" The sound of food made Korra's stomach rumble. And it wasn't like she had anything to do for the rest of the day.

A light flush spread across Asami's cheeks. "No, sorry. Lin would get really upset with me if she found out I told you about her birthday." When Asami saw the downcast look on Korra's face, she quickly added, "We should hang out tomorrow though. We can take a walk in your park and have a picnic under your statue"

Korra's face twisted in discomfort and she shuddered in her seat. "Why did they have to name the park after me?"

Asami laughed at the sight of Korra's face and shrugged on the satchel. "They did do a good job with the statue at least." She bent down to hug the Avatar. "They even got your snow boots right."

"Snow boots? That's the first thing you noticed about the statue?" Korra chuckled as she let go of Asami, wishing that the embrace didn't end quite so fast. "You really are a prissy rich girl."

A friendly swat to Korra's arm was the only retort. Asami pushed opened the door and frowned at the hole in her wall where the door handle had hit. "And you really are too strong for your own good." She turned her head to look at Korra who grinned sheepishly, a blush darkening her cheeks. "I'll see you tomorrow, Korra." With that, Asami headed out of her office.

Korra watch the door swing shut before she sighed and looked down to the floor in defeat. "See ya."