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Heavy Sleeper

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One month in and Asami Sato learns that the Avatar likes to sleep. A lot. It's fairly well-known that the average person functions optimally on eight to nine hours of sleep. This is under ideal conditions, however, and most regularly employed people can do just fine on just six to seven hours. It's around the five hour mark when things get dicey—she's learned as much from studies on worker productivity.

Korra is not the average person, though, Asami knows that much. What she doesn't expect, however, is just how not average she is. Apparently, the almighty Avatar needs at least ten (ten!) hours of sleep in order to feel ... how does she put it? "Refreshed,” "well-rested," "normal," "not cranky as hell," and most importantly, "sane." Which is funny, really, because Asami thinks that's just insane.

In less-than-ideal situations when Korra can only squeeze in a mere eight hours a night (seriously, this is so absurd), she makes up for the deficit with naps. And she'll take them anywhere she can get, because on top of her ridiculous, borderline narcoleptic needs, the girl can sleep soundly anywhere, on anything, through anything, wearing anything (Zaofu's heavy, plated guard uniforms are apparently no different from pajamas).

A few choice locations for snoozing: a bent out-of-shape hammock swinging in the rain, the coarse surface of bedrock (this is quite literal, Team Avatar had once set up camp in a quarry), on any and every moving vehicle (she says rocking motions make her sleepy and apparently, this even applies to airships that shake violently during extreme turbulence), in the middle of a crowded apartment floor (with Su and Lin screaming at each other in the background during one of their Beifong tiffs).

It's become a running joke with their group, though at first they wondered if she was meditating (should we poke her?) or comatose (should we slap her?) or dead (... water in the face?). This weakness is something that Bolin and Meelo have often exploited in service of their many pranks, because a sleepy Avatar can be fun for everyone, especially when the Bridge Between Two Worlds wakes up with ink drawings all over her face ("RAIKO SUX" was a particularly memorable one and partially Korra's fault for dozing off right before an important diplomatic meeting with the president).

Of course, in time, Asami begins to find this unbelievable lethargy cute and endearing once she gets past the initial absurdity (like all of Korra's weird little quirks). So, she makes a habit of watching her lover sleep. In the late hours when the moon rakes silver light across her face, at dawn when Korra squints and grumbles unconsciously as Asami pulls the blinds open. Even when they're on the go, usually on long train rides, with Korra's head rolling cutely onto her shoulder (though sometimes it drops, which admittedly hurts a bit).

Sometimes, Asami tells her things she knows she can't hear. I love you, being the most common and more rarely, do you love me?

Two months in and Avatar Korra discovers that Asami Sato is an insomniac. She's embarrassed that it's taken her this long to realize. This unfortunate fact revealed itself to her accidentally: she'd woken up one night to the sound of glass shattering on the floor. In her sleep, Korra had inadvertently performed a small burst of airbending, blowing the water carafe off their bedside night stand (she'd been dreaming of vicious little bugs shaped like Mako's eyebrows trying to sting her in the face). When she jolted awake, Asami was already sitting upright against their bed's headboard scribbling notes on a clipboard by candlelight. When did you wake up, Korra had asked her, to which Asami answered, I never fell asleep.

After this, Korra pays more attention to her lover's sleeping habits, or rather the lack thereof. This is what she finds out: when Asami can't sleep at night, she often reads, and when she reads, she wears horn-rimmed glasses. When Asami wakes up too early, she opens the blinds and watches the sun rise from the window.

More surprisingly: when Korra naps, Asami sometimes lays with her (wide awake) and is really great at being the big spoon. When Korra falls sleeps at night, Asami pretends (tries?) to doze off with her and lets herself be the little spoon, just lets Korra hold her. When Korra is still sleeping in the morning, Asami strokes her hair, kisses her forehead, and whispers things softly in her ear. Sometimes, it’s a question.

After learning all these things, Korra tries an experiment. Before bed, she meditates deeply and makes her spirit set an internal alarm clock that will go off at sunrise. It works and sure enough, she wakes to find fingers running through her hair. Korra keeps her eyes shut. She pretends to sleep. Then, soft lips brush against her forehead and she hears a voice whisper (sweetly, sadly), do you love me?

Korra smiles and blinks her eyes open. The look on Asami's face is priceless.

And so, still smiling, she answers, yes.