To Be Whole

Chapter 7

Asami


Asami looked back and forth between Korra and Kuvira, then tension so thick and heavy among the trio it could have been cut with a knife. Korra was sitting stiff backed and angry, studiously avoiding anyone’s eyes, though her gaze would occasionally shoot up to land on Asami with unease, and Kuvira with was what was best described as loathing. Korra’s reaction to the metal bender was extremely odd. For reasons unknown, the Avatar had seemed to take an immediate and intense dislike to Kuvira, and Asami couldn’t begin to guess why. She wracked her brain for a memory of when the two could have possibly met, but as far as she knew, Korra hadn’t had any more interaction with the metal bender than she had prior to meeting her more thoroughly the day before.

Kuvira was as calm as ever, but Asami couldn’t help but notice how when she had stepped back from shaking the Avatar’s hand, she had stepped more fully into Asami’s space. Though it was easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it, the message was there. Kuvira was silently and subtly staking her claim, though why she would feel the need was kind of confusing. It’s not as though Korra were any real threat. While Asami was sure that Kuvira had guessed at the nature of her true feelings for the Avatar, it’s not like there was the real possibility of anything ever coming of them. Korra only viewed her as a friend, and Asami didn’t see there ever being the possibility of that changing. Despite the irrationalness of the behavior, Kuvira’s message was clear: ‘Asami is mine and not yours. Nice to meet you though’.

Asami watched with increasing anxiety as her best friend squirmed uncomfortably in her chair. She couldn’t even begin to guess at what Korra was thinking, but it was clear that she wasn’t in the greatest place. Asami scrambled for a way to diffuse the situation before her fiery friend did or said something that would make the situation even worse.

“So…how was your day?” Asami asked.

“Fine.” Korra snapped out. Asami flinched at the curt response, and Korra noticed. She watched as the Avatar took a deep breath. Upon her exhale, her frown had eased a little, and she attempted what was probably meant to be a smile. The result however, was Korra looked like she was in a considerable amount of pain.

“I’m sorry. Healing stuff was hard today. I’m just a little tired...”

Asami nodded in understanding, but continued to look at Korra in concern. She saw Korra’s face darken once more and immediately after felt Kuvira’s warm hand on the small of her back.

“I should probably go check in with Su. She’s meeting with Lin later today, and I want to be there to see what it is my men and I can do to help.”

Asami felt Kuvira’s hand slide around her waist, enclosing her in a partial hug. Asami tore her eyes from Korra’s dark and gloomy expression to look at Kuvira to say good-bye.

“I understand.” Asami said, doing her best to mirror the easy smile that had come so naturally only moments before.

“Tomorrow night?”

Asami nodded, doing her best to ignore the daggers she could see shooting their way out of the corner of her eye. Korra’s behavior was starting to piss her off. It was one thing to be rude and mean to her close friends and family, but another alltogether to treat a total stranger this way.

“Of course.” Asami replied, confirming that they were set for their date.

Kuvira walked away, her hand trailing across Asami’s lower back, and gently clasping her hand in parting. The public display caught Asami a little off guard, and she glanced sharply at Korra once Kuvira’s fingers had finished sliding out of her own. Korra almost looked as though she were in pain, but once she saw Asami looking at her, her angry scowl snapped back into place.

Ok. Enough was enough. Once Kuvira was out of earshot, Asami crossed her arms across her chest and angrily glared down at the petulant Avatar.

“You want to tell me what that was all about?” Asami said, doing her best to keep her voice even and controlled.

“I was going to ask you the same thing” Korra spat back angrily.

Asami recoiled at the venom in the Avatar’s voice.

“What’s your problem Korra?”

Korra’s scowl impossibly deepened even further.

“My problem?! What’s yours!?” Korra spat back.

Asami resisted the urge to laugh meanly at Korra’s childish tantrum like behavior, and threw her hands up with frustration.

“I honestly don’t know what has gotten into you today, but you can’t just treat people like this. You can’t treat ME like this. I know you’re feeling bad with everything that’s going on with you, but snap out of it! I’m tired of being your punching bag!”

Korra recoiled as though she had been physically struck. She opened and shut her mouth several times, seemingly unable to figure out how to respond.

In absolute shock, Asami saw as Korra’s eyes filled with tears, and took a halting step forward. She was still extremely angry, but seeing Korra react so strongly was very difficult to watch. Korra recoiled upon seeing Asami’s hesitant advance, and visibly steeled herself, taking a deep breath that effectively stopped the tears.

Korra opened her mouth one more time, but the words seemed to get stuck in her throat, and she once again shut her mouth with an audible snap.

Asami couldn’t even begin to guess what the Avatar was thinking or feeling. Even though she was still very angry, not rushing to comfort Korra upon seeing her so upset and miserable was physically painful. Asami’s stomach twisted itself into a knot as she watched the Avatar pull herself together, constructing a wall around herself that was so thick and impenetrable, Asami could almost feel it.

Asami stared down at the Avatar, waiting for her to say something….anything…But Korra turned her head to the side and stared sightlessly at the ground, her eyes glazed with the thin sheen of unshed tears. Asami felt a wave of frustration so intense, she had to resist the urge to bend down and shake the Avatar until she got the reaction she was looking for. Even though Korra was right in front of her, she suddenly missed her friend so much her chest ached at the loss. For some reason, Korra wasn’t...Korra anymore.

Asami sighed heavily in defeat and turned around. Looking at the Avatar while she felt so closed off and upset was suddenly more difficult that Asami could bear. She took one hesitant step away, but stopped. Without turning, Asami spoke.

“Korra…I miss you. I miss my friend. Please come back to me.”

Though Asami wasn’t expecting an answer, she still felt achingly disappointed when Korra remained silent. Taking a deep breath and ignoring the slight catch in her throat, Asami walked away, leaving Korra alone with her thoughts to stew and simmer on the dock.

***

Asami didn’t see Korra for the rest of the day, and didn’t go to check on the Avatar the next morning like she usually did as well. She had slept terribly, her thoughts a swirling mess of memories of the drastic ups and downs of the day. Just when she thought her mind had calmed, Korra’s sad and dejected face would float to the surface of her consciousness, causing a deep ache in Asami’s chest. The poor sleep, coupled with the stress of fighting with Korra and the anxiety she felt over her date with Kuvira left Asami an absent-minded mess. Twice, she saw Korra in the distance being rolled around by some air acolyte, and the heady swirl of emotion left Asami feeling even more exhausted.

When the sun began to set, Asami decided that she should start getting ready for her date and returned to her room. She aimlessly ambled around her room pulling clothes out at random, only half paying attention to what she was doing. Everything felt so messed up and wrong. Asami ached for things to go back to how they had been when Korra was happy and whole and herself with an intensity that was almost painful. She missed Korra’s vibrancy and humor. She missed Korra’s easy laugh and warm smile. She was so sure the Avatar had actually started to get better. Seeing that Korra had wheeled herself to her room had appeared as the sign she had been looking for that things were on the up swing. All her hopes had been completely destroyed at the Avatar’s crazy mood swing at the docks.
Asami still couldn’t understand what had happened. It had almost seemed as though Korra was jealous, but she couldn’t understand why. As far as Korra knew, Kuvira was just another friend. Why had she reacted so intensely to the metal bender? The memory darkened Asami’s mood.

She had just started brushing her hair when she heard a soft knock on her door. Asami checked the clock on the wall in confusion while she stood to go see who it was. It was only 5, and Kuvira had stated that she would be waiting at the Air Temple docks around 6. She walked over and opened the door to find Korra in her wheelchair looking downcast and sad. Judging by the harsh circles under the Avatar’s eyes, it was clear she had had at least as much trouble sleeping as Asami did.

“Hey”, Korra said by way of greeting.

“Hi” Asami said, crossing her arms in front of her. The memories of Korra’s hurtful behavior were still fresh in her mind, and the resulting anger was a slow simmer just below the surface of Asami’s usually impenetrable calm.

“Um…can I talk to you?”

Asami gave a curt nod.

“Can I come in?”

Wordlessly, Asami stepped aside. Korra didn’t move, haltingly reaching up to scratch the back of her neck.

“I don’t know if I…Do you think you can…”

Asami knew what Korra was asking, but waited it out. Korra looked up at her imploringly, but when she didn’t move, the Avatar sighed and lowered her head in defeat.

“OK. OK. Asami, can you please help roll me into your room?”

The heiress wordlessly walked behind the chair, grasped the handles and rolled the Avatar into the room. She positioned Korra in front of her dressing table and walked back over to where she had previously been perched and sat, crossing her arms as she looked at the Avatar expectantly.

Korra squirmed a little in her chair, fiddling with her hands where they rested uneasily in her lap.

“So…How was your day?”

“Fine”

“You sleep ok?”

“Yep”

“Yeah…Me too.”

Asami didn’t move, and for a while, the two girls just sat in uneasy silence. Asami stared at Korra unapologetically, her arms still folded across her chest. She wore an expression usually reserved for when she had to deal with particularly difficult businessmen she knew were trying to cheat her out of something, and it was definitely having the desired effect. Korra was intently studying her hands as they twisted in her lap. When it became clear Asami wasn’t going to do anything to fill the tense silence, Korra took a deep breath and visibly steeled herself.

“Asami. I’m…I’m sorry about yesterday. I don’t know why I was acting that way, but I know it was stupid and wrong, and…and I’m sorry”

Korra looked up at Asami, her face the very definition of remorse and atonement. Asami felt a conflicting wave of frustration and compassion well in her chest. Damn Korra and those big puppy dog eyes! She was pretty sure the Avatar didn’t know the power she could wield when she turned that look on people, and fervently hoped she never would. Asami slowly exhaled through her nose, unaware that she had even been holding her breath. She relaxed her arms from their stiff and rigid hold around her chest and finally released Korra from her stare.

“I don’t know why, but it was…hard…seeing you with that…with Kuvira.” Korra continued as she took a deep breath.

“If felt like you were…Like I was…I don’t know. Being replaced or something.”

Asami’s head snapped up, and she studied her friend more closely. Korra’s eyes were dazed and she looked so sad and defeated, Asami felt her stomach twist. Just as she opened her mouth, Korra cut her off.

“I know its stupid. I just haven’t ever seen you with another friend that’s a girl. I don’t know why it makes such a difference. But seeing you with…Kuvira,” Korra visibly struggled with saying the name “It was just…different than seeing you with Mako and Bolin or anyone else.”

So her friend had been jealous. Korra’s reaction made much more sense now, and Asami suddenly felt a sharp sting of guilt. Now that she thought about it, she could understand why Korra would have felt uncomfortable. Team Avatar rarely came across anyone who wasn’t significantly older and looked at them all as practically children. Kuvira was the first person close to their age Asami had taken up spending time with, and furthermore, was the first woman. Asami leaned forward and tried to catch Korra’s eyes. The Avatar refused to look up, stareing with sightless eyes at her lap.

“Korra”, Asami began

“You know how much I care about you, right?”

Korra didn’t respond, but minutely nodded her head.

“Then you should know that nothing is going to change how I feel about you.”

Korra finally looked up, her eyes glazed with a thin sheen of unshed tears.

“But I’ve been so horrible to you. Why wouldn’t you want to…”, Korra trailed off and Asami was truly curious as to how she was going to finish that sentence.

Leave? Not be her friend anymore? Abandon her?

Asami’s heart broke when she realized the extent of Korra’s insecurities. She reached over and grasped one of Korra’s hands where it sat twisting in her lap.

“Hey. You’re stuck with me ok? I’m not going anywhere. No one is going to replace you. I will always care about you. Do you understand me?”

Korra finally looked up into Asami’s eyes.

Korra’s face was more pale than usual, but the natural dark tone of her skin served as a perfect frame for the azure orbs that carried the light of Korra’s very essence within. They’re so blue, Asami thought in wonderment. For a moment, she was lost. She couldn’t have looked away if she tried. Korra seemed transfixed as well, and Asami watched with curiosity as Korra’s jaw went slack, her lips parting ever so slightly, her brows knit in confusion. They were leaning so close into each other’s space that Asami could feel the faint breeze from Korra’s sweet breath, and could see how hers gently ruffled the loose hairs that framed the Avatars face. The spell was broken when Korra blinked, leaning back a little in her chair releasing a pent up breath in a rush. Asami blinked as well and released Korra’s hands from her hold, trying to clear the fog that had settled in her brain.

Korra cleared her throat and reached up to scratch the back of her neck; a familiar gesture Asami knew indicated that the Avatar was feeling self conscious and uncomfortable. Asami sympathized. She was definitely feeling more than a little dazed and confused herself. That had been…interesting.

“Thank you…I guess… I just needed to hear that. You know?”

Asami nodded in understanding, her mind racing for a way to bring things back to a more familiar and comfortable place.

“You going to be nice now?”

Korra laughed uneasily.

“I know. I know. I’ll definitely do my best.”

Korra looked around, noticing her surroundings for the first time.

“You going somewhere tonight?”

Crap.

“Um…yeah. I’m going to go to the city with Kuvira.”

Korra frowned a little, but Asami had to give her credit. The mood shift wasn’t nearly as severe as it had been the day before, and Korra looked like she was trying to compose herself and stay true to her word.

“Oh yeah. I remember.”

While the words weren’t spoken with nearly as much warmth as there had been moments before, she wasn’t snarling, so Asami was cautiously optimistic that she would be able to navigate her way through this conversation without it turning into a repeat of the day before.

“Why are there clothes all over your bed?” Korra asked in honest bewilderment.

“Just trying to figure out what I’m going to wear” Asami said with a shrug as she turned to pick up the brush so she could resume brushing her hair. Asami was proud. Her hands had stopped shaking, and there was only the slightest tremble in her fingers as they worked the brush.

“Why aren’t you going to wear what you always wear?”

If she weren’t so worried about breaking the fragile truce between them, or exposing the fact that she was actually going on a date, Asami would have laughed. However, she froze mid-way through a stroke of her brush, and scrambled to come up with a satisfactory answer.

“I…was thinking about showing Kuvira the swankier areas in Republic City, and didn’t want to be wearing my normal street clothes in case I ran into any of my investors.”

It was moments like this when Asami was particularly grateful for her experience working with cunning and ruthless businessmen and investors which had honed her ability to think quickly, and on her feet into a sharp and always prepared weapon. She hated lying to Korra, even if by omission, but the thought of telling the Avatar that she was going on a date with a woman, and had done so in the past was extremely terrifying. She had no idea how Korra would react, and the thought of Korra rejecting who she was, was more than Asami was willing to risk right then. She knew she would eventually have to tell Korra about herself, especially if this thing with Kuvira went anywhere, but she didn’t have it in herself to bring it up. Their once strong friendship felt weak and fragile and Asami was fairly sure a revelation of this magnitude would shatter it altogether.

Korra shakily rolled herself over to the bed and studied the various articles of clothing that were sprawled out. She picked up a small and low-cut silk tank top Asami had actually been leaning towards, and held it in front of her. Her face was an interesting mixture of horror and disbelief as she turned to Asami.

“You were thinking about wearing this?”

Doing her best to act as though there was nothing wrong, Asami shrugged and resumed brushing her hair.

“Yeah. I’m thinking about it.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little too…”,

Asami turned and looked at Korra, her eyebrow raised in question. In that moment, Asami wanted nothing more for her innocent and tomboyish friend to finish that sentence.

“You’ll be cold” Korra finished lamely.

It was a testament to Asami’s will power that she was able to hold in the laugh that had climbed its way high into her throat.

“I’ll wear a jacket. Thank you for your concern though.”

Korra let out a forced laugh, however the troubled look never quite left her eyes.

“That’s what friends are for…Right?”

***

Asami arrived at the docks with 15 minutes to spare, but Kuvira was already waiting by the railing. She rose from her seat to greet Asami once she saw the heiress walking her way, and gently grabbed Asami’s hand and raised it to her lips by way of greeting. Kuvira’s breath was cool on the back of her hand, and the lips that gently brushed her fingers were soft and sure. It was a testament to how out of practice Asami was at all this at the sudden wave of insecurity and nervousness that rushed over her in a wave. Trying to cover her sudden uncertainty, Asami took a step back and looked Kuvira up and down in mock scrutiny. The metal bender’s hair was pulled back into a low and loose ponytail. She wore a pair of grey slacks that fit snugly around the tall woman’s strong legs and hips and the loose black button up long sleeved shirt rolled up around her forearms was open enough at the collar to barely hint at the slight swell of her chest underneath. She looked strong and masculine, but with a softness only a woman could achieve. Asami had the sudden overwhelming curiosity at what Korra would look like wearing the same outfit. Kuvira saw the play of emotion flash across Asami’s face, and her confident smile faltered.

“Like what you see?” Kuvira said.

Asami snapped her mind back to the present and shook her head.

“Oh. You’ll do”, she teased.

Kuvira smiled at the joke, and took a dramatic step back, gently twirling Asami in a circle by the hand she still held, whistling in appreciation as she exaggeratedly surveyed Asami from top to bottom. Asami laughed and looked up at Kuvira with a raised brow. Asami had chosen a simple black dress with red highlights embroidered at the edges. The dress hung to just above her knees, and the heels she wore increased her height so she was almost eye level with the Zaofu native. She wore a light silk jacket and had a small black clutch purse tucked securely under her arm. It felt strange to be dressed up in such finery after so long. She felt naked and vulnerable and for a second, she wished she had gone along with Korra’s outfit choice that had consisted of heavily padded leather pants and a wool cream turtleneck (“What?! Its cold out” the Avatar had said in indignation when Asami had only laughed at the suggestion).

Kuvira shrugged with an endearing tilt of her head.

“You look alright I guess.” Asami barked out another laugh and lightly swatted at Kuvira’s arm with her purse. Kuvira playfully braced herself for the hit then rolled her eyes with a huge smile on her face.

“Asami. You look amazing. I feel like a very very lucky girl.”

Asami blushed at the unexpected compliment, her nervousness returning with a rush. Kuvira gently grabbed one of Asami’s hands and tucked it around her arm, ushering her down the dock towards where a small yacht was tied.

***

Asami took them to an elegant and quiet sushi restaurant located high above the docks. Kuvira was as courteous and thoughtful as ever, and Asami’s uncertainty melted away as they settled into the comfortable rhythm of conversation. Kuvira told her all about Zaofu, and her time with Su’s metal bending dance troupe. Asami shared more of her experiences going to school so far away from home, and they laughed at a particularly hilarious experience she had when first learning that she was attracted to women. Being able to open up and talk to someone so freely about herself was a welcome change.

After their meal they walked down the street in companionable silence. Kuvira’s hand brushed hers twice, before hesitantly hooking her pinky around Asami’s, pulling it closer so she could lace her fingers through the heiresses. Asami looked down at their joined hands then smiled up at the strong and sure woman besides her. As they walked, Asami contemplated how Kuvira’s hand felt twined with hers. It was warm and dry and big enough where Asami felt like her hand was slightly swallowed. It was different than when she held Korra’s hand. Korra’s hands while only slightly larger than Asami’s, were much more broad and calloused. She recalled how their joined hands had looked earlier that evening, and realized that seeing her pale skin starkly contrasted by Korra’s broad tan knuckles was kind of erotic. Kuvira pulled Asami from her thoughts when she gently bumped her shoulder and gestured to a bar at their right. Asami smiled guiltily. That was twice now that she had let her mind wander to the Avatar.

“Want to check this place out for a bit before we head back?”

Asami could just hear the faint tinkling sound of a live band that was playing within, and the building looked clean and respectable. She shrugged the affirmative and Kuvira smiled, gently tugging her along as they made their way across the threshold into the smoky and moderately occupied room within. It was crowded, but not overwhelmingly so, and more than half the patrons were dancing together to the fast paced music the musicians were expertly blasting into the room. It was too loud to try and continue talking, but Asami didn’t mind. Kuvira led the way to the bar, and rested her elbows on the countertop, pointedly looking for a bartender to come and take their order. Asami didn’t know if the bartender had actually seen them, or somehow could subconsciously tell that Kuvira wasn’t someone you made wait, but almost instantly Kuvira was turning to Asami with a glass of the red wine she had ordered at dinner held out in front of her.

They leaned against the bar in companionable silence, enjoying the music and the sight of the dancing patrons. Asami felt comfortable and at ease. It had been a long time since she had just gone out and enjoyed herself like this and realized at that moment just how much she had needed the break. Kuvira settled herself a little closer against the bar and casually reached her arm around Asami to rest her hand easily on the small of her back. Asami jumped a little at the contact, but at Kuvira’s questioning look, she smiled up at the metal bender in reassurance.

Asami started to zone out as she let the music swallow her in its soothing embrace. Knowing that conversation was impossible, she let her mind wander. I wonder what Korra would be like on a date, Asami found herself thinking. She looked up at Kuvira’s strong and confident profile. Probably nothing like the metal bender, Asami thought with a smile. Korra would probably be so nervous the whole time she would have made a mess of it in some way. She would have made some kind of inappropriate joke, then spent the rest of the date trying to apologize. Or maybe she would have accidently spilled something over dinner, or said something that could come across as overly assuming. Poor girl. She would take on psychotic rebels, anarchists or spirit beasts without even a second thought. Put her in a social gathering however, and the Avatar would crumble. While most didn’t understand, or got offended at Korra’s lack of social grace, Asami found it extremely endearing. She understood that Korra never meant any offense, and often times what got her in trouble was blurting out whatever came to her mind when it came to her mind. While sometimes exasperating, it was such a sharp contrast to what she had grown up with and become accustomed, that it was nearly always a welcome breath of fresh air.

Asami was thoroughly lost in her thoughts of the Avatar, when she was brought to the present abruptly by a gentle bump of her shoulder. Asami jumped, and looked up guiltily at Kuvira, sure the other woman had known what she was thinking, but the metal bender didn’t seem to have a clue as she leaned in to yell something in Asami’s ear to be heard over the loud music.

“Would you like to dance?”

That was definitely not something Korra would do. Asami frowned as she chided herself for letting her thoughts get so wrapped up in the Avatar again. She was on a date for spirits sake. She needed to start acting like it and not let her mind wander so freely to her beautiful and endearing friend back home. Instead of trying to yell back over the music, Asami nodded and pushed herself away from the bar. Kuvira smiled in response, and laced her fingers once again through Asami’s and led them both to the dance floor.

They danced to the next couple numbers. Asami was dreadfully out of practice, but was able to ease into the familiar flow and movements guided by Kuvira’s expert lead. The metal bender’s experience in a dance troupe became immediately apparent as her movements were smooth and sure and perfect. Neither of them knew the exact dance moves but were able to improvise, going off of each other’s queues. Eventually, when the band started up the next song, it was much slower than the others and Kuvira stepped forward without hesitation, placing a gentle hand on Asami’s hip. Asami looked up in surprise, momentarily irritated by Kuvira’s brazen confidence. The moment passed when the metal bender raised her eyebrows in question and Asami decided to let it go. She shrugged the affirmative and stepped forward to meet Kuvira’s body and they both began to sway in time to the gentle music in the air.

Kuvira gently lifted both of Asami’s hands until they were resting on her shoulders before confidently wrapping her own around Asami’s waist to rest one hand flat against the middle of her back, the other splayed slightly lower in the curve of Asami’s spine. Asami tried to relax into this new intimacy but found she was having more trouble than usual. Random images of Korra kept flashing through her mind sparking unfounded feelings of guilt and unease. With considerable effort, Asami pushed the conflicting thoughts from her mind and focused on the feel of the arms around her and the soft rocking of their bodies as they moved in time to the soft and sweet music. Kuvira gently rested her cheek against Asami’s temple and the heiress felt a cool breath brush across the slightly sweaty panes of her face. Asami did her best to ignore the subtle uncomfortable tightening of her stomach. What was wrong with her?

They danced together for the rest of the number but when the band started playing yet another slow song immediately after the first, Asami gently pulled away and leaned up so her mouth was even with Kuvira’s ear.

“I think I need some water.”

Kuvira nodded, and led them back off the dance floor towards the bar. Once they cleared the mass of gently swaying bodies, Asami looked at the clock. Tenzin’s beard! It was already midnight. She placed a hand on Kuvira’s shoulder to get her attention and stretched up so she could be heard.

“Actually it’s getting pretty late. Would you be alright with calling it a night?”

Kuvira looked over at the clock and frowned before nodding in agreement.

Once they were outside in the cool fresh night air, Asami sighed in relief. Knowing she was on her way back to the island immediately made her feel much better.

***

Asami and Kuvira made to back to the island around 1 in the morning. Kuvira gently helped Asami clear the gap between the hull and dock, her hands confidently spanning Asami’s waist. They walked slowly up to the main compound where the paths to their respective rooms split. After spending the evening in the city, the island felt unnaturally silent, so when they turned to say goodnight, it seemed natural that they both were whispering.

“Asami. I had a really wonderful time”, Kuvira said, lacing the fingers of both her hands around the shorter girls as she turned to face her.

Asami smiled encouragingly.

“I did too”

Kuvira took a hesitant step forward, their bodies close enough where Asami could feel the heat radiating off her larger frame, but not quite close enough where they were touching. For an inexplicable reason, Asami felt the almost overwhelming need to take a step back but managed to hold off the reaction. The moment passed, but Asami still felt the remnants of unease. There was nothing in particular that was wrong with the moment. She just wasn’t as…into it as she suspected Kuvira was. Her suspicions were confirmed when Kuvira lowered her head and rested her forehead against Asami’s and took a deep breath. Asami struggled to keep her eyes focused on the dark green orbs that hovered mere inches away from her own. Kuvira hesitantly and questioningly inched her face closer and Asami braced herself for what she knew was coming. She briefly considered stopping the advance but decided against it at the last second. Though she felt slightly uncomfortable and a little awkward, she allowed Kuvira to close the distance.

Kuvira’s lips met her own in the lightest brush of a contact before Kuvira brought their bodies even closer. Kuvira’s lips were gentle as they carefully caressed hers. She made no attempt to deepen the kiss, instead letting Asami have full control of when and if she wanted to continue, take the next step, or stop. It was soft, and sweet and careful and...boring. Asami broke the kiss feeling inexplicably disappointed, but at the metal bender’s radiant smile, she managed to give one back.

“You’re very special. I hope you know that.”

The metal bender’s words made Asami smile. Even though her feelings didn’t seem to be nearly as strong as the woman’s in front of her, it still felt good to hear someone regard her so highly. It was difficult to feel like anything out of the ordinary when constantly around the company she usually kept. It was a hard thing to feel special when your best friend was the Avatar.

“I would love to do this again if you’re open to it”

Asami smiled, but hesitated a moment before jumping in to agree. Over all, she would say the date had been a success. Pretty much every goal most had when attempting this particular milestone had been met. They had gotten to know each other better, redefined personal space and acceptable contact, and in general had had a good time throughout the entire event. So why didn’t she feel more excited at the prospect of a second? Kuvira was sweet and kind and beautiful. She treated her wonderfully and with a gentleness and consideration that even Mako hadn’t been able to quite achieve. Her hesitation made no sense. Sure, she didn’t quite feel that ‘spark’ or whatever it was, but maybe it would come with time. One thing Kuvira did do, was make her feel special and cared for in a way she hadn’t since before her father had betrayed her. No. Her doubts and reservations were silly and stupid.

“Of course” Asami said.

Kuvira smiled warmly before bending down for one last kiss. Asami was prepared this time, and closed her eyes as she tried her best to lose herself in the moment. Cut off from that one sense helped a lot, but when they pulled away and she opened her eyes to smile at the woman in front of her, she had a moment of extreme disorientation when the eyes that met hers were green, and not the blue she had been inexplicably been expecting.

“Goodnight”, Kuvira said sweetly, completely unaware of Asami’s thoughts.

Asami forced a smile, and drastically hoped it came across as sincere.

“Goodnight”, she replied.

The women parted ways, and Asami walked back to her room in a daze. The lack of sleep and couple glasses of wine were finally catching up with her. Her head felt foggy and her body was humming curiously as the last of the alcohol burned its way through her system. Just as she was passing Korra’s door she heard a soft whimper. Asami paused and strained her ears. When she heard it again, she felt her heart constrict with a painful jolt. It sounded like Korra was having another nightmare. She carefully removed her shoes and set down her purse before carefully and quietly opening the door to peek inside.

Korra was writhing in her sheets, her face pursed in fear and concentration, the occasional soft whimper and cry just barely escaping her lips. Asami quietly made her way to the bed and sat down. She gently began to rub Korra’s arms and back, softly chanting: “It’s ok. You’re ok. You’re safe.”

Korra curled in on herself with a sudden spasm and Asami quickly reached out and grabbed one of the sleeping girls hands.

“Korra. It’s ok. It’s just a dream. Relax. Shhhhh. You’re ok”

Korra gripped Asami’s fingers until it was almost painful, but thankfully began to relax as she slowly opened her eyes. Without warning, she hastily bolted up and looked around, her eyes wide with confusion and fear. She looked wild and scared as she winced in pain and panted heavily, scanning her surroundings for whatever threat had just been tormenting her. Asami noted with a painful twist that tears were tracking their way down the darker girls face and reached up to place a comforting hand on the Avatar’s shoulder to pull her close, resting her forehead reassuringly against Korra’s damp sweaty one. She slid her hand up to cradle the soft spot where Korra’s neck met her ear burying her fingers in her damp hair, and the Avatar turned her face into the contact, reached up a clammy hand and grasped Asami’s wrist, holding on as though it were her only anchor on a vast expanse of fear and uncertainty.

“Shhhh. You’re safe. It’s ok”

Korra’s panting breath washed over Asami in a dizzying wave and for a moment, she didn’t know who was holding on to who.

It took a while for Korra to calm down enough to realize that she wasn’t in immediate danger. When it settled in that she was safe and secure in her room, Korra’s body slumped and she let herself fall back to the bed. She was still breathing heavily, and Asami could see the thin sheen of sweat that covered the other girl’s skin. Her hair was matted in sweaty clumps around her face, and Asami had to resist the urge to reach out and brush them away. Korra threw an arm across her forehead. Asami knew it was to try and hide the fact that she had been crying. They sat in silence as Korra slowed her breathing, but she never released her death grip on Asami’s hand.

“Did I wake you up?” Korra asked, her soft voice broken and hoarse.

“No. I heard you on the way back to my room. It’s ok.”

Korra turned onto her side with her lower back pressed against Asami’s thigh. She pulled Asami’s hand closer to her chest and she could faintly feel the steady (if slightly fast) beating of Korra’s heart against the back of her fingers. Asami reached up with her free hand and resumed rubbing the Korra’s back with long, sure and steady strokes.

“You have a good time?”

Asami nodded.

“Yeah. It was nice…I missed you though”

The words slipped out before Asami realized what she had said. She flinched and went still, wishing she could take the words back. Why on earth had she said that? Asami felt Korra’s body stiffen for brief moment, but then she relaxed more fully into the bed, pressing her back even more into Asami’s leg. A small smile slowly formed in the corner of the Avatar’s mouth as she closed her eyes, gently gripping Asami’s hand a little tighter. Korra curled into a more comfortable position that exposed a little more of her back so Asami could have less restricted access as her hand trailed up and down the smaller girls torso.

Asami watched as Korra’s body continued to relax. The hand curled around her own slowly slackened, and Korra’s face softened as she slipped back to sleep. Asami breathed a sigh of relief as her comment was gone unanswered and slipped her hand out of the Avatar’s as she gave into the temptation to gently brush the back of her fingers across Korra’s cheek and clear the sweaty hair off her brow. Korra made a soft sound in the back of her throat, and Asami’s hand stilled. She was pushing it and she knew it. With a sigh of resignation, Asami stood. As she turned to leave the room, a soft voice froze her in place.

“I missed you too”, Korra mumbled.

Asami waited for Korra to say anything else, slowly turning to glance at the still figure behind her, however the Avatar looked to be fast asleep. Korra looked so beautiful and peaceful that Asami felt a slight ache at the sudden overwhelming urge to crawl beneath the covers along side her. Shaking the impossible thoughts out of her head, Asami left the room, closing the door carefully and quietly behind her.


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