To Be Whole

Chapter 5

Asami


All morning Asami had driven the two of them around, showing Kuvira first the super touristy areas of the city, then Asami’s more favorite gems. Kuvira smiled in delight at all of the wonderful sights, and Asami realized she genuinely enjoyed the company of the tall bender. There were moments when Kuvira’s similarities to Korra were extremely un-nerving. Like Korra, Kuvira radiated an intimidating energy, and people would part around them without even seeming to realize what they were doing as they walked through the streets. Like when she was with Korra, Asami found she felt safe and secure. Not that she wasn’t able take care of herself of course. But when she was with Korra, and now with Kuvira, people were extra respectful and careful with how they behaved and what they said. There were differences as well though, and those were much more startling. Kuvira was calm and reserved and Asami had a mildly difficult time adjusting to the peaceful demeanor. It was definitely a good thing, but her constant time with the injured Avatar had conditioned Asami to be much more used to sullen silence and moody outbursts. Although the change was absolutely welcome and much needed, Asami couldn’t help but miss the presence of her friend. Korra had a fire within her that spurned her to say exactly what she was thinking the moment she thought it. Kuvira was much more diplomatic, though Asami found she missed Korra’s spunk as they wound their way through the city.

By mid-afternoon, Asami had taken the pair to the docks to kill time at the pier while waiting for a ferry to take them back to Airbender Island. They had over an hour to wait, so Asami bought them both ice creams from a cart vendor. They were standing at the docks railing, casually resting their elbows on the worn wood eating their ice creams in a content silence.

“Tell me something about yourself” Asami asked. She looked over at Kuvira expecting her to be shocked or put off by the question, but instead Kuvira had tilted her head to the side, her face scrunched in thought as she pondered how to answer.

“What do you want to know?”

Asami shrugged. “I don’t know. Surprise me”.

Kuvira smiled warmly and turned so she was facing Asami, leaning her hip into the railing, her elbow resting easily on the handrail.

“Ok. I’ve got one for you”

Kuvira leaned in conspiratorially.

“I’ve never met my parents. I’m an orphan.”

Asami blinked in surprise.

“Surprising enough?” Kuvira gently chided at Asami’s shocked expression.

Asami nodded.

“That must have been very difficult. So how did you end up with Su in Zaofu?”

“I actually grew up as a sort of street urchin in this small town in the outskirts of Ba-Sing-Se. I was using my earth bending to get myself into all kinds of trouble. When Su was passing through during her travels, I actually tried to rob her. Needless to say, it didn’t work out too well” Kuvira laughed at the memory.

Asami couldn’t help but laugh with her. The thought of anyone trying to pull one over on any of the Beifongs was definitely very amusing.

“So what happened?”

“She beat me to a pulp with some impressive metal bending, and told me to shape up or suffer worse. Best thing that every happened to me”

Asami widened her eyes in shock, and covered her mouth with surprise. She waited for Kuvira to tell her she was just kidding, but the metal bender said nothing and turned to stare into the bay, a slight smile on her lips. She bent forward and leaned her elbows back against the railing, her long frame having to fold almost at a ninety degree angle to reach. Asami waited for Kuvira to continue, but she said nothing, the small smile never leaving her lips.

Unable to hold it in any longer, Asami started to laugh.

“You’re kidding”

“Nope.” Kuvira said with a slight shake of her head.

“So what happened then?”

“I decided that I was going to become a metal bender so I could track Su down and demand a rematch. The ire was temporary though. Once I found out who she was and heard about how Su was building Zaofu, I packed my small sack of belongings, and promptly offered my help in return for training. I don’t know if I truly expected Su to take me in, but she did without hesitation.”

Not knowing what to say, Asami just started at Kuvira in wonder.

“Wow” she finally says. “That’s quite the story”

Kuvira smiled, and tucked her head to the side to peer at Asami around her bulky arm.

“I got my rematch though.”

Asami laughed.

“Oh yeah?”

Kuvira nodded.

“And how did that go?”

“Oh I got my ass handed to me.”

Asami, who had poorly decided to take a rather large bite of her ice cream coughed and choked at the unexpected answer, laughing until tears were filling her eyes.

Kuvira’s eyes twinkled in delight as she sighed with dramatic flair.

“I’ll probably have to wait until Su is using a walker to ever really stand a chance.”

Kuvira continued to smile as she waited for Asami’s laughter to subside.

Asami was still chuckling when Kuvira suddenly turned towards her, a more serious and thoughtful expression on her face.

“I have a question”

Asami wiped the remnants of her tears from her cheek with her thumb and smiled encouragingly.

“Go ahead.”

“You and Korra…”

“What about us?”

“Are you two…is she your…?”

Kuvira trailed off, and it took Asami a couple seconds to realize what she was asking her. When she did, she felt the blood drain from her face, and her heart painfully skipped a beat in her chest.

How could Kuvira possibly have guessed…What did she….

Asami fumbled over her words as she struggled to piece together an answer.

“Korra! No. I mean, she’s not...We’re not…Its not like that. She’s just my friend”

Kuvira nodded with a thoughtful pursing of her lips, but Asami definitely could see a knowing glint in her eyes. Asami opened her mouth to continue, but Kuvira put her hands up in submission, signing for Asami to calm down.

“Hey. It’s ok. I obviously had the situation pegged wrong. I meant no offense. I just figured I’d ask.”

Asami exhaled in a rush, and struggled to compose herself. The suggestion coming from someone else that Asami and Korra shared a relationship beyond something other than close friends felt deeply unsettling. Asami scrambled for a way to change the subject to more comfortable ground.

“No. Nothing is going on between me and Korra. We’re just friends. I would guess much like you and Su.”

Kuvira snorted and for reasons Asami couldn’t understand started to laugh uncontrollably. Asami looked on in confusion, unsure if she was supposed to join in the laughter, or feel insulted.

“That’s probably not the best analogy you could have made Asami” Kuvira finally managed to get out once her laughter had subsided.

When Asami’s confused expression didn’t change, Kuvira chuckled and looked into her eyes, her brows raised suggestively.

“Su and I have had an…interesting…relationship. She has a very…open understanding with her husband.”

Again, it took Asami a moment to comprehend what Kuvira was saying. It almost seemed as though she was saying she had Su….

NO! What?!

“You and Su are…?”

“Lovers? Girlfriends? Not really. No. I’ve known since I was a child that I didn’t like boys, and Su is a very open and free individual. She kind of, oh I don’t know….helped me understand myself. For a couple months”

Kuvira’s admission left Asami completely and utterly shocked and speechless.

“It sounds so crass. I know. But I was young and curious, and you know how teenage crushes can be. There is absolutely nothing between Su and me now, and hasn’t been for a while.”

“That….was unexpected” Asami finally managed to say.

Kuvira nodded with an understanding smile, but again there was a knowing twinkle in her eyes that made Asami feel slightly uneasy.

She knows about me Asami finally realized. As if in answer, Kuvira’s face once more turned serious, though this time there was a hint of uncertainty in her eyes.

“Asami. I…I really like you and I didn’t want there to be any kind of secrets of that magnitude between us.”

Asami opened her mouth to interject, but Kuvira put up her hand and stopped Asami from interrupting.

“If you’re open to it, I would very much like to take you out…on a date”

It was only her extensive experience dealing in the corporate world that stopped her from dropping her jaw in disbelief. Kuvira frowned at Asami’s still and emotionless features.

“If I’m completely off base with my guess about you, I’m truly very sorry, and I hope I didn’t insult you in any way.”

Asami put her hand up in a silent plea for the metal bender to stop talking so she could think. Asami’s thoughts raced as she thought of every interaction she had had with Kuvira in this new light. It was a testament to how truly preoccupied and out of practice Asami to be truly surprised at the request. She usually was very good at being able to tell when someone was attracted to her, be they male or female. Looking back, it was obvious that Kuvira had been flirting pretty heavily pretty much from the beginning. Asami also realized she had been flirting back. And why not? Kuvira was smart and charming and very attractive in a subtle and very androgynous way. She was typically a little more masculine than the woman Asami normally found herself attracted to, but Asami had never been one to make decisions based solely on how someone appeared. Asami hadn’t been on a date in what seemed like forever, and the more she thought about it, the more she warmed to the idea of accepting the offer.

Kuvira waited patiently, utterly confident and sure in her posture expression. Her demeanor seemed to say that she would accept whatever answer she got with grace and understanding, and it was this that finally pushed Asami into making up her mind.

“I think I would like that”, Asami said with a hesitant smile. Kuvira’s face blossomed into a giant smile, and Asami found she quite liked the way the metal bender was looking at her. She felt special and cared for, and it was nice.

“You do me a great honor”, Kuvira said, bowing low in an overly dramatic way.

Asami laughed, and playfully rolled her eyes.

“Don’t go over the top here now. I only agreed to a date.”

“Well, I’m still honored. A date with Asami Sato isn’t something that should be taken lightly or for granted.”

“Oh stop it”, Asami said with a smile, gently bumping her should against Kuvira. Kuvira smiled back and leaned into the contact.

The thought of actually dating again was a little intimidating, but the strong and sure woman next to her steadied Asami’s nerves.


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