To Be Whole

Chapter 10

Korra


Korra’s stomach twisted painfully as she watched the airship slowly descend. Air acolytes busied themselves with tying the ship down, and Korra had no idea what to expect. Toph had always seemed larger than life. The idea of actually meeting the woman was incredibly intimidating.

Korra tore her eyes from the spectacle above her and scanned the crowd for Asami. More than anything, she wanted Asami’s soothing presence beside her, for her nerves were absolutely shot. She caught a glimpse of Asami hugging a far corner and saw that Mako was with her. She tried to will the heiress over to where Korra was sitting, but either Asami truly hadn’t seen her, or was studiously avoiding looking her direction.

Korra felt a strong hand settle on her shoulder and looked up. Tenzin was standing by her side, hope shining strongly in his eyes, but Korra felt like she was going to be sick. What if Toph wasn’t able to help? What if Korra was going to be stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of her life, slowly wasting away as the remaining poison in her body wreaked its slow and devastating havoc? Korra felt her breath start to hitch and tried taking big and calming breaths to stem the hysteria she could feel bubbling in her chest.

She was about to meet the greatest earth bender to have ever lived, and in that moment, Korra felt like she could burst into tears at any moment. Just when she thought she was going to lose it, Tenzin’s hand lifted off her shoulder and was replaced with a much lighter and soothing one. Asami was by her side, crouching down so she was eye level with the Avatar. She slid one arm around Korra’s shoulders, and grabbed onto Korra’s hand with her other.

Immediately Korra felt her heart begin to slow and tilted her head to rest it on Asami’s shoulder. Asami’s hair slipped around her face, and cradled in Asami’s presence surrounded by the smell of Asami’s hair and perfume, Korra felt herself start to fully relax.

“It’s going to be okay, Korra. If this doesn’t work, we’ll figure something else out,” Asami whispered into her ear.

Korra reached up and grasped Asami’s hand where it was resting on her shoulder. “Thank you,” Korra whispered back.

The airship finally landed, and the hatch was released with a loud hiss. Su walked up the ramp and a few moments later, returned with an older woman on her arm. Once the pair made it to the ground, the older woman ripped her arm from Su’s grasp and crossed her arms across her chest, surveying the group of people around her. It was weird, because while Korra knew that Toph was blind, when those sightless eyes moved in her direction, she felt as though the blind woman was looking into her soul.

“Hey there, Twinkle Toes. Looks like you have a little hitch in your giddyup.”

Korra stiffened in shock and mild outrage, but straightened her shoulders as Toph walked over. Though Korra knew the woman had to be at least in her 80’s, the only sign that belied her age was the stark white hair that was pulled back in a tight bun. Her bangs however, were hanging loosely in her face, and it made her look intimidating and more than a little scary.

Korra cleared her throat. “Master Toph. It’s an honor mee-”

“Yeah, yeah. Save the formalities. I hear you have some metal poisoning you need help with.”

Korra looked around for help, and thankfully Su came to her rescue.

“The Red Lotus poisoned her with some kind of metal, and we need your help getting the rest out. I got enough out to save her life, but it seems I missed some.”

Toph turned her head to the sound but never fully met Su’s face. It was strange seeing how Toph moved. She led her head with her ears, and it made her look alien and strange. Korra searched for some sort of feeling of kinship that may have stayed as a residue from her time sharing Aang’s spirit, but there was nothing. Toph was scary. Toph was undeniably very powerful, and it was very clear Toph knew it.

The elder woman walked over to where Korra sat, and Asami scrambled out of the way. Korra immediately felt ten times more vulnerable without Asami there to support her, and she grit her teeth as the metal bender drew near. She was the Avatar dammit! She had encountered far worse than an 80-something blind woman. Without warning, Toph reached forward and placed a rough hand on Korra’s forehead.

At first, Korra felt nothing. Then her brain exploded.

It felt like thousands of needles were stabbing her from the inside out, and Korra had to bite her tongue to keep from crying out. Her arms and legs started shaking uncontrollably, and her fingers started to twitch. Toph tilted her head eerily to the side, and the pain suddenly spiked in intensity.

“Stop it!” Asami yelled out. She rushed forward and pushed Toph’s hand away, stepping between the two as if to shield Korra from another onslaught.

Korra slumped forward in her chair, breathing heavily through the tears that had started to stream down her face. Toph turned her sightless gaze on Asami, and Korra watched in amazement as Asami stared her down, unmoving from her protective stance.

Toph canted her head in Su’s direction. “Who’s the princess?”

“Mom, that’s Asami. She’s Korra’s... best friend.”

Toph grunted and turned her sightless gaze back to Asami. Her ghostly eyes narrowed slightly before she smiled. Reaching forward, she placed a rough hand on Asami’s arm and patted it hard enough to cause Asami to stumble.

“I like you.”

Asami regained her footing, and looked to Su in confusion.

Korra stiffened as Toph walked around Asami and crouched next to the arm of the chair. Sensing Korra’s discomfort, Toph laughed.

“Relax, Twinkle Toes. I won’t do that again. I just wanted to see if my daughter’s guess was at all accurate.”

Korra looked up. “And?”

“Oh, there’s still some of that poison in you alright.”

Korra slumped back in the chair, an odd combination of relief and anxiety making her head spin. “Can you do something about it?”

Toph tilted her head to the side and placed another hand on Korra’s arm. Korra tensed as she waited for the pain to start again, but all she felt was slight warmth and tingling.

“Yeah. I think I can.” Toph stood up. “Not tonight, though. I’m beat.”

Korra exhaled in a rush. She couldn’t have said she was relieved that the healing wouldn’t be that evening, or frustrated that she was going to have to wait.

Toph stood and gestured for her daughter. “Su. Can you take this old woman to her room? These aching joints need a little rest.”

Su walked over and reached out to take Toph’s arm, but Toph ignored it and walked away. She needed about as much help as a child did eating a cookie, but Korra guessed she wanted to talk to Su in private or something, for Su just shrugged and followed her mother into the compound.

“Tenzin! Send me some of those fruit pies you air heads are always making around here. I’m starving!” Toph yelled over her shoulder.

There was collective sigh of relief once the metal bender left the clearing. Tenzin walked over and laid a hand on Korra’s shoulder.

“Are you alright?” Tenzin asked, concern coloring his gentle tone.

Korra nodded. “I’m fine. I just wasn’t expecting that.” She looked up at Tenzin questioningly. “Is she always like that?”

Tenzin opened his mouth to reply, and Toph’s voice wafted over from the compound in the distance.

“I heard that!”

Both Korra and Tenzin winced, turning to look and see if Toph was going to say anything else. Or worse; come back.

When it looked like they were all in the clear, Tenzin heaved a sigh of relief, chuckling a little to himself as he turned back to the wheelchair bound woman.

“Do you need help getting to your room?”

Asami stepped forward and grabbed Korra’s handles. “I’ve got her.”

Korra looked up at Tenzin and nodded. The airbender gave one final squeeze of her shoulder and walked away.

Asami wordlessly rolled Korra back to her room and once inside, helped Korra out of her furs and slipped some soft linen pajamas over her underclothes. Korra found she was hyper aware of every time Asami’s fingers brushed against her skin, and the sensation left her breathless. Though Asami was obviously working as fast as she could, she slipped up more than usual. When Korra looked up to see what was wrong, she noticed that Asami was trying to do the whole thing without actually looking at what her hands were doing. It seemed Korra wasn’t the only one that was suddenly uncomfortable with this, and the Avatar would have given anything to know what Asami was thinking in that moment.

Once Korra was in bed with the covers tucked around her knees, Asami smiled and started to walk out of the room.

“Asami…”

Asami stopped and looked over her shoulder. “Yes, Korra?”

Korra worked her mouth as she struggled to come up with something to say. What she really wanted was for Asami to stay. To curl up with her in bed and help chase away the uncertainty and fears that lay in wait the following day. She wanted to be held, and for Asami to whisper in her ear that everything was going to be alright, and that she was going to be okay. She wanted to feel cradled in Asami’s safe embrace, warded off from the nightmares that plagued her deep in the middle of the night when she was at her most defenseless.

“I… Will you…”

“Will I what?”

Korra exhaled, her nerve having abandoned her in a rush. “Goodnight.”

Asami dropped her eyes and hung her head. If Korra didn’t know any better, Asami looked almost… disappointed.

Without raising her eyes, Asami turned back towards the door. “Goodnight, Korra.”

The sound of the door shutting behind her was one of the loneliest and most depressing sounds Korra had ever heard.

When Korra woke the next morning, it wasn’t Asami who greeted her like usual. Kya bustled in and chatted away as she helped Korra up and about. Korra hadn’t slept at all, and her nerves felt so shot, it was an effort not to snap at the perky water bender every other second. Knowing that she needed to control herself, Korra bit her tongue and suffered through the morning as quietly as she could.

Kya rolled her into the dining room, and it was already full of most of the islands inhabitants. Ikki and Meelo were much more calm than they had been the day before, and Korra was extremely grateful. Toph, Su, and Kuvira were missing, though that wasn’t necessarily bad news. Asami was sitting at the table with a couple papers spread in front of her, but Korra could tell by the way her eyes weren’t moving that she wasn’t really reading anything.

Kya parked her next to Asami, and the heiress jumped when Korra’s chair gently bumped the table.

“Oh. Hey, morning,” Asami mumbled, never quite meeting Korra’s eyes.

Korra frowned and began to idly push her food around on her plate. Her stomach was twisted into a knot, and the idea of food made her so nauseous that even looking at it was making her worse.

“You sleep, okay?” Asami asked.

Korra shrugged, but remained silent.

Asami sighed and finally raised her eyes. “Korra. I want to ta-”

“Alright, everyone,” Tenzin said, lightly tapping the table to get everyone’s attention.

“As I’m sure most of you know, Aunt To- I mean Master Toph arrived last night. I want everyone to be on his or her best behavior. That woman is not to be tested or tried.” He chuckled a little to himself. “Trust me. I know. I also got word that Opal and Bolin will be arriving any minute now, and I’m sure many of you will be very happy to see them.”

Korra frowned in frustration at the interruption, and waiting patiently for Tenzin to stop before turning back to Asami.

“Sorry. What were you going to say?”

Asami sighed heavily, and slumped in her chair, mirroring Korra as she pushed her food around on her plate.

“Never mind.”

Korra’s frown deepened.

“It’ll be nice to see Bolin,” Asami said, raising her head in a hopeful smile. The smile didn’t quite reach her eyes though, and Korra ached with the need to know what was wrong.

Korra opened her mouth to ask just that, but the clanging of a bell from the high tower interrupted her. The ringing usually indicated there were visitors, but was generally reserved for when it was other airbenders arriving on a sky bison.

Asami smiled and stood, grasping Korra’s handles so she could wheel them outside.

Sure enough, Korra was just able to make out the shape of a medium sized sky bison steadily floating their way.

As soon as the bison landed, Opal jumped off and landed as gracefully as a dancer as she summoned a slight gust of wind to soften the impact. Bolin followed directly after, but his foot got caught in the saddle at the last second, and Korra couldn’t help but laugh as her friend rolled to the ground in a crumpled heap.

Opal floated over to Asami and gave her a big hug before turning to Korra and crouching so she could do the same with the Avatar. Bolin hastily stood and dusted himself off before running over and picking Korra up, wheelchair and all, spinning her around in his excitement.

“Oh, man, Korra! It is so good to see you!”

He set Korra down and gave Asami a hug as well, lifting her up in equal enthusiasm. Asami laughed, gently pushing him to let her down.

“How’s the Air Temple?” Korra asked.

“Oh my god. So boring!” Bolin let out without hesitation. Opal laughed and playfully swatted at her boyfriends arm.

“It’s not so bad. I still need a little more training before they’ll let me join the other airbenders in the Earth Kingdom.”

“How are you doing?” Opal asked.

Korra was just opening her mouth to respond, when she caught a glimpse of a familiar figure walking towards them from the direction of the docks. When Korra failed to immediately respond, Asami turned around to see what had caught her friend’s attention.

She’s just like Bolin and Opal. She’s no worse than Ikki and Meelo, Korra chanted to herself as Kuvira walked up, doing her best to stay true to her word and not lash out. While she may at one point have been willing to try and gloss things over with the metal bender, the events of the day before had settled the deal. Korra didn’t like her, and that’s all there was to it. It was only for Asami’s sake that she didn’t act outright hostile, though even that was pretty difficult.

“Oh hey, Kuvira,” Asami said by way of greeting.

Korra couldn’t help but notice how Asami maneuvered her way so that Korra’s chair was between her and the advancing woman. The gesture filled Korra with a raging torrent of conflicting emotions. While she was definitely pleased at the distance Asami was obviously putting between her and the metal bender, Korra wondered why Asami had felt that was necessary in the first place. The idea that Kuvira had hurt or threatened Asami in anyway made an angry beast come to life deep within her chest.

“Korra. Opal. Bolin.”

Kuvira nodded to the trio before ignoring the obstacle of Korra’s chair completely, reaching around to give Asami a partial hug. Kuvira’s hip gently nudged Korra’s shoulder, and it took everything the Avatar had to not shove back with all her might.

“How are you doing today?” Kuvira asked.

Korra turned around to try and keep her eyes on the pair behind her, but Kuvira had coincidently stood in the one spot Korra had the hardest time seeing. Korra winced at a pang in her back as she twisted around the other way and looked at Asami to give her a pointed look, gritting her teeth in anger. She knew she had promised to be nice, but this was a little ridiculous. Kuvira was pretending as though Korra wasn’t even there!

“I’m alright. Thanks for asking,” Asami replied. Though she was smiling, Korra could tell that her friend was more than a little uncomfortable, and a faint blush was slowly creeping across the bridge of her nose.

“I was wondering-”

“Do you mind?!” Korra finally blurted out.

Asami flinched, and Korra saw Kuvira jump out of the corner of her eye. Korra felt bad, for she knew she was being rude, but this was a bit much. Korra could tell Asami felt the same, for instead of an angry scowl, her friend blushed and looked down at Korra, guilt strewn across her features. Kuvira just looked down, staring at Korra with an unapologetic frown.

“Anyways, I was wondering if I could take you out again,” Kuvira finished, having backed away so she was no longer in Korra’s space.

Korra watched as Asami’s face flickered through a multitude of expressions, and the silence stretched out as Kuvira waited for a response.

“Awkward…” Bolin said in a dramatically singsong voice behind his hand. His eyes were darting back and forth from Kuvira to Korra with a look that clearly indicated he wasn’t blind to the obvious tension.

When Korra turned her angry scowl on her earthbending friend, Bolin smoothly slid behind Opal’s shoulder, using her as a human shield to protect himself from the Avatar’s wrath.

“Uh… I think I hear Pabu. Don’t you, Opal? Yeah… I definitely hear Pabu calling. Don’t worry, buddy! Let’s just-”

“Did you two go out?” Opal asked with open curiosity.

The question was innocent enough, but for some strange reason, Asami’s blush was deepening in intensity by the second.

Kuvira nodded. “Yes. We had a dinner date.”

“Kuvira had never been to Republic City before now. I figured I’d show her around,” Asami hastily added.

Kuvira and Opal looked at Asami with varying expressions. Kuvira was frowning slightly, and Opal looked thoughtful and was staring at the heiress as if she was seeing her for the first time.

Korra was just confused.

“Which brings us back to my question,” Kuvira said, turning back to Asami.
“Are you free to… show me around some more. Tonight?”

Korra watched the exchange, sure she was missing out on something. It was clear that everyone else knew exactly what was going on.

“Opal and I can give you a tour,” Bolin helpfully suggested.

Okay. Maybe not everyone, Korra thought at the trio of frowns that greeted his suggestion.

“Bolin… I don’t think-“ Opal started, but Asami hastily cut her off.

“Toph was probably going start on Korra’s healing tonight, so I was actually hoping to stick around for that. Some other time, though?”

Korra couldn’t help but smile smugly at Kuvira’s answering frown, though she was very curious as to why Asami was acting so weird. There was something her friend wasn’t telling her, and the thought made Korra very uneasy.

“Hmm. Okay,” Kuvira replied. “I guess just tell me when you’re free? There’s not much that I’m being asked to do here in the city, so my schedule will be pretty open until I am given an assignment.”

Asami nodded. “Absolutely.”

Kuvira stood there for a moment, clearly not knowing what to do. For a second, she looked as confused as Korra felt, but hastily pulled herself together to smile one last time before giving a curt bow and walking away.

“Asami...” Opal hesitantly began. “Are you and Kuvira-”

“Friends? Yes. We met when she landed and have hung out a couple times.”

Korra studied her friend through narrowed eyes. Asami was twisting her hair with both hands and refused to make eye contact. Okay. Something was definitely going on.

Opal frowned when Asami wouldn’t meet her eyes, but seemed to take pity on the heiress and shrugged. She turned to Bolin.

“We have to unpack, and I would like to go say hi to my grandmother.”

Bolin dropped the suitcase he had just been handed, and it landed on his foot with a heavy sounding thud. Bolin barely seemed to notice.

“You want to go see Toph… now?”

Opal looked over her shoulder and frowned. “Of course. Why would we wait?”

“But... Right now, right now? Don’t you mean later, right now? Or later right now, not right now, but some other time, right now?”

“Bolin. You’re not making any sense,” Opal said with a wry grin.

Korra laughed. “Are you nervous over meeting Toph?” Korra asked.

Bolin looked sharply at Korra and made a face. “Me?! Nervous? Why would I be nervous? It’s not like she is the single most influential earth bender in all of history and single handedly developed a new bending style. Why would that make me nervous?”

Opal laughed and floated down next to her boyfriend to give him an encouraging peck on the cheek. “If you want to wait to meet her later, that’s fine. I’m sure Korra and Asami would love to catch up with you.”

Bolin sighed in relief but caught himself when he noticed the three pairs of eyes watching him.

“Well. If you insist. I mean, Toph can wait. I’ll just stay here with Korra and Asami for a little bit.”

Opal rolled her eyes. “Whatever you say.”

Several air acolytes showed up and began lugging Bolin and Opal’s things to their room. Opal leaned up and kissed Bolin on the cheek once more before she waved farewell and skipped off to go see her grandmother.

Asami started to steer Korra down a pathway towards their rooms when another air acolyte walked up and wordlessly handed Asami a piece of paper. Korra watched as Asami frowned while she read.

“Everything okay?” Korra asked.

Asami sighed and shook her head. “There’s a problem with one of our contracts. A buyer is saying he’s getting cheated, and I’m going to need to sit in on a phone conference.”

“I can take over,” Bolin offered. He stepped behind Korra and gently grabbed the handles from where Asami had been holding them and turned Korra around so she was facing her friend.

Asami was looking downcast and sad, and Korra ached to know why. She reached up and grabbed one of Asami’s hands.

“Hey. You okay?”

Asami shook her head and smiled, though she gently pulled her hand out of Korra’s grasp. The act made Korra anxious. Asami had been doing that a lot lately, and Korra had no idea why.

“I guess I’ll be back in a couple hours,” Asami said. She reached over and gave Bolin a hug, then hesitantly bent down to give one to Korra as well. Her movements were stiff and awkward, and by the time Asami had walked away, Korra felt like she was strung so tight, she would snap at any moment.

“Huh,” Bolin said.

Korra rounded on her friend in a rush. “What?!”

Bolin widened his eyes at the accusatory tone, and lifted his hands in submission. “I’m not sure what’s going on here, so I’m just gunna stay quiet.”

Korra folded her arms and snapped her mouth shut as Bolin grabbed Korra’s handles and started pushing her down the walkway.

“But if I was going to say something, I’d probably say something along the lines of ‘well that was weird. I wonder what’s going on around here?’”

“Bolin?”

“Yes, Korra?”

“Can you just cut the bullshit and say what’s on your mind?”

Bolin widened his eyes as Korra’s blunt request, then nodded. He rolled them over to where the trees met the edge of the path and stomped his foot. Immediately, the ground around them rose until it was level with the cliff above them. With a quick punch, he leveled the ground in front of them into something that would make due as a walkway and pushed her forward. Once they were fairly secluded, he flicked his wrist, and a stone block rose out of the ground that was the perfect height for him to use as a bench.

“Okay. So how’s my bestie?”

Korra squeezed her eyes shut and pinched the bridge of her nose. “I’m fine.”

“You don’t look so fine.”

“It’s just... that Kuvira chick.”

“Go on.”

“She just pisses me off. She thinks she knows everything, and that her word is law, but really, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about!”

“Hmm. Interesting.”

“And now she and Asami have been going out, and I don’t even – what are you doing!?”

Bolin sat up from where he was hunched. He had somehow come across a rather ridiculous brown pointy beard and glasses, and was scrutinizing her over a pad of paper through the rather thick spectacles.

Bolin held out his arms and beamed. “I’m counseling! Right?!”

Korra raised a bow.

“I saw it in a mover. I just sit here and say ‘hmmm’ and ‘oooh’ and ‘that’s interesting’, and ‘tell me more’, and you start crying and telling me things, like, ‘My daddy never loved me!’ Then I say ‘I understand how you feel’, then you say ‘Oh, wow. I feel much better now, thank you, doctor’ ...Then they kiss and fall in love and stuff, but we don’t have to do that part…”

Korra gaped at him.

“What?! It works every time!”

Finally Korra came to her senses and started laughing. Once she started, she couldn’t stop, and her sides started to burn as muscles that had long gone unused were suddenly kicked into overdrive.

“You… You are so… Wow…” Korra tried to get out in between laughs. Bolin reached forward and started stroking her back.

“There there, little lady. Let the Doctor’s magic do its work”.

Korra swatted his hand away and if anything started laughing harder.

It was a while before she was able to get herself under control. Finally when she felt able to speak, Bolin patted her shoulder a couple times and sat back.

“Bolin. You’re too much.”

Bolin let out a dramatic sigh. “That’s what they tell me,” he said with a wink.

Korra was still giggling as she wiped a tear from her eyes.

“So what’s going on with Asami?”

Korra’s stomach tightened at the mention of her friend, and just like that, her laughter died all together. Bolin frowned as he saw the shift.

“You guys get in a fight or something? Last I saw, you two seemed like you were getting really close.”

Korra sighed. “It’s nothing like that. We are really close”.

“Then what’s the problem?”

Korra frowned, and balled her hands into fists. “It’s that stupid Zaofu Captain.”

“Kuvira?”

Korra only growled the affirmative.

“Isn’t she just helping out with the whole earth kingdom thing?”

“Yeah.”

“Then… well… I’m confused.”

“She and Asami are friends now.”

“Okay.”

“NOT OKAY, Bolin. Not okay!”

“Woah, woah. OKAY. Not okay… Why is that not okay?”

Korra growled and threw up her hands. “Because Kuvira is a snake! I don’t like her, and she needs to crawl back into whatever hole she came from.”

Bolin sat up a little straighter and rested his forearms on his knees. “Do you think she’s trying to hurt Asami?”

“Oh, she better not.”

“So you don’t think that’s what the issue is?”

“I don’t know. I just don’t like how much time they have spent together.”

“Well how much is that?”

“I don’t know! I know they’ve hung out in Republic City a couple times. And you heard her. She wants to take Asami out again.”

“Hmm.”

“I don’t even know what Asami sees in her!”

“Okay.”

“What does that metal bending giant have that I don’t? Why does she feel like she needs to have someone like Kuvira around?! Aren’t I enough?”

“Ahh.”

“She’s not even a cool person. She uptight, and stupid, and tall…”

“Well...”

“Well what?!” Korra yelled, rounding on Bolin in a rush.

His beard was back on, as were his glasses, but by the look he was giving her, it was clear he wasn’t trying to play some character.

“Umm, Korra?”

“Yes?”

“I want to try something else.”

Korra folded her arms and sank into her chair, glaring at Bolin with the scariest expression she could muster. Bolin flinched a little, but held his ground.

“Fine.”

“Okay. Why don’t you tell me about Asami?”

Korra sat up a little in confusion.

“What do you mean?”

“Well. You just told me all about Kuvira. Now I want you to tell me about Asami.”

“What do you want me to say?”

“I don’t know. Tell me about how she’s helped you since you’ve gotten back.”

Korra closed her eyes and thought back to when she first came back from her fight with Zaheer. She didn’t remember much from those first couple days. Even though most of the poison was out of her system, it had taken days for her to be able to stay awake longer than a few minutes at a time at most. The faces around her were constantly a blur, but she could vaguely remember who was there. She remembered her father’s concerned eyes as they hovered over her. She remembered twin flashes of grey as Kya and Katara had done their best to work their magic. She remembered Mako’s angry and concerned voice yelling for answers, and Bolin’s pathetic whimpers as he had cradled Pabu for comfort.

Mostly, she remembered twin orbs of jade as they watched her from her side. She remembered that silky hand that always found its way into hers whenever she started to stir awake. She remember the soft touch at her throat as fingers worked to help hold her head up so she could drink, and those same fingers brushing soothingly across her forehead and cheeks to lull her back to sleep when she was done.

“She’s been there from the beginning,” Korra said, reverence coloring her tone until it was almost a prayer.

Korra always knew that Asami had been there from day one, but she had never really strained to try and remember that first week. When she began to be able to stay awake for longer and longer stretches, of course Asami had been there. Korra never questioned it because Asami had been there from the beginning.

“Tell me how Asami makes you feel.”

For reasons unknown, the question made Korra extremely uncomfortable. She had no idea how she could even begin to put into words how Asami made her feel. Asami was just… there. She was Korra’s rock. Her foundation. Her sanctuary.

“She… She makes me feel normal,” Korra finally got out.

“What do you mean?”

“Well… everyone always wants things and needs t hings and ‘Oh please, miss Avatar. I know you’re only eighteen, but please solve all my problems’... Asami has never been like that. She just treats me… normal. I like it.”

“So why isn’t it okay for Asami to have other friends?”

Korra grunted in frustration. The very mention of Kuvira caused all the warm and fuzzy feelings she was starting to have to crash down.

“It’s okay for her to have other friends.” Bolin looked at her with a raised brow. “Just not that friend!”

“You know… I think I’ve seen you like this before.”

“What?” Korra asked in confusion.

“Yeah. I’m pretty sure I have.”

“What are you talking about?”

“There is only one other person I’ve seen you take such an intense and crazy irrational dislike to. Ever.”

Korra rolled her eyes and turned her chair so she was no longer facing her earthbending friend.

“No. No. Hear me out,” Bolin said, flicking Korra’s platform around like a spinning plate so they were once again facing each other.

“I’ve seen you hate people. I’ve seen you fight people. I’ve also seen you get along with people splendidly, even though everyone else can’t understand it. But only once have I seen you decide to hate someone.”

Korra sighed in defeat.

“Fine. I’ll play. What are you getting at?”

“It’s Asami!” Bolin threw his arms out, and there was an unspoken ta-da the gesture.

Korra looked up with a raised brow, thoroughly confused.

“What?” Korra asked.

Bolin laughed. “No. Think about it! When you were all gaga about Mako and he brought Asami around, you HATED her. It was ridiculous! Poor girl couldn’t do or say anything right. You just hated her and that was the end of it!”

Korra threw up her hands in frustration. She had no idea what point Bolin was trying to make, but all this talk was making her extremely irritated.

“Bolin. This is completely different. I had feelings for Mako. Of course I hated Asami. I mean, once Mako turned out to be an idiot, and I got to know Asami, it was obvious that she was amazing and perfect, and I was a dumbass.”

Bolin raised his eyebrows, and gave her a long and leering smile. “Riiiight. Completely different.”

“I’m serious. Kuvira is just bad. And Asami shouldn’t be wasting her time with someone like that.”

“Mmhmm,” Bolin said, though that stupid grin wouldn’t leave his face.

“Bolin. This is ridiculous.”

“Yeah. Sure. Okay.”

Korra looked at him for a moment longer sure she was misunderstanding something. It almost seemed as though Bolin was trying to hint that Korra had… feelings? For Asami?

Before Korra could delve a little deeper into that particular train of thought, the sound of someone yelling their names caused Bolin to look down over the edge.

Kya was yelling up at them and waving her hands to try and get their attention.

“Looks like our counseling session is over, little lady,” Bolin said in his weird overly faked deep voice.

He walked over and grabbed Korra’s handles to steady the chair as he lowered them back onto the same level as the rest of the pavilion.

“There you are!” Kya said in exasperation. “Toph was hoping to get started on looking you over and-”

CRASH!

Korra and Kya looked down. Bolin had fainted at their feet.

“Has Bolin been going through Uncle Sokka’s things?” Kya asked, bending down to finger the beard that was still in place on Bolin’s face.

Korra laughed. “I have no idea.”

Opal walked around the corner, and started giggling.

“You tell him we’re about to go see Grandma Toph?”

Korra and Kya nodded. Opal rolled her eyes and sighed, though there was obviously love in her eyes as she gazed down at her blacked out earthbender boyfriend.

“He’ll be fine. I was actually sent to get Korra and bring her to my grandmother.”

Kya bent down and surveyed Bolin’s prone form. He was twitching and occasionally would whimper something that sounded weirdly like ‘Master Toph’ and ‘your eternal servant’ and some other weird things. Kya rolled her eyes again.

“I’ll stay with the lug. Opal. You get Korra over to Toph. Let’s just pray to the Spirits that this will actually work”.

Opal nodded and took hold of Korra’s handles. She started pushing her in the direction of the huts, but Korra twisted around and stopped her.

“Can we stop by my room real quick? I want to leave a note for Asami for when she comes back.”

“Sure,” Opal said, and turned them around.


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