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it's such a gorgeous sight to see you in the middle of the night

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“As you might have heard, Future Industries’ Hiroshi Sato has passed. Cancer in his right lung could not be treated by the chemotherapy and, in the words of the doctors that have done everything in their power to save him, there was nothing they could do. My father—”

The reporters react violently, closing in and causing a cacophony. Rapid flashes of the cameras and noisy shutters join in the rush of questions thrown at Asami mercilessly.

“—yes, you have heard right. I am Hiroshi Sato’s daughter, and as his only child, he would have wanted me to bring the news of his passing.”

There is a high pitched voice inquiring who are you, where have you been, why have you only stepped into the limelight now. Asami looks stonily at the camera with a tight jaw.

“My name is Asami Sato. I have been living out of my father’s home ever since I went to boarding school and until this year, my second year of college; I have been kept out of the cameras since I was a child and stayed away from my father’s spotlight until now.”

Another asks if Asami only returned to claim the company and Korra wants to hurl this goddamned couch at the screen—how dare they—though  both of them knew that Asami could no longer run away from those kinds of questions.

Asami is stricken, eyes stormy. Korra grips the remote in her fist tightly, violently. “I have never left my father.” She replies fiercely, “I may have lived on my own but I made sure to visit him regularly even before I was even told he was sick.”

What do you say as the new CEO of Future Industries? another inquires. Korra knew Asami so well that to a stranger, it wouldn’t seem like she was caught unawares, but Korra knows Asami, knows how Asami couldn’t answer the question when they rehearsed, how Asami’s confidence wavers; Korra knows how she is overwhelmed by the weight on her shoulders.

 

Asami was an heiress.

Asami is now the head of her father’s company.

Asami—nineteen years old. Still holds a fascination for red cellophane kites and coffee shop buzzers that light up when their orders are ready—is the CEO of Future Industries.

 

This was too much to handle, even for Korra. She can’t even start imagine what Asami is going through.

She turns off the television with a shaky hand and takes a sip of her beer.

This was how Korra’s afternoon started:

 

“Dad’s...dad’s gone.”

 

Asami’s voice was raw, was pained, though she didn’t seem like she was crying—it was as if she was trying not to.

Her heart thudded against the cage of her ribs. She knew this day would come but she didn’t think it would happen this soon. The myriad of emotions coursing through Korra was overwhelming.

Ignoring the icy glare Raiko gives her, Korra excused herself from the class and brought her bag outside. She’ll deal with this later. Korra didn’t give a damn about him, didn’t give a damn about his class, didn’t give a damn about anything else because this is Asami and Korra promised herself that if this day arrives, she will drop everything and be the one that holds Asami together.

“Shit, Asami,” Korra cursed once she was outside. “Where are you?”

“I-I’m on my way to RC Gen, but don’t go, please,” Asami pleaded. When Korra intended to ask why in the name of the Spirits don’t you want me to come with you, Asami continues. “I have to deal with the press in a few minutes.” Her voice was thick and rough in all the wrong ways and it just didn’t sit well with Korra, a lego block of a different shape but if you pulled it out, it would make the entire building crumble.

“What time did he...?” she asked, struggling to keep her voice balanced.

“An hour ago. Fuck, Korra, I just—I can’t—” Asami’s labored breathing was audible on the other side of the phone. “I can’t—you need—fuck,”

Korra’s heart shattered at the jagged way Asami spoke. “Hey, hey,” Korra cooed, though her confidence wavered at Asami’s shallow inhales, throat tight with anxiety and grief for the only man Asami has ever admitted to loving. The man that asked his daughter to forgive him through a flimsy piece of tissue. The man that had promised Asami to take her to a kite park all those years ago, yet the promise was never fulfilled. The man that would have wanted to teach his daughter everything he knew and saddened by the fact Asami learned all he could offer on his own. “‘Sami. Asami. I need you to take deep breaths. Can you do that?”

(It’s been three months since Asami’s last panic attack; it was about a massive amount of projects due the next day and her father’s condition getting worse. The precedent episode before that was in senior year of high school.

Asami had been extremely embarrassed telling Korra about it, though Korra only smiled and tucked a stray strand of Asami’s black hair behind her ears and told her with a smile, “Well, the best person to help you is someone who has had episodes, too.”

Her best friend looked up at her with fresh tears that did not spill. “Y-you’ve had anxiety attacks?”

Korra nodded. Before she spoke, Asami interrupted her. “Was that when Zaheer almost took you after his disagreement with your dad four years ago?”

It still pained her to even think of it and the trauma it caused hiding in fear from the anarchists that wanted to get her and her family years back, but Katara always told her that whenever she’s faced with the memory, it’s right to face it, to not dwell on the past and to remember where you are and the person you are now.

Asami realized that she may have triggered her, so she pulled Korra into a tight, desperate embrace. “I’m so sorry—I didn’t mean to—”

“It’s alright,” Korra told her and pressed a kiss to the crown of Asami’s head. “You’re okay, I’m okay. That’s all that matters.”

They stayed like that for some time: Asami’s face burrowed into the skin of Korra’s collarbone and Korra telling her dumb childhood stories that made Asami laugh with minute shivers. She made a mental note of things that made Asami shake less and less; starting from days at the beaches near Opal’s home and the strawberry ice cream they buy later on.)

There was an obvious reluctance to do so, but Asami listened and obeyed, drawing deep breaths. After a few moments of echoing Korra, she seemed better than moments ago. “There we go, princess,” she soothed her best friend and wished she was there beside her. “I’m sorry. He was a good man.”

“Yeah, he was,” Asami agreed. Her voice cracked again, though she didn’t break. Not completely. “It means so much coming from you.”

“What’re you going to do now?”

“I...honestly don’t know. Well, there’s the press, then the arrangement of the funeral and… the company—Korra,” she drew in an audible breath, then her tone is pleading, broken, desperate, in a way that Korra has never heard before and never wants to hear ever again. “What am I going to do?”

“I asked you first,” Korra attempted at cheering up Asami, even just slightly. It didn’t seem to work.

Korra smiled and turned the corner, exiting the building. “You sure you don’t need someone to keep you company?”

“I do, but…” She trailed off, Korra’s heart sunk a little bit. There were a hiss and a door opening, signifying Asami’s arrival at RC Gen. “Later, okay? I’ll text you.”

“Alright. You sure?”

Asami chuckled. “Yeah, I am. And Korra?”

“Mmm?”

“Love you.”

It made everything within Korra stop; her feet have halted in their path, her hand gripping the handle of the large double doors, her heart has stopped beating and if she dies from lack of blood coursing through her veins, she can always blame Asami. (But she can’t, she can’t ever, she will never.)

“Korra?” Asami prompted.

The gears in her head decide to move again, and she blurts out a, “Love you too, ‘Sami.” Her heart beat madly as if only moments before it had stopped. “Call me when you need something, okay?”

“I will,” Asami said. “I’ll update you.”

“You better,” Korra told her, not unkindly, “No leaving each other in the dark, remember?”

“No leaving each other in the dark.”

The Krew texts her, fire away messages being the appropriate term, asking about Asami, where she is if she allows visitors. She says later, Asami will tell them eventually.

They surprise Asami at the hospital after dinner with a box of her favorite takeout place and flowers. Asami smiles when she sees them, her phone tucked between her shoulder and ear, busy with arrangements.

Her hair is a mess, make up smudged, but Korra thinks she still knows how to carry herself even in a crisis. She’s so very beautiful, Korra is so very smitten, and Asami leans into her tight embrace, returning the hug with more vigor.

“Thanks for coming,” Asami tells them when the visit comes to a close. “I’ll see you guys soon, okay? I love all of you.”

“We love you too, Asami!” Bolin pulls her into a crushing embrace.

“Yeah, we do. If you need anything, we’re here, okay?” Mako hugs her next. Then Opal, who sheds a few tears.

Korra is the last to say goodbye. “You promise to ask if you need help?”

Asami tucks a stray strand of black hair behind her ear. “I will. Thanks, you guys. All of you mean so much to me.”

Bolin pulls Asami into another hug (a bone pops into place, Opal looks horrified and tells Bolin to set her down), but Asami keeps her eyes on Korra the entire time, a small, barely noticeable smile pulling at her lips.

It’s sad, but it’s there. That’s gotta mean something.

+

Her phone rings in the middle of her essay for A-hist. The chimes doesn’t have to tell her who it is.

“Hey, ‘Sami.”

Asami’s voice on the other end is tired, used. “Hey. Mind if you come early today?”

Korra checks her watch. The service was at seven, and it was still five in the afternoon. “No, not at all. Need a hand over there?”

“Yeah. But it’s your company that I need more.”  There is a push between Korra’s ribs.

“I’ll be there. At the lobby of your dad’s mansion?” She rests the phone between her ear and her shoulder as she tidies up her stuff on the coffee table.

“Yeah. The company chauffeur will pick you up. Wear white, please? There are enough people wearing black.”

Korra halts in her ministrations and pauses, furrows her brows fondly. “Of course. Should the Krew come early with me?”

“Opal called me and said she, Mako and Bolin will catch up with us. She said to expect them by seven thirty.”

“Alright. I’ll bring flowers.”

“Thanks. And Korra?

“Mmm?”

“I owe you one.”

Korra tsks. “You don’t owe me anything.”

“I do. I’ll see you later, okay?”

“Yeah, I will.” Korra smiles, though Asami doesn’t see it.

 

The hall of the large house is full to the brim with rich old people and press members that may or may not have had too much to drink on the job.

She searches for Asami, stretching her neck to see through the crowd of people socializing. Korra catches a glimpse of the urn, decorated very beautifully with an array of flowers and a pot of incense mixing with the scent of flowers.

It’s a nice scent, even if the scent reminded her of death.

And this tight, white dress? It also reminds her of death. White isn’t Korra’s color, but it’s the least of her concerns.

Asami appears out of nowhere, looking gorgeous in white herself, like an angel that’s ready to take Korra to heaven.

(If Asami is the one that takes her there, she doesn’t really mind at all.)

“Hey,” Asami laughs, a mere huff and a tired smile. “You made it and you look gorgeous.”

Korra blushes. “Me? Nah. You? Extremely.”

“Always the flatterer, aren’t you?” This time, Asami is really grinning. She takes Korra into a tight embrace that feels more real than Asami pretending that she’s okay, for all these people.

Korra mumbles into Asami’s dress, “Always.” For you.

“Don’t sell yourself short, Korra. You don’t look bad yourself.” Her best friend pulls away. “These are beautiful,” Asami tells her, admiring the wrapped poppies. “Dad would love it.”

“I’m glad he would,” Korra tells her. “I chose it just for him.”

Asami tightens her hold on the bouquet. “You’re too sweet.”

“It’s nothing,” Korra begins to say, but Asami takes her into another embrace.

“It’s beautiful and it means the world to me. Say no more.”

What Korra wants to say: You’re beautiful and you mean the world to me.

What Korra does say: “Okay, um, you’re welcome.”

Asami smiles and Korra looks around, crinkling her nose. “I’m surprised the smell of Old Spice hasn’t overpowered the incense. Old people.”

“That’s why you’re here,” Asami says, with a hint of a smile. “I feel like my youth is sucked by each old person I talk to.”

“Ah,” Korra beams. “I am, how do you say, your fountain of youth,” she says in her best Juan Ponce de Leon accent. It earns her a full-fledged beam, Asami’s teeth a sharp white contrast to the red pigment of her lips.

Asami rolls her eyes. “Whatever you say, conquistador. Come with me? First show these to dad, then I’ll introduce you to the so-called fossils that drain my youth each passing moment.”

Korra takes her hand and they walk towards the crowd. “Nothing I’d like to do more. Take the lead, Sato.”

 

There’s an image of Hiroshi Sato sat in the middle, the urn sitting on the pedestal that was a fountain at the same time. It’s beautiful. Asami must have spent quite some time making sure that it looked beautiful, like her father deserved.

 

Asami keeps her by the arm as they move around, greeting each snooty rich person that enters and tells the same damn story every damn time.

It might not tire Asami out, though it does Korra. She asks to sit for a moment, and Asami allows, worried. Korra assures her it’s nothing. A drink, that’s all she needs.

The Krew drop by with Tenzin and his family, coming to pay their respect. Asami swoops in the meet them and Korra does too, though neither stay so long and they say their farewell to Asami with tight embraces and sincerest apologies.

The night passes by uneventful, and she rejoins Asami to meet guests (though, if she was honest, no one really cares who she is. Korra’s grateful for that). Asami tells her to rest, and with a few protestations from Korra, she sits and waits to feel her feet again. Korra doesn’t know how she does it, doesn’t plan to find out. Asami just keeps surprising her again and again.

“You waited.”

Korra jolts and looks up from the wine she has been staring at for the past few minutes. Surprises, Asami can really do. If she endures a heart attack while she’s young, it’s probably because of Asami.

The weariness and sadness on Asami’s face greet her and Korra replies with a smile and hopes that Asami will smile too. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I? This is alcohol that costs more than my tuition. Duh.”

Asami giggles breathily and it feels like a glass of cold water on a scorching day. It’s something, Korra thinks, it’s something. “Give credit to dad’s assistant,” Asami takes a seat beside her and clutches her beige shawl in the middle. “She loves herself some good alcohol.”

There aren’t many people left in the hall, Korra notices, sans a few service boys clearing up the tables. No more visitors for Asami to entertain, no more visitors for to inquire about the same things over and over and over again. She's relieved on Asami's behalf.

She offers Asami her glass of wine, and Asami takes it without thinking twice, downing it in one swift motion. “Thanks for that, and for coming.”

“I told you,” Korra tells her, for the nth time that evening. “I want to be here. It’s nothing.”

Asami pours herself then downs her second glass. She shakes her head. “It’s not nothing. I told you, it means everything to me that you’re here.”

Korra sighs. The least she can do is to accept Asami’s unfeigned honesty with a whole heart. “Okay. You’re welcome.”

"I want to go home." Asami's voice is tired. Used. Weary. Sad. Asami's voice is all the things that make Korra's chest hurt with things that Asami shouldn’t be.

Korra rises to her feet, ready to leave. "I'll give you a lift to the mansion, if you like."

"No, Korra," Asami shakes her head, small ringlets of black hair bouncing slightly at the movement. "I meant our apartment."

"Oh," is all Korra can muster as a reply.

She wants to say: Our home is that eighty square meter apartment at the university.

She wants to say: I'm in love with you and you think a place with me is a home.

Korra takes Asami by the hand and they leave the Sato grounds and take a cab to the university's apartment, the silence around them heavy, yet not uncomfortable. The hand Korra holds in hers make the heavy silence so much bearable.

The moment Korra shuts the door, Asami crumples to the floor, her back to the door.

In the same way that she had when she had learned Hiroshi was sick.

For a moment, Korra thought Asami tripped on something she might have left on the floor, though the loud, broken sobs that wrecked Asami’s body tells her more than it should.

How Asami managed to hold it together this long, Korra doesn’t know and doesn’t want to find out. All that matters is that Asami is in her arms, crying, sobbing, like a child that she never was. Tears threaten to spill from her eyes too, imagines that Hiroshi’s death has broken Asami in ways that even Asami herself doesn’t understand, then she lets the tears flow freely, like Asami.

Asami’s raising her voice, makeup running down her face and even if she’s red-faced and damp, she’s still so very beautiful in the dim light of the kitchen lamp. She’s still so very beautiful, Korra envies how she manages to look so beautiful and strong even when she’s falling apart.

“I’m not ready—he left so early—I’m not ready and—I haven’t even—Spirits, Korra—” Asami wheezes, “I’m not ready for any of—I wasn’t ready for all o-of this.”

“No one is, was, will be,” Korra says lowly, holding Asami closer. Wine, jasmine, honeydew. She drowns in the scent. “You’ve reached this far, Asami. You’ll get through this, I promise.”

“It hurts,” Asami tells her, “It hurts so damn much.” Korra can’t even begin to say I know because she doesn’t understand. She knows it can hurt, but she doesn’t understand.

“I had to say all those things—all those good things about my dad and I will never get to say it to him myself—fuck, I’m so—I’m so stupid!”

She lets Asami get it out of her system: yelling, nails painted red clutching anything and everything and more tears, before Korra speaks. “That’s mourning, Asami,” she says, “we mourn the things we can never tell those who leave us. We mourn the things we never got to do with them. It’s natural. Before Gram died, the last thing we talked about was a book she never got to read during the war. I never read the book too, because it hurt too much to remember her.”

Asami focuses on catching her breath and wiping away the ruined make up.

The first one to lose is the last one to mourn, Korra thinks with an aching heart. It hurts her in unimaginable ways at how Asami is so very broken. How after all these days that passed, this was truly the only time Asami can be violent: hit walls, scream at the top of her lungs, ask the Spirits, why? Asami did neither of those; only cried and cried and cried. I’m not ready, Asami had said. To take the company. For being alone. For Dad dying, Asami does not say but Korra hears everything.

They’re sitting side by side, their shoulders touching and their hands touching and Korra is aware of every part she and Asami touch.

“The company will be under my uncle’s control until I graduate,” Asami informs her with a shaky sigh. “That was my condition to accept the company. I’m not...I’m not ready.”

“At least you did it on your own terms. You’ve got a few months to finish your thesis and then you’ll take the company when you’re ready. That’s good.” Korra nods, tightens her grip on Asami. “At least they know you will take the reins.”

Asami nods. Then another silence blankets over them, save for the heavy breaths they both took.

“Could you imagine if I hadn’t forgiven him?” Asami says, breaking the quiet. She stares at the Campbell Soup pop art on their wall.

“But you did,” Korra tells her, grips her hand tighter.

Asami’s voice breaks. “He didn’t know that.”

So Korra takes the simple, black wallet from Asami’s purse that lay across them, digs her fingers inside the picture compartment and shows her the piece of tissue she had seen Hiroshi write, she had cried over because Hiroshi loved Asami so much. I love you, forgive me, the tissue paper told them, in blue ink. “I think he did.”

Her best friend clings to her arm and cries until there are no tears left to shed.

The burial is on a Thursday.

(Asami cries when she kisses the vase of her father’s ashes.)

(Korra remembers a part of her favorite Buddy Wakefield poem:

We are not funeral homes

with propane tanks in our windows

lookin’ like cemeteries.

Cemeteries are just the Earth’s way of not letting go.

Let go. 

It will hurt to hang on. But it’s important to hang on, just a little while.) 

+

Asami doesn't step out of her room for the next few days. It's part of the healing process. It's part of pulling yourself back together.

And Korra? Korra doesn't fix the coloring books scattered around their place. Korra doesn't forget to place a tray of noodles on the doorstep of Asami's locked room. Korra doesn't text or knock or tell Asami to step out because she can't do that—she can't rush or disrupt the healing process.

Korra doesn't ignore the half-eaten food on the tray each morning. Asami has to eat and she tries, tries so hard to make sure Asami gets what she needs but she always sees the soup barely touching the line on the cup. Sometimes, the noodle cup remains untouched.

She sighs then, warms it with the microwave and eats it herself then leaves some snacks and water by the door if ever Asami goes hungry while she's gone.

It hurts that she has to see Asami like this, but on the sixth day, she notices that the noodle cup is empty. Korra smiles to herself, to the cup, and she must look really stupid right now, but it’s a small baby step forward. It’s a small baby step and she is so very proud of Asami for this ‘little thing’.

Korra puts away the noodle cup and leaves a note by the new set of coloring books on their coffee table.

 

If you see this, knock yourself out. Enjoy the day. Love you. -Korra

 

She scribbles out the third sentence until there’s a blue blot that covers those two words and seeps through the thin sheet of paper; worries her bottom lip, and leaves for class.

Asami finally steps out of her room, hair disheveled and eyes darker than what Korra is used to seeing, but she accepts it anyway. Korra smiles at her, and when Asami (barely) returns the smile with a slight lift of the corner of her lips, she picks up her phone and orders the largest pizza with extra anchovies and artichoke on Asami’s side of the pizza.

They sit beside each other in silence, a small space between Korra and Asami, and Asami tries, tries, to eat but only ends up eating a slice or two. She apologizes huskily, casting her eyes down, and Korra only smiles and puts it away and embraces Asami in the way that she had wanted to do so while she was in her room. Black hair still drips with shower water and smells of expensive conditioner, and this is what Korra has wanted. She has wanted Asami’s arms around her, has wanted Asami’s jasmine scent, has wanted Asami.

She and the Krew are all that Asami has right now. And she has to remember that putting Asami back together is her main priority.

So Korra kisses Asami’s forehead and they watch Kyoshi and the Warriors in silence, although they don’t really watch, with Asami’s shallow breathing and tight grip on Korra’s hand. 

+

“Hey, gimme your hand.”

Asami’s staring off into space again instead of finishing her food, so Korra calls her attention gently, worried that she might burn two holes into the upholstery. (Also because the push between her ribs get worse every passing moment Asami has that blank, empty stare for the nth time.)

Her friend looks at her slowly, sadly, but then smiles a bit and gives her hand to Korra.

Korra holds up some old lipstick she found in her room and makes a dark red circle in the middle of the back of Asami’s right hand.

“Okay, so what you gotta do is you have to rub the color off your skin and then blow it slightly and say, ‘Korra is really cute’ as the magic words.”

Giving Korra a small smile, Asami does what she’s told, only: “Asami is really cute.

Korra rolls her eyes. “Okay, show me your palm.” The red mark has transferred to the middle of Asami’s palm. “Viola! It passed through your hand!” (Not really. The trick: there is lipstick on the pointer finger of Korra’s other hand as she touches her the middle of Asami’s palm and rubs the red on it carefully.)

She expected Asami to beam and squeal and say ‘Do it again!’. She expected Asami to bug her to show her how she did it. She expected Asami to laugh and finally give up asking Korra when she is perfectly capable of figuring out the trick by herself.

What Asami does: throws her arms around Korra and cries.

What Korra does: wraps her arms around Asami and cries too.

The thing about sleeping now is that they don’t sleep in their individual rooms anymore.

The thing about sleeping now is that it’s never done alone.

(There’s a soft knock on her door.

“Come in,” she says, even though she knows who it is. Korra folds the top right corner of Fahrenheit 451. It’s pretty late for her to be up, bearing in mind that it’s her first day back on training tomorrow, and it’s pretty late for Asami to be up, too. Asami peeks around the door frame and Korra laughs, setting her book on the dark blue sheets of her bed. “‘Sami, you do know you don’t have to knock.”

Asami laughs, though it’s somewhat forced. She looks away. “Just wanted to check on you,” she tells Korra, but it’s obvious she had something else in mind. “Sorry for bothering you, goodnight.”

When she makes to close the door, Korra gets to her feet and follows. Her hand is already at the door to her own room when Korra calls her attention. “‘Sami. Hey.”

Her best friend turns to face Korra, fleeting green eyes looking everywhere but her. "Sorry, I just... Sorry. I just wanted to... It's dumb. Never mind."

Korra's hands find Asami's shoulders, hopefully offering a comforting weight. "Come on, Asami. Don't be like that. Did you need something?”

Asami evidently hesitates, though, “Sorry. I just couldn’t sleep. I thought that maybe the company would make me sleep but I...I’m sorry.”

Liquid pools in her chest, Korra is positive that it’s her heart melting into a puddle. “You haven’t been sleeping?” Her best friend shakes her head. “When was the last time?”

She ponders, tapping her chin. Korra notices the dark bags under her eyes and it tells her, not enough. “Yesterday, during Varrick’s class.”

Korra laughs and punches Asami’s arm lightly. “Woah, we’ve got a rebel over here.”

A wide grin graces Asami’s lips. “Shut up,”

Silence settles over them for a moment until Korra breaks it. “Did you want me to keep you company till you sleep?”

Not for the first time, Asami hesitates, but nods. “I hope you don’t mind.”

Korra smiles. “Of course not. Step into the Casa del Korra. Or whatever.”

They don’t speak much after, with Korra resuming to read her book. Asami is asleep almost immediately, soft snores filling the silence of her room and yeah, Korra can get used to this; her room smells like jasmine and expensive conditioner.

She wakes with a start, eyes straining to see in the dark. The dim moonlight from her window allows Korra to make out the outline of Asami, sitting up and taking in heaving breaths.

“Shit,” Korra curses, her voice cracking. Asami whips her head back and wipes at her eyes, though her distress is still visible. “Asami?”

“Korra,” she says, trying to keep her voice level, like she hasn’t been sobbing moments ago. “Sorry, I—shit, sorry. Nightmares—they, they happen often. I s-sort of forgot,”

Korra throws off the comforter, shifts closer to the unusual—though not unwelcome—warmth on her bed and places her hand on the small of Asami’s back and Asami leans closer to the touch, closer and closer until she and Korra are in a tight embrace, tight enough for Korra to feel hiccups and the trembling breaths Asami lets out. “It’s fine, you’re fine, you’re here,” Korra soothes, hands rubbing up Asami’s arm, damp with sweat. Nightmares aren’t new to her, for her, someone reminding her that she wasn’t in the nightmare, reminding her that she’s living in the now, is what Asami needs. You’re fine, you’re here, she repeats like a prayer.

The rigidity of Asami’s body loosens with every passing phase and they just stay there, their hearts and breathing in sync and everything smells like jasmine and honeydew and the pine tree scent from Korra’s room.

“I don’t know what to do, Korra,” Asami whispers, “I don’t know what to do and so many people are counting on me to do what my dad did and—I just—I can’t do it when I can’t even face everything that happened before. I’m so scared.”

Broken sobs wreck Asami’s body before Korra knows it, and she holds on, so tight—holds this girl together because she wants to, because she needs to because this girl in her arms mattered so much to Korra that she would be nothing if she didn’t hold Asami. It feels right, as right as rain. It feels as if she was supposed to be here, as if all those months ago, it was meant to end this way: with Asami in her arms. Korra isn’t complaining.

“You’ve got to face them, Asami,” Korra tells her, hand making comforting circles on the small of Asami’s back. “You’ve got to face your past even if it’s hard. It’s the best thing to do, Asami. It’s hard but it’s the best thing to do.”

“I don’t—Korra...”

Korra wipes at Asami’s eyes. There is no makeup to be washed by Asami’s tears and truly, Asami is so beautiful. So very beautiful. Korra loves her. “Come to terms with yourself, alright? I don’t know what you have to do to do that, but you have to try and face it just to see if it’s not as scary as it was before.”

It seems like Asami is about to argue but she thinks better of it, sinks into Korra’s embrace with a shaky sigh. “Thank you,” whispers Asami, a secret told to the fabric of Korra’s grey shirt. A secret that she only wants Korra’s ears to hear. “Thank you so much.”

“I’ll protect you,” Korra winds her fingers in Asami’s long hair, “even if you don’t need me to. I still will.”

“And I, you,” Asami replies, her breathing stable with slight hiccups.

It dawns upon Korra that this was the closest they’ve been in a few months.

In the morning, she wakes with the right side of the bed cold but a warm mug of coffee awaits her on the table with a note that says: thank you :)

Hopefully, the time when Korra wakes without the scent of jasmine and honeydew never comes.)

 

The thing about sleeping now is that there was just a silent agreement that Korra spends her night in Asami’s room or Asami spends her night in Korra’s room. They go about their schoolwork with a comfortable silence blanketing over them and their flat, then brush their teeth beside each other then proceed to a room and spend the last few hours of the night in each other’s presence.

Then when Korra wakes, Asami is gone, but there is always, always a mug of hot coffee waiting for her.

It’s Tuesday night, though Korra skips pizza with the team to do some paperwork for her pre-thesis for I.S. class. A rough week it was, with Asami being busy most of the time with her own thesis and catching up with her classes.

She tosses her keys into the bowl, tells herself that the coloring books on the dining table remain there because neither of them had the time to clear them out.

But Korra likes it there.

It’s Tuesday night, and the first semester’s schedule is good for both of them.

“Asami,” Korra calls out, “do you want to get some dinner?”

It’s been a month and a half since Hiroshi died, and two months since Asami was supposed to inherit the company. It’s been two months and honestly, she hasn’t been doing well.

So Korra waits, waits and waits, waits and it hurts that there is nothing she can do to make Asami feel better.

(Though the tiny smiles Asami gives her when she does something funny or stupid or both is more than a triumph. Korra savors it, Korra stores it and keeps it safe.)

“Asami?” she asks again when she gets no response. It’s Tuesday. She was supposed to be here.

Korra peers into Asami’s bedroom.

Her heart picks up its pace as she checks the bathroom and her own room, and it’s dumb to worry about Asami because it isn’t unusual for her to be gone to do her engineering stuff or to get drinks with the boys from the workshop.

But Asami would have told her.

With quivering hands, she takes out her phone. No message. And when she was about to dial Asami’s number, an orange paper that sat by the coffee table stops her.

She picks it up and reads and recognizes the loopy handwriting she can recognize a mile away, on yellow post-its stuck to a mug or a to-go cup of her favorite beverage.

 

Dear Korra,

I’ve been thinking a lot about what you’ve said about my dreams getting better when facing what I was afraid of instead of running away from them. As usual, you’re right. You are most absolutely right. And I thank you for that. I’m safe in Dad’s place in the meantime to face the things I fear the most. It’s going to be rough doing it alone, but I’ll manage. :)

I’ll miss you guys while I’m away. I’ll miss you a lot, Korra, but I’ll be back soon. Don’t worry about me.

All the love,

Asami

 

Korra smiles at the piece of paper at her hand. This is what Asami needs. This is what Asami needs to get better.

She places the note on her desk with uttermost reverence and continues her activities for the night as she tries to ignore the ache in her chest similar to the void that Asami’s absence has left. That a year and a half she didn’t even know who Asami was even though they were living together.

It’s an empty ache, but she knows it’s for the better.

+

“I haven’t seen Asami around, is she alright?” Bolin asks, on the way to basketball practice. “Mako hasn’t either.”

“About that…” Korra hesitates, playing with the straps of her gym bag. “Since it’s the break, she decided to stay over at her dad’s mansion.”

His brows shoot up into his hairline. “What? Doesn’t she hate it there?”

“She does, but…” she says, fiddling with the navy blue strap once more, “She needs it. Recovery thing.”

“Oh,” he says, “I hope she’s doing okay, though. Being there will stress her out, I’m sure.”

“I know.” Korra’s shoulders slump on their own accord. Bolin throws an arm around Korra.

“Hey, Asami will make it through. Trust in her.”

Korra crosses her arms. “I do, okay? I’m just…"

“Worried about her?” He offers, and sometimes Korra wants to slap him for knowing her so well. She nods, but only slightly. “We all are, but most especially you. It’s okay,” he continues. “She’ll be fine. She’s Asami Sato.”

Korra grins, even if her heart squeezes painfully at that. She’s Asami Sato. Kind, brave, tough Asami Sato who will never give without a fight.

They walk in silence for a few moments until Bolin breaks it. “Do you still like her?”

She punches Bolin’s arm and makes him yelp. “What in the name of fuck was that for?” He yells, clutching his arm.

“Sorry, shit, sorry,” Korra apologizes and rubs the spot where she hit him. Questions like that aren’t dropped all of a sudden. “I’m sorry, I just… stop asking questions like that after an emotional moment, will you?”

Fine,” he wheezes out, “Damn, I forgot how well you pack punches. Jeez. So, are you going to not answer my question after hitting me hard enough to bruise?”

“I...honestly don’t know,” she lies and curses herself. How on earth is she going to convince Bolin if she can’t even convince herself otherwise? It doesn’t help that he points out the fact that she’s lying through grit teeth with a laugh. “Okay, so maybe I do.”

“There we go,” he grins that stupid grin and the urge to punch him is strong. “Okay. At least we have that. We both know you aren’t ever going to make a move on her.”

“Come on, Bo,” Korra groans, pinches the bridge of her nose. “You’re better than that.”

“What’s the matter?”

“She has so much on her plate right now. The last thing she needs is me being in love with—”

Fuck.

Too fuckin’ late, great, Korra.

Bolin’s heard it already, and he’s grinning from ear to ear. “I swear to Raava, Bolin, if you say something about this I’m going to—”

“You’re in love with Asami,” he sing-songs, the nerd that he is, Korra is red, her face hot and she hits him again without apologies, this time a bit harder than the last one. “Ow, okay, I deserved that,” he wheezes, grins through his wince.

“Maybe I am,” Korra whispers the next sentence, “...in love with her. You’ve got a problem with that?”

Bolin holds his hand up. “No, not at all,” he clears his throat. “I’m just happy for you. You guys are good for each other. And I’m glad she has you during this time. She has all of us but... you’re the one she really needs.” His hand claps her back comfortingly, and it reminds her of their childhood when Bolin was one of the boys who wasn’t nervous around her because she was a girl and because she had the ability to whoop their asses. Korra’s thankful for this asshole as much as she is of Mako and of Opal and of Asami.

She pokes the bruising spot on his arm for good measure. “Yeah yeah, whatever.” Korra pretends to not see hear anything of what he said and ignores her feelings for Asami like an alarm clock on a cold Monday morning. 

Six days. The ramen noodles stare at her, stare and stare and stare and she’s tempted to text Asami to come home, but Korra doesn’t. She knows better than to rip off the band-aid before the wound has even healed. 

+

The kids are well-behaved today, and they’re watching Disney’s Atlantis, though, like always, it’s just her, Rohan and Jinora that watch.

Rohan tugs at Korra’s sweatpants in the middle of the movie. “When will Asami come back?”

Korra looks down and feels the strings of her heart tug painfully. It’s been two weeks since Asami came home. “I don’t know,” she tells him and it’s the truth. Rohan deflates then returns his attention to the movie.

“How is she?” asks Jinora. Korra is well aware that the eldest of the four have taken a liking to Asami like her siblings. “I haven’t seen her since the funeral.”

“She’s been...fine.”

Fixing her with a don’t mess with me look that eerily resembles Pema and Tenzin combined, Korra breaks under Jinora’s narrowed eyes. “Okay, she hasn’t been doing well.”

“Is that why she went away for a while?”

Korra nods. “She needed some time alone. And I’d be more than willing to give that to her.”

“Have you told her?” Jinora prods further. Korra nearly spits her drink.

She shakes her head. “I wouldn’t want to make my...feelings another burden for her to carry. She’s going through so much. I wouldn’t want to give her more baggage to deal with if she doesn’t, you know,” there is an insistent push between her ribs, “...feel the same.”

She’s pouting before she even knows, and Jinora fixates her an exasperated look, though she doesn’t say anything other than that. “Do you plan to, someday? After all this?”

Korra shrugs. She honestly didn’t know. It was too much of a risk to take and even if Asami, the saint that she is, didn’t feel the same and act awkwardly around Korra, it would still hurt like a bitch.

She’s thought about this, thought this through and tried to find an escape route from her feelings, but alas, there were none.

There was no escape route to stop being in love with your best friend. There was no escape because either way, she will still be your everything. “It’s easier said than done, Jinora,” Korra tells her and

“All I’m saying is that life is too short for her not to know.”

Ikki grumbles half-asleep, evidently peeved. “Stop bein’ such a scaredy-cat, Korra. Tell her already. And will you shush now, please? I’m try’na sleep o’er here.”

The eldest child raises a very triumphant eyebrow at Korra with a subliminal I told you so message.

Korra exhales and tries to remember when she had allowed a bunch of kids to have the ability to help her sort out her feelings.

“Has she called you or anything?” Opal asks before eating a french fry. Girls’ night just isn’t the same without Asami, Korra knows that Opal thinks so too.

She shakes her head. Three and a half weeks. Three and a half weeks that dragged by without her one-half. Three and a half days that dragged by with coloring books that need the be colored, ramen noodles that begged to be consumed and the jasmine scent that lingered in both of their rooms.

“I miss her already,” Opal says, eyes downcast. Her heart squeezes in her chest, telling her how much she misses Asami too.

“But she needs this,” Korra offers with a smile because it’s true. Asami needs this more than anything.

“Yeah, she does,” her friend agrees. “The least we can do is to wait for her to get back to herself. Asami—she’s tough as nails.”

Korra has to laugh. That has to be the best thing she’s heard in ages. “That she is, Opal. That she is.” 

The call connects, the screen black for a moment then it shifts to her parents waving enthusiastically at Korra with a simultaneous 'hey, sweetie!'  and 'can you hear us?'

“Hey, guys,” Korra laughs, adjusting the earbud that was falling off her ear. “I miss you. How are things there?”

“Everything’s fine, sweetie,” Senna tells her. “Everything’s great here. Your hockey kids miss you tons. Katara too.”

Her dad pipes in. “To quote them, they said they miss making you fall on your bum during practice.”

Korra wags a warning finger at them, imitating her mother. “I may be a water person here but I will still kick their sorry little butts when I come home. How’s Katara?”

“She’s doing well! A lot of people have been coming to her for acupuncture and therapy.” Her mom says. “She asks about you a lot more than she does Kya. Can you believe that?”

“I don’t think Katara would miss me more than she misses her own daughter,” Korra laughs. “Kya’s been great, lately. Still no boyfriend slash girlfriend to bring home for the holidays five months from now.”

“Speaking of special friends, how is Asami?” Tonraq inquires. “We haven’t seen her around your apartment lately.”

Korra doesn’t point out about the special friends part, but she answers their question nonetheless. She knows that her parents like Asami—has been the first girl they liked that she liked even though they missed out an important thing: they aren’t dating and she never wants to date her best friend. (A push between her ribs tells her she’s lying to herself, but she has time to deny that later.) “Still recovering from her dad.”

“Oh, honey,” Senna coos. Asami has grown particularly on her mother, sharing recipes and of course, Asami taking care of Korra when she’s down with the flu and asthma will always make Senna like her. “I hope she’s okay. Extend our condolences to her again, will you?”

“Of course,” Korra nods. “She’d appreciate it. I was thinking that she come with me when I go home?”

“Why not!” Her father bellows. “Asami is welcome to stay here for as long as she wants.” Her mother nods in agreement.

“Thanks, guys. I’ll tell her when she comes back. Now, the hockey kids better not embarrass me when I see them.”

“I’m not promising anything.

Korra knows precisely how she ended up eating noodles on her own, watching Kyoshi and the Warriors on a late Friday night and decides that she doesn’t like it—doesn’t like the feeling of this place being too big for her. Like this apartment, the place she has called home. Home isn’t supposed to feel like there’s a void missing.

Four weeks. Asami missed a week’s worth of classes. Classmates from different subjects ask where she is and Korra only replies, on a business trip when Asami isn’t even the CEO of the company yet to do so.

And really, she just misses Asami so much.

Then it happens, almost too quickly for her liking.

A familiar jingle of keys. The hushed opening of the closing of the door. Her heart beats thrice as fast and when she turns, she’s there.

“Hey,” Asami says, back to the door and her backpack dropping on the floor. She smiles; it’s tired but wow, it warms her eyes in a way that it hasn’t in a long time.

They’ve been in the same situation before. One year and six months ago. They’ve been in the same place before, as strangers—as roommates who, in the two months of living under the same roof, never were able to see each other.

Now they’re Korra and Asami and everything in between: noodles, tea, T.V., Thursdays and late nights and sunrises and sunsets with many other things that filled the space between them and placed a ‘+’ in between to make Asami + Korra, whatever the plus in the middle meant.

Korra finds herself grinning from ear to ear it hurt. “Hey yourself,” she manages to say before she rises to her feet to take Asami into her arms for an embrace to calm her worried soul, tight enough to knock the breaths out of both of them.

Asami returns the embrace, buries her face in Korra’s short hair and chuckles heartily—Korra can feel it tickling her ear and tugging at her heartstrings. It’s her favorite sound in the world and it’s marvelous to hear the smoky laugh once more and, finally, with feeling. “You missed me; I knew you would,” She holds Korra by the shoulders, beaming, cheeks dimpling.

There are still bags under Asami’s eyes that she didn’t bother to hide, though it’s relatively better than the dark shade they were before. The color returned to Asami’s cheeks, the light back in the lightest shade of green eyes Korra’s had the pleasure of seeing.

“You were gone for a month, of course I did.” Korra tells her, sitting on the ledge of the couch, Asami leaning a bit forward so their knees touch.

The girl in front of her glances away, eyes everywhere but Korra. “I’m sorry it took so long. I would have kept in touch but…”

“You needed time for yourself,” Korra answers for her. “Don’t apologize for that, okay?”

Asami smiles, slowly and surely—it’s like watching the sunrise. “Yeah, okay.”

They remain quiet for a few moments, reveling in the presence of the other. It seems like Asami is gathering her courage to talk about the month in her father’s mansion. Korra waits.

“Your classmates were worried. A lot of them talked to me about you and started asking how it was to be roommates with a billionaire,” she starts, to springboard the conversation.

Asami chuckled. “Really? What’d they say?”

Inspecting her nails coolly, Korra shrugs. “Said you threw money everywhere inside the room. All the time. And that it really got on my nerves..” But the simultaneous smiles that break out from both their faces betray any hard feelings.

“Come on, I’d pay for your tuition but you’re the Water Tribe princess, so,” Asami says firmly, taking the cup of noodles from the table and slurps up the noodles with Korra’s fork. “You don’t really care about my money, do you?”

There’s an unsure edge to Asami’s voice, hidden in a jibe.

Korra’s brows furrow. “Of course not. What would make you think that?” It disgusts her that people who only care about Asami and her money are graced with the privilege to walk this earth.

The worry vanishes from Asami’s face, apology replaces it. “Sorry. I’m—I just had to ask, eventually. You were my friend first before you even knew who I was.”

Korra beams at her. “Ramen noodles and matcha tea and whiteboards, come on. The Krew and I don’t care if you’re just you or a billionaire. We love you all the same.”

Asami walks forward and takes Korra in her arms and it’s jasmine and expensive soap all over again. “Thank you.”

She wraps her hands around her. “No problem.” They stand in that embrace, longer than necessary. It’s too much. Korra takes a detour, an easy way out. “Iroh asked where you were, if that makes you feel better.”

Asami crinkles her nose in disgust.

“What,” Korra raises a brow. “So you don’t like him now? Like, like-like.

“No, not at all,” her best friend replies. “There’s… no one. I don’t like anyone now.”

The push between her ribs makes itself known with the admission. But she tucks the ache away in the deepest, most ignored part of her heart. “Oh. That’s nice. Relationships are overrated anyway.”

Asami laughs. Korra tries to not notice her brows knitting before it smooths out, disappears as quickly as it showed. “Yeah, they are.” She leans her head on Korra’s shoulder. “But you know what isn’t overrated? Kyoshi and the Warriors and pizza.”

It’s Korra’s turn to giggle; she nods. “I’ll call the pizzeria now. I missed you, Asami.”

Asami snuggles closer, clutches her blanket. “I’m here now.” A pause. “And I missed you too.” She says the latter sentence, softly and reverently, like a secret she only wants Korra to know.

And really, it’s a secret she wants to hear over and over again until it etches in her hands and her chest.

Korra tightens her arm around Asami and watches Kyoshi rip out a guitar solo with her golden guitar.

Asami is improving over the course of days. It’s noticeable and Korra likes the way Asami catches up on her schoolwork right beside Korra when she’s working on projects too. All-nighters and empty Red Bull cans kind of nights are always fun with Asami.

She still doesn’t join the Krew on Saturdays, for reasons that she doesn’t need to tell Korra. Mako and Bolin and Opal come to visit her, though, with boxes of pizza and beer. It’s still great.

Asami is back. Asami brightens the space of the apartment where Korra feels, knows, her presence isn’t enough. Like this apartment was made for two. Like this apartment was made for Korra and Asami.

Asami smiles now, not the hollow one she used to give people when they try to offer her their sympathies. Asami smiles now, not the strained one she gives Korra when Korra tells her dumb jokes.

Asami squeezes Korra’s hand back. Asami bounces in Korra’s bed to get her to watch cartoons with her on mornings with no class with loud, “get up your lazy ass and watch Kyoshi with me!

Korra remembers how strong this girl is and how much Asami gives her reasons to love her more each day.

It’s not a fight harder kind of day, no, not anymore.

And just like that, Asami stopped surviving and started living, just like Korra did years ago. It gives Korra another reason to be proud of the CEO of Future Industries. 

“You should really be more careful,” mumbles Asami as she dabs cotton with betadine (Korra will rather throw herself off a cliff than use alcohol) under Korra’s chin.

“Yeah well,” Korra winces when it stings a bit. “Careful isn’t exactly my middle name.”

“It doesn’t seem like it needs stitches,” Asami laughs. “I would have called Suyin to do your stitches.”

“Oh, spirits, please don’t mention her. I have a test for her and if I fail it, it’s going to be a real bitch to avoid her during family reunions no matter how polite she is.”

Their faces are close enough for Korra to count the lashes on Asami’s eyelids. Everything smells like jasmine and honeydew and her heart is beating a hundred miles per hour.

Asami looks at her in the way that she never understood and she does so intently, her green eyes boring into her skin and living there. She doesn’t mind that Asami has gotten into her skin, to be frank, she doesn’t mind that her days are filled with ramen and board games and music. She doesn’t mind, nope, not at all.

Heat creeps up her neck, slowly and surely, like how lava falls from a volcano, her mind telling, chanting, praying for Korra to do something that she will truly regret later.

Korra pulls away after Asami fastens the Mickey Mouse print band-aid under her chin and ignores the way Asami’s breathing is as shallow as her own and how the air is so thick she can slice through it with her hand. “Thanks,” she lets out, rubs under her chin.

“Anytime,” Asami replies, busying herself with placing the items back into the first aid kit. “Be careful, okay?”

“Yeah, I will.” She says, matching Asami’s tone, then Korra grins at her (her chin hurts, ow), “Engineer, math genius, singer, chef and now a nurse? Is there anything you don’t know how to do?”

Asami chuckles, tossing the crumpled bandage wrapper in her direction. “You’re overselling me.”

“Me? Oversell Asami Sato? Never.

Her best friend only rolls her eyes at Korra’s melodramatic tone and plops back on the couch with her lemon tea. “Whatever, Korra,” she laughs, “now zip it, Kyoshi’s starting.”

“Ah, one of my favorite parts of the week,” Korra follows suit on the couch and grabs the bowl of sweet and spicy seaweed crisps that Asami loathes. She prefers the extremely spicy one, the one Satan probably made.

They were a perfect puzzle that was wrongly matched for a few months, but now, sitting with their legs entwined, watching their favorite shows and eating seaweed crisps in the comfort of the home that is the apartment, the puzzle pieces they are now fit together perfectly, despite the nagging voice in her head telling her that she loved Asami more than she should.

Korra doesn’t watch Kyoshi and the Warriors. Instead, she absentmindedly eats the crisps and imagines if Asami’s lips do taste like honeydew.

“Are you serious? You were that close to kissing her? And you didn’t?” Bolin exclaims with a mouthful of half-masticated beef.

“Honey, what did we talk about?” Opal chastises her boyfriend.

He swallows before speaking, looking bashful. “Chew like your mouth has a secret. Sorry.”

Opal kisses his cheek then turns to Korra. “Why didn’t you?”

Korra leans into her hand and stirs the bowl of clam chowder distantly. “It’s scary,” she explains, realizes her words are an understatement of how she really felt. Kissing your best friend isn’t on the list of ‘Wise Decisions To Make.’ “Come on, it’s a big risk to take and I’m just fine as we are now.”

Opal nods, understanding. “Just don’t get yourself hurt, alright?”

She doesn’t promise anything because she can’t. Opal amongst all people know Korra and her tendencies when it came to anything with love. 

Thursday nights aren’t as happy as they were before.

When your father was buried on a Thursday only a month ago, it’s difficult to like that day of the week.

But Korra and Asami try, no matter how hard it was to keep it up even during hell week, between papers and papers of homework and essays and projects.

Board games, Lucky Charms on cold mornings, Kyoshi and the Warriors.

They try, really, but sometimes Asami misses her dad more on days where she would visit him when he was still alive. She misses him so much, and it pains Korra to see her so sad and so heartbroken, so she does this:

“Wanna go out? I’ll hail a cab so we don’t have to wait in the cold.”

Asami looks up from her notes, the corner of her lips tipped down. “I don’t feel like going out today, Korra. Sorry,” she apologizes, but she releases her hold on the pen after hours of writing.

“Come on,” Korra pulls her up. “Pretty please,” she pouts. “For me?”

Her best friend regards her for a moment then proceeds to stand up. “Okay, fine,” grumbles Asami, slightly disgruntled. Graphite marks are on the underside of her palm, Korra notices when she rubs at her eyes and walks to her room to change.

“Yes,” Korra pulls her fist down in a fist pump. “I knew you couldn’t resist me.”

Asami calls out from the room: “Don’t push your luck, Korra.” There’s a smile to her voice, and yeah, it’s enough to make Korra smile too.

“Where are we going?”

“It’s a secret.”

Asami harrumphs. Korra giggles. “Don’t be such a grinch. Come on, you used to love surprises.”

Asami fiddles with her red sweater. “Just not today.”

It’s Thursday.

“Yeah,” Korra agrees, a hand over Asami’s. “But I promise to make this worthwhile, alright?”

The cab stops across the local flower shop. “A flower shop?” Asami raises a brow. “What are we—”

“Just you wait,” Korra grins, rolls down the window to order a dozen of chrysanthemums to be bundled up. It’s fit through the window with some struggle by the owner of the shop and Korra, but they manage.

Asami smiles when she smells the sweet scent of the flower. “These are for?”

Korra rolls her eyes. “You ask too many questions. Patience, grasshopper.”

“Okay, fine. Surprise me.”

“‘Atta girl. Here,” she takes three flowers and hands it over to Asami, their fingers brushing when she accepts it. “Because you deserve it after everything that’s been going on. A queen always needs pretty flowers.”

“Just a few months ago I was a princess, now I’m a queen. What gives?”

“Well, you are technically a CEO if you give the word. That’s like, a queen, right?”

Asami laughs, toying with the flowers. “Thank you, they’re very beautiful.”

They sit in silence for the rest of the trip to somewhere, Asami’s eyes glued to the three pink flowers she held in her hand.

“We’re here,” Korra nudges Asami awake, her head lolling on Korra’s shoulder halfway through.

Asami blinks the slumber from her eyes, looking around. “This is the cemetery.”

She beams at her. “Exactly.”

The meaning dawns upon Asami, her face crumpling into tears and she tosses her arms around Korra in a tight embrace. “Thank you,” Asami’s sobs muffled by Korra’s jacket. “Thank you so much.”

“You missed your parents, and for Happy Thursday, I thought that, well, we could visit them. It would make all of us happy.”

The sunset casts a hopeful glow upon the headstones and grass, and they walk hand in hand up the hill where Hiroshi was buried with Yasuko. Butterflies flew about. It was beautiful and if the afterlife looked like this, Korra doesn’t fear it.

Asami rings the gong and Korra does the honor to light up the incense. They put their hands together and bow lowly and courteously, paying their respects to Asami’s late father and mother, her mother’s lone picture now replaced with both her parents looking extremely happy together.

“Hey, mom and dad. It’s been a while, I’m sorry,” Asami apologizes to her parents. “It’s just been… difficult. But I’m sure that both of you have been on my mind a lot. Korra here,” she turns to Korra and squeezes her hand reassuringly, “snapped me out of it and took me here with you. She even got both of you these beautiful flowers. I’m doing well. Senior year has been great, and I found a great set of friends with Korra here. I miss both of you terribly.”

Asami turns to leave to bring Korra with her, though Korra plants her feet firmly on the ground and speaks: “Mr. and Mrs. Sato, I know that wherever you are, the both are you are very proud of your daughter. She’s a great person, and you have raised her well. Thank you very much, sir and madam, for blessing us all with her.” Korra puts her hands together and bows. “Thank you.”

Korra turns to Asami and she’s there, looking at her with that look. Green eyes regard her with so much intent that a few more moments of Asami watching her like that will result in Korra combusting. “I feel like dancing today.”

“Don’t you owe Bataar Jr. some plans and prints?”

Asami takes her by the hand, rolling her eyes. “Scratch that. I need to dance and Thai food right now. My treat?”

Korra smiles and follows. She isn’t a person to deny Asami Sato anything.

Asami starts going out. Asami joins Saturdays with the Krew. Asami catches on to her lessons perfectly. Asami manages to finish half her thesis. No one really seems to bother Asami about her true identity as a Sato, and for that Korra is grateful.

Asami starts going out again. Korra is so very proud. 

“Hey, check this out.”

Asami looks up from her sketches, glasses slightly askew. She raises her eyebrows and gives Korra her full attention.

Their shoulders knock into each other when Korra takes a seat, brimming with excitement.

“Ow,” Asami snickers and puts down her pencil. “What’s up?” she asks, pushing her glasses up her head and bringing her sippy cup to her lips.

Korra holds up both her hands at Asami’s face. “Touch my hands.”

Okay,” Asami raises an eyebrow, laughingly, but obeys.

Korra loves Asami’s hands.

Graphite smudges a stark contrast on her light skin. Tiny droplets from the sweat of her cold strawberry smoothie. Rough, used, but possessed the gentlest of touches.

Korra loves Asami.

And her hands.

“Now,” she deepens her voice, half hoping that it masks the way it dries when she sees Asami looking at her intently with that unreadable face. (Maybe it’s just her. Maybe it’s her blind spot. Maybe it’s her Achilles’ heel. Maybe it’s the only expression of Asami that she will never have the ability to read.) “You must say the magic words.” Korra continues and hates herself for sounding so very distracted by her best friend, her ½, the person who makes sure she doesn’t buy too many things for the apartment.

(Those damned glasses. That damned ponytail. Damned U2’s Stuck In The Moment You Can’t Get Out Of as Asami’s sketch music.)

Their faces are close, and this is a situation that she and Asami have been in a few times before. Korra is always too scared. Korra is always too horrified of the consequences of kissing her one half, her best friend.

The moment stretches, long enough for the blood to rush to Korra’s ear to pulse painfully at every passing second they watch each other intently.

Korra wants to do it. Korra wants to lean in and finally find out if Asami’s lips taste like honeydew and drown in the scent of jasmine and just stop wondering and start finding out. She wants to do it so much, that Korra pulls away like always. She wants it so much.

Their faces are close, and this is a situation that she and Asami have been in a few times. But Korra was always too scared. Korra was always too horrified of the consequences of kissing her one half, her best friend, her roommate before anything else that came.

The moment stretches, long enough for Korra's heart to thud painfully in her chest at the speed of sound. She wants to do it, she wants to lean in and finally taste honeydew on Asami's lips and drown in the scent of jasmine and just stop wondering and start finding out.

The tension in the air sits heavily in her tongue and nope, Asami is totally not looking at her lips. This is too much, this is too much for her, for Asami, for anyone.

Korra pulls away, and just like that, the air that had been taught, pulled like a string, is released. It evaporates when she puts a good distance between her and Asami's face. She needs to worm this way out as she did like all those other times before.

"I've got a thing with, uh," Korra lies, "with Zhu—"

"Are you—what—" Asami stammers, eyeing Korra incredulously, before sighing deeply and murmuring; "Whatever." She takes Korra by the thin material of her Nirvana shirt and yanks her down and presses her lips to hers in a kiss that is too awkward to be a real kiss. Korra yelps, eyes wide.

Asami tastes like popcorn, soda, honeydew, and Asami.

And Korra hates herself that the kiss is over before it has begun, that she hasn't had the chance to commit that taste to her memory.

Asami pulls away, lips still parted from the kiss, eyes half-closed and she looks so very beautiful that all Korra wants for every Christmas for the rest of her life is to pull Asami close to her again, to feel that she wasn't dreaming that Asami Sato actually kissed her.

None of them make a sound within the minutes that follow. Korra's mouth threatens to let out seal noises, and Asami—Asami is red enough to match her tank top.

It's all painfully awkward, very painfully awkward, that Korra excuses herself and rises to her feet. Wobbly knees and jelly joints are what she discovers she has after kissing, and she blames Asami for turning her into this—to a spineless nerd, who is hopelessly, most embarrassingly so, in love with her best friend.

"I've—I've got to go," Korra stammers, stands and leaves the room without turning back. It's stupid, she knows, but Asami kissed her and she doesn't know what comes after that. She doesn't know if what had just happened will turn for the good or for the bad.

"Korra—" Asami starts, but she’s cut off by the sound of the door clicking into place.

Her lungs burn as well as her muscles, with equal amounts of exhaustion and overuse. Seventh lap? Eighth lap? Korra honestly doesn’t know anymore.

The water is heavier today—it weighs down her shoulders more than her anger does.

Kya hates it when Korra swims like this. Kya hates it when Korra swims when her head is hot enough to dry up the entire pool. Kya hates it, but she can’t do anything about it because water calms her. The steadfast, insistent beating of her heart from the effort of swimming. Sometimes she hates herself too, because swimming is the unity of the swimmer and the water, not the other way around.

Korra tears through the water, pulling both her arms to her chest and kicks to push herself forward. The wall is close—tumbles and kicks when she’s near enough, folds her arms behind her ears in a tight streamline for the last lap—her lungs can only bear so much—then grabs the ledge of the other side of the pool and hauls herself up, head popping out of the water roughly with her lungs screaming for air.

She takes a moment to catch her breath, bent over the water, breathing heavily. Her shoulders shake with each inhale.

“You’re so stupid,” Korra curses herself hotly, the hall echoing with the collision of her fist and the wall. “You’re so stupid, Korra.”

She’s running away from Asami. She’s running away from Asami even if she doesn’t want to. She’s running away from Asami when it’s the last thing she wants to do, the last thing Asami needs.

It’s been two days since she last saw Asami; Korra has to hand it to Suyin and Zhu Li for keeping them from meeting since the coin trick and the part where Asami kisses Korra like it’s the only thing she wants.

And honestly? It’s a little too late to have a gay panic now. (Though sometimes, Korra thinks, it’s never too late to have a gay panic.)

She readies herself for another mettlesome lap of angry swimming when half of the heavy double doors of the swimming hall swings open.

The sound of flip flops tell her that it’s a teammate, so she floats back to the starting point of the pool to haul herself out of the water to head to the shower and get some rest, hoping, praying, Asami isn’t in the apartment. She doesn’t want any of her team babies to see their captain like this.

“Don’t stay too long,” she says behind gritted teeth, exhaustion and pain settling heavily on her bones. Korra sits on the ledge, toweling the water from her hair.

“Sure will, cap.”

That silky voice halts the motions of Korra’s hands.

“Asami, hey,” Korra stammers, incoherent words stumbling out of her mouth in the same manner of her heart that threatens to beat out of her heart if she isn’t careful. “What brings you here?”

“I was just passing by and somehow, I knew you’d be here.” She stops by the ledge. Korra notices Asami’s watermelon-designed pedicure and grins. The CEO of Future Industries still wears watermelon nails. It’s endearing. Korra loves that. “Mind if I sit?”

“No, not at all. Sit,” Korra wiggles to the side. Asami sports a dark shirt and dri-fit shorts. Korra assumes that Asami had just finished her workout routine as well. Korra opens her mouth to ask what was on Asami’s mind, then closes it when she realizes that it’s horrifying to find out.

So they sit there instead: Asami’s toes brushing the surface of the water and for once, an uncomfortable silence blankets over them—heavy with words unsaid. It makes Korra fidget in her sitting position by the pool.

Asami breaks the silence, her toe brushing the water with lightness. “I owe you an apology before anything else.” When Korra opens her mouth to protest, to offer that she doesn’t in a shaky voice, Asami holds her hand up to keep her from doing so. “Let me explain, please?”

Korra nods. It’s all that she can do. She can’t even look at Asami.

“I owe you an apology because I shouldn’t have done that, okay? I shouldn’t have done that, especially because it’s a risk that we’re obviously not willing to take. You… you mean the world to me, Korra. You’re so very, very important to me—”

It’s awkward. Like, really, really awkward. Quadrillion times more awkward and it makes Korra mad and sad, but also happy that Asami started the conversation for things that need to be talked about. However, the outcome of this weighs heavily on both their shoulders.

“So there. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done it.”

There’s nothing Korra can say (the pink of Asami’s lips are really attractive) except: “Okay.”

She’s meant to say: you don’t have to apologize for anything.

She’s meant to say: I like you. A lot.

Then Asami breaks—starts rambling like a child explaining to her mom how she did not break her favorite vase.

“I’m sorry, Korra, I’m so—jeez, look at me. I want this more than anything,” she gestures between them. “I’m sorry for forgetting that what we have now is enough because, spirits, Korra, you’re the only thing I’ve been holding on to for the past year and more. And—you’re everything I want, Korra. I hate myself for that. That you’re the only thing I want and—I’m rambling to make a point, but I just—you’re just—”

Korra jumps into the pool and pulls Asami with her to stop her from rambling. Asami squeals, grabs onto Korra, the cold water of the pool turning the both of them into spluttering messes that scramble for air.

She laughs that Asami is anything but poised. The glares Asami throws her way would be enough to make someone kneel with apologizes, yet Korra pushes her luck and pushes a wave of water that crashes on Asami’s face.

“Korra, you—” Asami starts, but Korra pulls her close, wraps her hand around Asami’s waist and presses their lips together like how she had wanted to for the past day.

Asami tastes like chlorine, honeydew and strawberry milkshake and just Asami. Korra pulls her tighter against her body. She wants the taste bottle and brewed and reproduced for her own use because she loves it so, so much. Asami’s breath catches in her throat, and she gives Korra a sweet, sweet kiss with just as sweet a sound that Korra’s mouth catches perfectly.

The need for air pulls them away. “I hope that’s enough to tell you that—”

Her best friend, her roommate nods thrice before pulling their heads together for another kiss that continues and continues, longer and more desperate than before. This was what both of them have wanted and, Spirits, it’s wonderful.

And when Asami’s tongue brushes past her lips, the bridge is gone. That bridge crumbles down but the thing was, there were no more spaces between those two islands. It’s closer now. It’s right beside each other, fitting like puzzle pieces from different puzzles that slotted together perfectly. 

Korra has never been good at this dating thing, but:

 

1.)  She gets to kiss Asami Sato whenever she wants.

2.)  She gets to hold Asami without fearing it’s crossing boundaries.

3.)  Did she mention that she gets to kiss Asami whenever she wants? If she hasn’t, well, she gets to kiss Asami Sato whenever she wants.

 

It’s nice.

The ‘g’ word hasn’t even been dropped yet but—it’s nice.

Korra is privileged to wipe the lipstick off Asami’s lips with her own, and now she doesn’t wonder what Asami tastes like because, well, she knows the flavor like the back of her hand.

(Each time Asami kisses her, it warms her to the toes. Seems like it has the same effect on Asami too, her heart flutters in her chest to think that Asami is here, Asami wants me, Asami feels just as much as I do.)

She grins and presses her lips to Asami because, well, she can.

+

Korra had intended for them to speak as a group, but then when have things ever gone her way?

Movie night took the turn for the worse when Asami reached out to kiss Korra in the middle of Interstellar where, despite the dark room, everyone can see.

Opal pauses the movie. Bolin drops the popcorn. Mako stops with his hand halfway to his mouth.

They stare at each other, then at their friends, then at each other.

“We can explain—” Korra starts but Bolin is already on them, pulling them into a crushing hug.

“Aww, guys! I’m so happy for you!” Opal joins in the embrace, and Mako gives both of them claps on the back. A Cop Reputation, he must keep up.

“We were going to tell you soon,” Asami says, fiddling with the end of her shirt. “I got a bit carried away and sort of...forgot.”

Korra nods. “Sorry ‘bout that.”

“It’s fine,” Opal tells them. “Just take care of each other, okay?”

Bolin, oh Bolin, opens his mouth to probably ask something extremely embarrassing, but thankfully, Opal handles it and puts back the film.

Now they cuddle without the fear of being caught because they have been caught. Asami kisses Korra fully this time; softly, chastely, in the dim light of the TV screen. 

“I’m so happy for you!” Jinora throws her arms around Korra in a congratulatory hug. “I told you that Asami felt the same. You wouldn’t believe me.”

Korra laughs. “Yeah, well, it’s a bit hard on my part, but thank you.”

Ikki colored eagerly at one of the coloring books Asami gave her. Rohan and Meelo busy themselves with Rohan’s playdoh set, care of Asami also.

“So are you her girlfriend now?” The second child asks, halting her coloring to wait for an answer for Korra expectantly.

Well, shit.

Korra ducks her head to blush. “No. Not yet, anyway.”

Ikki rolls her eyes. “You’re lame.”

“Ikki,” Jinora chastises her younger sister. “It’s not that easy.”

She matches her sister’s tone. “It’s not that complicated too.”

Like always, Tenzin’s kids have a point.

“You know what, you’re right, Ikki.” Korra tells her. “Maybe I’ll ask her to be my girlfriend.”

The younger sister grins with triumph at her older sister then resumes her coloring.

Rolling her eyes, Jinora turns to Korra. “You know, you don’t have to rush into the relationship if neither of you is ready.”

“Who’s not ready for the relationship?”

Rohan brightens up instantly. “Asami!”

The blood drains from Korra’s face while Rohan rushes to tackle Asami with his short arms around Asami’s mid-thigh section. “Hey, kiddo, missed me?”

“Sure did!” Rohan tells her and Korra’s heart warms at the sight of her not-so-girlfriend with kids even if initially, she wasn’t someone who knew how to handle children.

A ‘Hey, Asami!’ comes from Ikki and Jinora grins and waves. Meelo, however, approaches Asami like a gentleman, takes her hand and kisses the back of it. “Beautiful lady, I have missed you too.”

Asami raises a brow at the little boy, then at Korra, who shrugs and laughs at the sight of Meelo trying to woo Asami. “I’d say the same to you, fine young man. But sadly, my heart belongs to someone else.”

“That’s a shame, then, though I think I have an idea who it is.” He gives Korra an honest to God side-eye. “Fair lady, make sure that she takes care of you or I will.”

Nodding, Asami beams. “She’s already done so. Do not fear, young man.” Then, Meelo trots to return to the playdoh maker.

The visit comes to a close, and Asami closes the door with her back to the dark wood. “So.”

Korra matches her tone from the couch. “So.”

“My sources tell me there has been talking about not being ready for a relationship,” Asami teases with a lilt, “care to enlighten me about that?”

Korra groans, presses the heels of her palms to her eyes. “How much of that conversation did you hear?”

“Quite a part of it? Your voice is pretty loud, so is Ikki’s.”

She groans again.

“So, you’re not ready to be in a relationship yet?” Her sort-of girlfriend’s tone is serious. The air is gone with a swoosh. “If you aren’t, then maybe… maybe we shouldn’t do this.”

Korra pinches the bridge of her nose. Asami Sato just said that her heart belonged to someone and damn the Spirits, that someone is her.

“Listen, Asami,” Korra starts, leaning her head to get a full view of Asami. Beautiful, brave, kind Asami, whose head is bent down with a few black strands falling off her bun. “What you heard… it’s true.”

Her heart thunders in her chest, painful and excited and all the things that she realizes she has only felt with Asami, who eyes her with so much pain and heartbreak. She can’t do this anymore. She can’t.

“And what’s true is… I want you to be my girlfriend more than anything else in the world, Asami Sato.”

Asami half looks like she’s ready to pack a punch directed at Korra’s face, the other half looks like she wants to kiss Korra with everything she has. The latter wins, though, and Asami surges forward to press an upside-down kiss to Korra’s lips, one that tasted like hard candy and honeydew (always). “You’re an idiot, you know that?”

“Yeah, but I’m your idiot.” Asami flicks Korra’s nose. “Ow!”

“I’ll be your girlfriend.”

Korra grins into the kiss. “I’ll be your girlfriend too, if that wasn’t obvious.”

“You’re my dorky girlfriend. Hmm. I like the sound of that.”

Korra’s Asami.

Asami’s Korra.

She shuts her eyes to her girlfriend pressing kisses below her ear. Yeah. Girlfriend. Korra likes the sound of that.

Coming out to Korra’s parents goes like this:

“We’re so happy for you two!” Her mother exclaims, the camera of the laptop shaking slightly. Her father beams at them. 

Korra definitely doesn’t miss the wink her dad sent her way, even if it’s all the way from the South.

 

Coming out to Asami’s parents goes like this:

Asami strikes the small gong by the grave. Korra sets the flowers on the marble floor.

Their hands meet when Asami tells her parents, and for some reason, Korra feels Hiroshi and Yasuko’s approval, wherever they are. 

They’re reviewing when it drops.

Korra’s quizzing her with Complex Engineering Things. “Define capacitive reactance.”

“I love you.”

Her eyes bulge out. “That isn’t the answer.”

Asami’s face is stricken, brows furrowed and pained and maybe, maybe Korra is overwhelmed by everything going on that she forgets to say it back.

Korra feels the same. Korra feels the same so damn much and even more because she loved Asami first. She’s the type of person who loves more than the other but with Asami, it doesn’t feel like that—doesn’t feel like she’ll be short-changed with love. Asami deserves to know such. “I... I love you too. So much.”

The bridge between them pulls them tighter together and Korra is reminded why she loves Asami so much. Every reason that made her realize that she loved Asami, the whiteboard messages and matcha green tea being the start.

Asami doesn’t look convinced, even if Korra means it with her heart and soul. So Korra kisses her, shows her how much she loves Asami in every way possible. 

“Eep!” Asami squeals indignantly, shapely legs in black jeggings giving away when the blades of her skating shoes slide in opposite directions. Luckily, Korra catches her before she hurts herself. “T-thanks. Glad that the Krew didn’t see that.”

After that, Asami doesn’t loosen her tight grip on Korra’s arm. “You’ll get a hang of it eventually, ‘Sami. Don’t worry. Also, if it makes you feel better, Mako doesn’t know how to skate too. Look,” she points to Mako, who held on tightly to his brother and to his brother’s girlfriend as they skated around on the other side of the rink.

Her girlfriend mutters something about being too old to learn how to ice skate, but Korra just laughs.

Wait.

It’s pretty cold out on a November day and they’re standing on ice.

Korra facepalms so hard.

“Why’s your face like that?” Asami asks, squinting slightly against the light of the rink.

“I forgot to tell you something from ages ago.”

“And what is that…”

“It’s nothing. My parents wanted to have you over for the holidays, after you know, Hiroshi.”

Asami’s expression is blank for a moment at the mention of her father, but she smiles and nods. “Of course I’d love to come over.”

“Really?”

“Why not? I’ve always wanted to visit the South and, well,” she bites her lip and glances away. “I have nowhere to go, really.”

Her heart aches again, like the time when Asami still grieved her father’s death. “Hey, you’ve somewhere to be. My family’s yours as much as it’s mine.”

It’s a bit early to say it, but it’s true. Senna and Tonraq admire Asami.

Asami beams up at Korra with glassy, green eyes. “I’d love that. And I love you.”

She skates forward and brings Asami closer to her, pressing her lips to Asami’s, a warm contrast against the cold November air. “Anything for you. I love you too.”

She guesses it’s how things are when you’re in love with your roommate. It’s hard to think about life without them because they live with you, in the same space as you. It’s hard to find someone else to inhabit in your personal space without feeling as if they’re leaving anytime soon. Asami Sato is also her best friend, not only her girlfriend, so that’s always a plus.

With this space the infinite universe gave them, they can be Asami and Korra and Korra and Asami and everything in between. This apartment was their home.

But when Asami visits her during swimming training, it dawns upon her that the place is never an issue when finding a home because she finds home wherever Asami is: her heart, her arms, her lap. This pool is her home, so long that Asami holds her tightly. So long that long arms are around her and honeydew lips that remind her of summers spent in Republic City. 

+

There are countless things Korra knew about her roommate Asami Sato:

1.) Her favorite flavored drink is her mother's cranberry juice.

2.) Their first kiss tastes like honeydew, chlorine and strawberry.

3.) She absolutely dislikes manila paper and brown envelopes but she loved the smell of new books and feel of a pen on a new page of her designing notebook.

4.) When they fight, neither of them leave the house angry. They sleep on the same bed. Asami sighs every time Korra puts her arms around her and whispers her apology to the base of her neck and Asami turns to embrace Korra like she was the only grounding her (which was true).

5.) She sneezes without a sound in front of other people (but quite loudly in front of Korra, causing nearly 60% of Korra's mini heart attacks.) and snores without a sound.

6.) She likes lazy, rainy mornings with the soft pitter-patter on the window and fitting herself into Korra's side as the TV creates nice background noise.

7.) She can't stand hip hop, but has a soft spot for R&B and Justin Timberlake.

8.) When she watched Finding Nemo the first time, Korra had to pause the movie because Asami was crying within the first 15 minutes.

9.) She misses her father and mother so much. She and Korra visit their graves twice a month with a fresh bouquet of flowers.

10.) At the age of 19 still with one more year of uni, she became the rightful owner of Future Industries.

11.) And her mother father would have been so proud of her for being doing her best in fulfilling her duties as a CEO.

12.) The youngest CEO in the history of businesses in Republic City, still stays up until 4 am watching old school cartoons with Korra.

13.) Korra loves her.

14.) Asami loves Korra.

15.) and as they sit, eating mac and cheese on a plush leather couch in their humble dorm room -

("I don't want to move." Asami whispered to Korra's hair. And Korra smiled into Asami's university hoodie.

"Same here," she said, "but we've classes in the morning. You know how Tenzin will have my ass kicked by his kids when we see each other again during family reunions."

Asami chuckled, her chest rising and falling slightly. "That, too. But I meant I don't want to move from our flat. Some of the board members say I have to return back to the Sato mansion."

Korra turned to lean on her arm and look at her girlfriend. "We don't have to, you know." Her eyes popped wide and Korra felt her face heat up. "I mean—if you want me to—you know, move in—shit. Forget I said anything." She put a hand over her eyes.

Asami only laughed; and when Korra was about to sulk and pout about Asami laughing at her bruised ego, Asami kissed her sweetly and knotted her fingers in her hair. "Of course I want you there, silly," she mumbled against her lips and Korra will never ever get used to the way Asami makes her lightheaded with her kisses. "We kind of live together already, if you haven't noticed."

Korra pouted grumbling, "Not that kind of living together," before Asami kissed her again.

"Well, Miss Korra, what do you say to officially moving in together moving in together in our lovely home that is the university apartment?"

She kissed Asami before she even finished nodding.)

Her warmth is different from the biting cold of South, but then it was Asami’s warmth that makes her Korra’s home.

8 months later:

 

“You can do this, okay, sweetheart?” Korra adjusts the collar of Asami’s white blouse then runs her hand on the smooth texture of Asami’s (expensive) blazer. She huffs out a laugh at her girlfriend's tremulous exhale. "Quit fussing, you look great and you do fine."

"Really?"

"Really."

They stand in silence for a while, in front of the dressing room’s vanity, her anxiety coming off of her in tides that take Korra by surprise, her own palms sweating too. "You got this, okay, Asami?"

Her girlfriend stiffly nods. "Yeah, you're right. I'm overreacting. I’ve never really been a press kind of girl.”

“Well, sweetheart, you gotta get used to it. You’ll be attending tons of press meetings starting today.” Korra laughs and gives Asami a warm, reassuring kiss. “You’ll do fine, I promise. Everyone knows that you would be Future Industries CEO Asami Sato. I can see it already: your name printed everywhere. CEO Asami Sato. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?”

Asami ducks her head and gives Korra a good-natured shove. “Whatever, Korra.” She glances at the door. “The press are waiting.”

“Let them,” Korra pulls at the back of Asami’s neck so their foreheads touch. “You own the freakin’ company. They can wait.”

“Ah,” Asami nods seriously, yet a grin spreads on her face, radiates with a warmth that sends heat down to Korra’s toes. “But then that doesn’t leave a good impression on them, does it?”

Korra rolls her eyes. “Fine. Bella Figura, as the Italians would say.”

“Precisely.” Asami gives her a few kisses, tightens her arms around Korra. She glances at the door expectantly, brows furrowed. “Well, better give the crowd what they want.” She holds out her arm for Korra to take.

This girl, this wonderful girl who left matcha green tea all those years ago. This girl who has seen hell and came out triumphant. This girl that the universe has gifted her to love and to be loved by. The person that she has met and everything about her screamed, I choose you.

Asami gives her a dashing grin and truly, Korra’s heart feels so full. “Showtime?”

Korra takes the arm Asami offers. “Showtime.”

She knew everything about Asami. One of those is that Asami is the one for her.