To Be Whole

Chapter 9

Asami


“Do you really trust her?”

“Hmm?”

“Kuvira.”

Asami held in the frustrated groan that was bubbling at the back of her throat.
If there was one person she desperately didn’t want to think about in this moment, it was Kuvira. Not when she was laying so close and intimately with Korra. Before she could lose her nerve, Asami inched closer until she could feel the contours of Korra’s body pressed against hers.

“Korra?”

“Yeah.”

“Can we just lay here for a bit and not talk?”

Korra laughed and the vibrations reverberated through Asami’s chest and down into her core.

“Yeah.”

“Thank you.”

A voice in the back of Asami’s mind was screaming at her for being so foolish and stupid, but she forced it down so she could just enjoy herself a moment longer. Asami could hear Korra’s steady heartbeat from where her head was pillowed on the Avatar’s chest, and the steady thumping was like music to her ears. Korra had reached up and was idly twisting Asami’s hair through her fingers again. Her hipbone was also pressing lightly into Asami’s lower abdomen.

The moment would have been perfect, if not for the fact that she was in a constant battle with guilt as it tried to claw its way to the surface. She felt guilty for how much she was enjoying the feel of Korra’s body pressed against her own. She felt guilty for feeling this way after having kissed someone else the night before. Mostly she felt guilty because she was getting so much enjoyment out of her friends desire for comfort. Asami felt dirty and wrong. It was this particular strand of guilt that eventually proved to be too much.

Asami lifted herself up from where she had been cradled in Korra’s arm and sat at the edge of the bed. The feeling of loss as the distance between them increased was so acute, Asami felt her eyes sting with the beginning of tears. Before it could escalate further, she took a deep and steadying breath and stood.

“Are you okay?” Korra asked, her voice thick with concern.

Asami squeezed her eyes shut and released her breath in a rush before forcing a smile and turned to Korra.

“Yeah. I’m okay. I just need to start getting ready.” She gestured to her pajamas and robe. “Can’t go to a war meeting dressed like this.”

She tried to sell the joke with a nervous laugh, but it sounded so faked even to her own ears that she quickly turned her head and winced.

When she turned back, Korra had worked herself up until she was propped up on her elbows, tilting her head slightly to the side. Her bangs slid over until they slightly obscured one of her eyes and she was worriedly biting her lower lip. Asami almost swore aloud at the resonating pang that shot through her core.

“I’m just… I’m gonna go,” Asami stammered, absently jerking her thumb in the direction of the door.

Korra opened her mouth, but Asami cut her off.

“I’ll send Kya in to help you get dressed. I just… yeah.” She slipped out the door, pausing to peek her head back in one last time. “I’ll pick you up for the meeting later.”

Asami shut the door behind her and slumped against the hard surface. She curbed the impulse to bang her head back against the wood, but only because she knew Korra would hear and be worried. Asami’s chest ached at the sad irony of their situation. Sweet, innocent and sheltered Korra was seeking comfort in her secretly bisexual best friend who may or may not be in love with her.

This was getting to be a little too much. Asami’s feelings for Korra had been easy to manage when the Avatar was being moody and depressed. What she’d encountered this morning was an entirely different story.

She needed to get over this. Somehow, she needed to get the Avatar out of her head. She’d rather have unrequited feelings than lose Korra as a friend altogether, and if things kept going as they were, Asami was going to screw it up.

***

Asami picked Korra up several hours later. Asami had used the time to calm herself down and, thankfully, when she opened the door to Korra’s room, the only indication the Avatar gave in reference to Asami’s strange behavior was a concerned glance as Kya helped her into her chair.

Asami took over manning Korra’s chair as they began their journey to the airship that was going to take them into the city. The silence was a little heavier than usual between the two friends, but Asami couldn’t think of any way to fill it. Every time she looked down at Korra’s bare shoulders, all she could think of was how comfortable and soft Korra’s skin had been as she had been nestled in the crook of her arm. Korra seemed lost in thought as well and did nothing to try and fill the silence either.

Once they were on the airship, Asami was relieved of the tension as Tenzin and Su came over to begin filling them in on what had been occurring throughout the kingdom. Asami let her mind wander and before she knew it, the ship had docked, and they were all making their way over to the international meeting room the president had offered as headquarters for all efforts involving the Earth Kingdom crisis.

Asami was about to roll Korra into the room when she heard her name called out. When she turned around, a short man in glasses was running towards her down the hall.

“Miss Sato! I had hoped to run into you.” The squat man, obviously an aid of some sorts, drew level with Asami and her friends. In his hand was clutched a folded piece of paper which he immediately held out for Asami to take.

“Word had it that you were going to be joining the Avatar at the war counsel today, and I was asked to give you this.”

Asami unfolded the paper and quickly scanned the contents. It was from her Vice President at Future Industries, and he was hoping they could have a meeting. Asami felt guilty as she read the pleading tone in the note. Ever since Korra had been injured, Asami had nearly neglected her company in favor of taking care of her friend. While she would take the occasional phone call and returned letters as frequently as she could, it had been weeks since she had visited the factory or attended any meetings.

When Asami looked up, Korra reached out and laid a soft hand on her arm.

“Don’t worry about it, Asami. Just go. I’ll fill you in on everything later.”

Asami bit her lip in indecision. It was really important that she checked up on her company, but she was a little worried about not being there to support Korra during the meeting.

“Are you sure?” Asami asked.

Korra smiled warmly and nodded her head.

“Hey. This is my job. You have yours. I’ll see you after.”

Before Asami had the chance to respond, Korra nodded up at Tenzin. Tenzin stepped forward and took over manning Korra’s chair as she wheeled them both into the room. Korra looked over her shoulder one last time and gave Asami an encouraging smile before the door was closed behind her. With the matter settled, Asami turned and walked away to go deal with her company.

***

A little over two hours later, Asami was leaving the factory. She had worked furiously to settle disputes, sign papers, and double check order forms. She approved blueprints for prototypes, and made adjustments as she saw fit. For the most part, everything was running smoothly, and for that Asami was grateful. By the end, she was exhausted.

Just as she was opening the door to her Satomobile, a hand landed on her shoulder. Asami didn’t think. She only reacted. In one swift move, she grabbed the hand and ducked, pivoting her hips as she twisted so as to wrench the offending wrist in an unnatural position and caused the other person to drop to the floor in pain.

“UNCLE! UNCLE!” Asami heard a familiar voice cry out.

“Mako?” Asami said, noting once her hair had swung out of the way that she recognized spasming figure on the floor beneath her. She hastily released the wrist, and Mako slowly rolled himself to his feet, rubbing his hand with an offended look on his face.

“What the heck, Asami? I just wanted to say hi,” Mako said. Though his tone was scolding, Asami knew him well enough to detect the hint of humor.

Asami laughed and stepped forward to hug her friend in a tight embrace.

“Sorry, Mako. Can never be too careful.”

Mako grunted but was equally enthusiastic when he hugged her back.

Asami was grateful that everything had settled between them. After the awkward situation they had all been in, it had taken Mako a while to relax around her. While Asami’s feelings for the firebender had ran the gamut, ranging from what she had thought was love, to irritation and hurt, she now viewed him as one of her closest friends and would readily trust him with her life.

“Nice to see you too,” Mako said with a wry twist of his lips.

“How’d you know I was here?” Asami asked in confusion.

“I actually followed you here to write you a speeding ticket, but I guess I’ll let that slide. Been waiting for you to get out ever since.”

Asami laughed. “Why thank you, officer,” she said with a silly and over the top bow.

Mako nodded back with his most curt and cop like expression. “Just dont let it happen again ma’am.”

Both started laughing. Asami opened her door and gestured to the passenger side. “Korra’s in a war meeting, and I don’t know how long it’s going to last. I’m headed back to the Capitol Building. You should join me. I’m sure Korra would be very happy to see you.”

Mako smiled and nodded, walking over to the passenger side of the Satomobile.

They sat in silence while Asami navigated the vehicle away from the factory and onto the busy streets of Republic City. It was a short drive to the Capitol Building, and Asami could have walked, but she missed driving and relished the few opportunities she got.

“So… How’s she doing?” Mako finally asked.

Asami looked over and raised an eyebrow. “You know, if you came by the island every once in a while you could see for yourself.”

Mako looked down and twisted his hands nervously in his lap. “You know I would… But work, and… you know… stuff.”

Asami continued looking at him, letting the firebender squirm for a little longer. Mako had initially been by the island nearly every day, but as Korra’s mood had steadily plummeted, Mako had slowly weaned his visits to a bare minimum. It had been nearly two weeks since he had last made his way over, and though Asami couldn’t entirely blame him, she was still a little irritated that he had allowed Korra to feel so abandoned by her friends.

When Asami didn’t let up on her pointed stare, Mako slumped his shoulders and let out his breath in a rush.

“I know. I’m an ass. She’s just been so…”

“Bitchy?”

“I was gunna say difficult, but that works too,” Mako said with a shrug.

Asami snorted. “She’s actually doing better. We also may know why she has been taking so long to heal, so there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and her attitude has been a little better.”

Mako looked over with raised brows. “This doesn’t have anything to do with Toph, does it?”

Asami nearly jerked the car off the road in her surprise. “It does, actually. Why do you ask?”

“Lin was in an unusual mood today. Got sent on traffic duty for telling her good morning. Then I overhead the Captain talking about how ‘excited’ she was about her mother coming to visit.”

Asami’s heart pounded painfully in her chest in her overwhelming excitement. “Mako! That’s amazing. When did Lin say she was going to be here?”

“Well, from the sound of it, I think she should arrive later this evening.”

Asami couldn’t believe their luck. When Su had said she had possibly found her mother, she didn’t dare to hope that the metal bender would be arriving so soon.

“Why do you guys need Toph?” Mako asked.

Asami explained Su’s guess as to Korra’s limited progress, and at the end Mako was every bit as excited as Asami.

***

They continued to chat easily as Asami arrived at the Capitol, and they both made their way to the international meeting room. The door was still closed, and Asami guessed the meeting was still in session. She was just deciding whether or not to slip inside or wait by the door when she heard a familiar loud voice from within. A very angry loud voice. Mako and Asami shared a look of concern before Asami opened the door and peered inside. What she saw made her stomach twist in anxiety.

Korra and Kuvira were at it again, but this time, the Avatar was losing the battle of controlling her temper, and Kuvira wasn’t faring much better. Tenzin heard the door open and looked over at Asami with a pleading look in his eyes. She stepped further inside with and surveyed the havoc that was within.

It was extremely clear that the dislike between the two women was very mutual. It didn’t matter what point one made. The other would contradict.

“Avatar Korra. You haven’t seen the devastation first hand. You have no idea how dire this situation truly is,” Kuvira said, slamming her fist on the table for emphasis. “The only clear option that will be most effectual is to impose nationwide martial law. Subdividing the kingdom into a set of heavily regulated camps is the only choice.”

“Making these camps necessary is only going to make things worse!” Korra yelled back. “You weren’t here during the Equalist Revolution. Tarlock thought the same thing, and look how that turned out!”

Kuvira crossed her arms across her chest and pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration.

“This is a completely different situation. Which you would know, if YOU HAVE SEEN IT!” Kuvira yelled back.

Korra threw up her hands with a grunt before whirling on Tenzin.

“C’mon, Tenzin! Back me up here!”

Tenzin squirmed uncomfortably in his chair. While Korra was still a shadow of her usual self, the water tribe girl was pretty terrifying when she was angry.

“It would only be a temporary, Korra.” the airbender said. “The crime rate is getting out of hand. Murders are a daily occurrence and no one feels safe.”

“Then make it optional!” Korra yelled back.

Kuvira opened her mouth for a retort when Su softly cleared her throat.

“I think enough has been discussed today. It’s clear we are not all on the same page, and I think it would be best if we take a break to think about everything a little longer.”

There was a collective sigh of relief throughout the room. Kuvira and Korra glared angrily at each other for a moment longer before Kuvira turned to Su and gave her a curt nod. She then hastily grabbed the stack of papers in front of her and walked out the door on the far side of the room, slamming it with unnecessary force behind her.

Asami nodded for Mako to follow, and fully entered the room, walking over to where Korra sat. Korra was almost shaking with anger and rage, and when Asami looked over her shoulder at Mako, the firebender’s eyes were wide with fear. He put up both hands and shook his head as he slowly backed away. Asami rolled her eyes and sat in the vacant chair to the Avatar’s right.

Korra’s hands were balled into fists where they lay resting on the table and her whole body was humming with tension. Asami reached out and gently rested her hand atop one of Korra’s fists. The Avatar jumped a little at the contact and looked over sharply. Her face was twisted in frustration, but Asami did her best to not be affected. She rubbed her thumb along the backs of Korra’s taut knuckles, and eventually Asami could see some of the tension easing out of the smaller girls body. Korra’s face softened, but she was still frowning.

“Your friend is an idiot,” Korra growled.

Asami frowned. “You just have different opinions. This is a tough situation.”

“Yeah, well, her opinions are wrong.”

Korra had loosed her hand from its fist and was loosely twining her fingers through Asami’s. She gently began to rub her thumb along the length of the heiresses’ long, elegant fingers. As soon as Asami became aware, the touch started sending tingles up her arm, so she gently removed her hand and stood.

“Let’s go home,” Asami said with a soft smile.

Korra looked up with a slight frown then reluctantly bowed her head with a nod.

As they rolled by Mako, Korra reached out and lightly punched his leg.

“Hello to you, too, Inspector. I’d almost forgotten what your frown looked like.”

Mako jumped and reached up to rub the back of his neck, a blush creeping past the neckline of his shirt.

“Oh. Hi, Korra. Sorry…I-”

“Just shut up and open the door.”

Mako grimaced. Asami couldn’t help but laugh as he hastily ran over and opened the door so she could wheel the feisty Avatar through.

Mako looked at Asami helplessly as they passed, but she only shrugged her shoulders. Mako was going to have to get out of this one on his own.

***

The group was just boarding the airship when Asami heard someone call out her name. Everyone looked over their shoulders, but before Asami could see who it was she saw Korra’s shoulders tense and her back stiffen.

“Who’s that?” Mako asked.

“Hey, Kuvira,” Asami greeted without even looking first, taking a step away from Korra. She was fairly certain Kuvira was going to probably want to greet with a hug, and she didn’t want to be closer than necessary to the Avatar when that happened.

Sure enough, Kuvira enclosed her in a half arm hug once she drew near, and the daggers that were shooting out of Korra’s eyes were a tangible force.

“Can I talk to you for a moment?” Kuvira asked. While her tone was courteous and business like, the metal bender almost seemed nervous.

Asami turned to Mako and Korra where they were waiting by the ramp. Mako was looking back and forth from Kuvira to Korra in obvious confusion. Korra simply rolled her eyes and swatted Mako’s arm to get his attention.

“Help me out here, Inspector. It seems I am unable to take care of myself in my ‘present condition’ and am in need of assistance. You know. Because of my ‘current state’.”

Asami winced at Korra’s mimic of Kuvira from the morning. The Captain didn’t notice.

Mako rolled Korra onto the ship, giving Asami a look that begged for an explanation later.

“How long will you need?” Mako called down once he had reached the top.

Asami opened her mouth to reply when Kuvira cut her off.

“I can get her back to the island myself.”

At Asami’s sharp look, Kuvira blushed.

“That is, if she doesn’t mind.”

Asami weighed her options. She honestly wanted to be up there with Korra to help her friend calm down and feel better. But then the memory of that morning resurfaced. What if Korra wanted to lie down and cuddle again? Or started looking at her with those puppy dog eyes?

No. Asami had promised herself she would start trying to get the Avatar out of her head. This was the perfect start.

“I’ll be fine,” she called up to Mako. Mako nodded, but Korra frowned and crossed her arms. Thankfully she didn’t say anything. Once the airship and set off, Asami turned to Kuvira.

“What’s up?” She asked, intentionally keeping her tone light.

“Would you like to go for a walk with me?” Kuvira asked, hold her arm out expectantly.

Asami shrugged and took her arm.

They walked in silence over to the edge of the dock. Both leaned against the railing. It was almost a direct mirror of the first time they had toured the city together, but the energy between them couldn’t have been more negative. It was a while before Kuvira said anything.

“I’m sorry for this morning and what you saw in the meeting.”

Asami frowned, but stayed silent.

“Avatar Korra is an incredible woman. But she’s so young. It’s difficul-”

“Kuvira?” Asami interrupted.

Kuvira jumped at the interruption and looked down questioningly.

“Can we not talk about Korra, please?”

Kuvira frowned and for a moment looked like she was going to argue. Eventually, she nodded her head, and remained silent.

“Is that all you wanted to talk about?” Asami finally asked.

Kuvira scrunched her face in thought then bowed her head.

“Not really. I mean, I did want to apologize about how I’m sure I came across at the meeting as rude.”

“That apology shouldn’t really be for me,” Asami said. There was a bite to her words, but Asami refused to back down as she stared unflinchingly at the Zaofu captain.

Kuvira nodded. Without warning, she turned. She reached down and gently grasped both Asami’s hands, looking intently into her eyes.

“I need to ask you a question.”

Asami felt her stomach drop, fairly certain where this conversation was going. She gently tried to pull one of her hands away, but the Captain held on.

“Kuvira…I-”

“Is there anything going on between you and Korra?”

Damn.

Asami’s mind raced for a way to answer the question, but her mind was coming up blank. The only thing she could truly register was just how much she hated hearing Kuvira say Korra’s name.

“Korra is my best friend.”

“But do you have feelings for her?”

Asami felt a wave of irritation swell up, and she took a deep breath to try and beat it down. That was a question she had no idea how to answer even if only to herself. Was she attracted? Absolutely. But she also would never do anything that had the potential to compromise her friendship with the Avatar in any way.

“Korra is the strongest, bravest, most compassionate person I have ever met. When I had lost nearly everything to my name, there were few people that were around to help pick me back up, and Korra was one of them. Right now, I’m returning the favor.”

Asami hoped the answer would get her off the hook, but Kuvira still wouldn’t let go of her hands, and her stare was getting to be decidedly uncomfortable. Asami felt her irritation cause something to snap. Before she was even certain of what she was going to say, Asami unloaded.

“Look, I love Korra. I always will. We’ve been through too much together for that to ever change. If you have a problem with that, I understand.”

Kuvira finally released her hands and looked away. It was only then that Asami realized the venom that was in the words. Kuvira had an unreadable expression on her face, and Asami was hit with a wave of exhaustion so acute, she folded her arms on the railing and hung her head.

“I’m sorry if my question made you uncomfortable,” Kuvira finally said.

Asami couldn’t think of anything to say back, so she remained silent.

“Look, Asami, I like you. I like you a lot. It’s hard seeing how close you two are. You two share a bond. That much is obvious. I just needed to hear from you that all that is there is friendship… But, I guess not.”

Asami shrugged from where she was leaning over the railing.

“I’m sorry,” Kuvira finished.

When Asami didn’t speak up, Kuvira reached out a hesitant hand and placed it on her hip. Asami initially tensed at the contact but willed herself to relax. Either Kuvira didn’t notice or chose to ignore it, for when Asami didn’t pull away, she took another step closer and wrapped her arms around Asami’s smaller frame.

Kuvira just held her, and Asami did everything she could to calm her racing thoughts. She tried to focus on the feel of the arms around her and the steady breath on her neck. She tried to relax into the solid body in front of her and revel in the feel of the other woman’s strong back under her hands. She tried and she tried and she tried.

“Can I take you out again?”

Kuvira’s mouth was right next to Asami’s ear when she spoke, and the vibrations crashed through her body in a wave. However, instead of making her feel giddy and excited, she felt even more tired.

“When?” Asami asked, pulling back from the hug.

Kuvira smiled and swept her arm in a grand gesture around her.

“Well… We’re already here. We could just make the best of it.”

Asami was already shaking her head in the negative.

“Not tonight, Kuvira. I’m very tired, and I need some down time.”

Kuvira’s face fell, but she nodded in understanding.

“What about tomorrow night?”

Asami rubbed her face with her hand and tried to ignore the steady headache that was forming at the base of her skull.

“We’ll see.”

Kuvira gently removed Asami’s hand from her face and looked at her with a piercing gaze.

“Asami. If you don’t want to go out again, you can just-”

“No, no. Please. I do,” Asami hastily spat out. She honestly didn’t know why she said it, but the words were out. “It’s just been a long day. I’d really like to go home. Come find me tomorrow. I think tomorrow night should be fine.”

At that moment, all she wanted was to be back on the island. It’s funny, because though she had only been living there regularly since Korra had been injured, that peaceful and quiet island felt more like a home than her Sato mansion ever did. Whether that had anything to do with the inhabitants (specifically one inhabitant in particular) or not was something she chose not to think about too closely.

Kuvira studied Asami a moment longer before she apparently was satisfied with her answer. She took Asami’s arm in hers once again and resumed walking back to the docks.

Kuvira offered to fly Asami back in one of the Zaofu airships, but Asami declined. Instead, she signed off on a speedboat and made her way back solo, lost in her thoughts the whole way.

***

By the time Asami made it back to the island, it was quiet. Asami guessed everyone had already sat down for dinner. Not feeling up to being around other people just yet, she began to wander aimlessly around the island.

Two things had become abundantly clear that day.

One, she didn’t really have feelings for Kuvira. Sure, the metal bender was attractive and kind, but seeing the way she had talked to Korra had made Asami realize that were she to ever have to choose between the two, she would pick the Avatar every time.

Secondly, her feelings for Korra were starting to get out of hand. She had known she had a crush for a while now. It had started at some point after Harmonic Convergence, but Asami couldn’t have said exactly when. All she knew, was that when she had seen Korra fall out of the sky during her fight with Zaheer and everyone thought she was going to die, Asami felt as though a part of her was dying too.

The pain had been worse than when her father had betrayed her, and it dwarfed the sensation of loss she felt when she thought she was going to lose her company, The only thing Asami could think of to compare the sensation was when she was told her mother had been stolen from her life in the most brutal way. Even that didn’t quite feel as bad. She had only been six when her mother had died. Watching Korra’s life fade away was easily the most painful experience of Asami’s life.

Asami rounded a corner and yelped as she nearly collided with someone. In the dim light, she wasn’t able to make out who it was.

“Shit. Asami! You scared the crap out of me!”

Ah, Mako again.

Unable to help it, Asami started to laugh. She laughed and laughed, and before she knew it, tears were streaming down her face. Mako started to laugh with her, but once Asami didn’t stop, he started looking at her in concern. Asami couldn’t stop, but once she tried to pull in a deep breath and felt it catch on a sob, she realized she wasn’t laughing anymore.

Mako pulled her into a fierce hug, and Asami was helpless against the sobs as they wracked through her body. He gently led them to a nearby bench and sat. He rocked her for what felt like hours as Asami wordlessly let everything out. The pain and fear at almost losing Korra. The hurt and anger at the Avatars unbearable mood swings. Her confusions and frustration at the feelings she had that she knew could never be reciprocated. Everything had suddenly become too much, and Asami was helpless as it all poured out of her in a steady stream down her face.

Once she was able to breath again, Mako wordlessly took one of her hands in his.

“I’m sorry,” Asami said. There was still a slight catch to her breath, but at least now she was able to speak.

“Don’t be sorry. That’s what friends are for right?”

Asami groaned and dropped her head in her hands.

“Want to tell me what’s wrong?” Mako gently pushed.

Asami groaned again. How could she even start? Why would she? She opened her mouth to decline the offer but stopped. She realized that more than anything, what she wanted was to confide in someone. Yeah, pouring your heart out to your ex boyfriend about how you were in love with his ex girlfriend probably wasn’t the smartest way to go, but Mako had always been there for her, and she sensed that he probably wasn’t the worst person she could confide in.

“Mako. I’m a mess.”

“I see that,” he replied with a laugh. “Just tell me what’s wrong.”

Asami threw her head back and took a deep breath. “It might change the way you look at me, though.”

Before the words were out of her mouth, Mako had grasped her other hand as well and squeezed them both.

“Asami. Nothing is going to change how I feel about you. You are one of my best friends. We’ve been through too much for that to change.”

Asami nodded and wiped her eyes with the back of one of her hands. Asami drew in a deep breath and took the plunge.

“There’s something I have to tell you. Something no one really knows about me.”

Mako didn’t say anything, but gently squeezed her hands gesturing for her to continue.

“I… I’m… bisexual.”

Mako didn’t say anything but looked at Asami in confusion.

“I like boys... And girls. In the same way,” Asami clarified.

Mako didn’t move and continued looking at her with that weird look. Asami felt her heart sink. She was sure that at any moment Mako was going to rip his hands away from hers and barrage her with a bunch of questions. She looked down at her hands, and waited with slumped shoulders for the interrogation to start. She felt a slight rocking to her left and looked up.

Mako was laughing. It started as a slight giggle, but when Asami looked up at him in confusion, he started laughing in earnest, wrapping his arms around his stomach to hold himself self up.

“What?” Asami asked, genuinely confused.

When Mako only started to laugh harder, Asami frowned and stood in a rush. Obviously, he thought this was some kind of joke and Asami was done.

She kicked his shin as she walked past, and Mako gasped in pain, but managed to reach out and grasp her wrist her wrist firmly.

“Wait… As… Asami… no… wait!” Mako gasped out in between bouts of laughter and winces.

Asami turned around and folded her arms expectantly across her chest. Mako shakily stood, his weight on his good leg, and wiped the tears from his eyes, trying to stem the fading laughter.

“Is that why you are so upset?” Mako finally got out. “‘Cause I’ve known that for a while now.”

Asami balked at the statement, shocked into silence.

Mako rolled his eyes.

“Asami. We dated for a while. You think I never noticed how every time I was checking another girl out you were too? And the way you talk about women!?” Mako shook his head and chuckled. “It was pretty obvious. It never bothered me, so I never thought I should bring it up.”

Asami stared back in incredulity. “You don’t think its weird?” Asami asked hesitantly.

Mako snorted. “Actually, I thought it was pretty hot.”

Asami playfully punched him in the shoulder, and Mako laughed as he ducked.

“No. I didn’t think it was weird. I mean, who am I to judge?”

At Asami’s raised brow, Mako smiled and raised both hands defensively. “Okay, okay. Who am I to judge on something like this?” He clarified.

Asami let out a sigh of relief and dropped her arms from where they had been clamped around her waist. The sadness slowly started to creep back in and Mako noticed. He took a step forward and put an arm around her shoulders, leading her back to where they had been sitting.

“That can’t be why you’re upset, though. Tell me what’s going on,” Mako nudged again. “Does this have something to do with that girl from Zaofu?”

Asami closed her eyes and leaned her head back on the wall behind them. “Kind of.”

“Did she hurt you?” Mako asked. All humor that had been in his voice was gone, replaced by an intensity that left little to the imagination with what he would do were that the case.

Asami cracked a little smile at her friend’s protectiveness but shook her head. “No. It’s nothing like that.”

“Oh. Well… are you two…”

Asami groaned again and bumped her head lightly on the wall behind her. “Sort of.”

“But that’s… bad?”

Asami turned her head and opened one eye to peek at her friend. Mako looked thoroughly confused and was scratching the back of his head.

“I don’t know.”

“Hmm.”

“I have feelings for someone else.”

“Oookay! Now we’re in familiar territory,” Mako said excitedly, sitting up as he rubbed his hands together in enthusiasm.

Asami laughed and swatted at him with her arm. Of course. He would be an expert in this kind of situation. It was the very definition of the triangle that had gone on with Korra, Mako, and Asami. Mako seemed to realize the connection as well, for he ducked his head in shame.

“Oh, yeah. Sorry”

Asami laughed and shook her head. “I think we’re all past that by now Mako. It’s okay.”

Mako pulled himself together and turned to Asami. “So who is… this person?”

Asami laughed again. “I’d rather not tell you. But I care about this person a lot.”

“Hmph.”

“And I’m pretty sure this person won’t ever feel the same way about me. So that’s hard.”

“Okay.” Mako nodded.

“It’s just… I don’t think I’ve ever cared about someone this much before. I’ve never felt this way. It’s really scary, and I don’t know what to do.”

Mako nodded again and folded his arms, lightly clasping his chin with one of his hands. “But you don’t want to tell him?...Er ...or her?”

Asami’s eyes widened in fear. “No! How could I? It could ruin everything.”

“How so?” Mako frowned.

“I’d rather have this person as a friend than not have them in my life at all.”

Mako nodded. “Or,” he reached out and grabbed one of her hands, waiting patiently for Asami to look up, “You can tell Korra how you feel and maybe find out she feels the same.”

“You don’t know that! You- ”

Asami felt her face drain as the implication of Mako’s words finally hit her. He was looking at her with a gentle smile. Asami stood and started pacing. How the hell had he known she was talking about Korra?

“Asami. Calm down.”

When Asami continued pacing, Mako stood and tried to reach out a comforting hand. Asami shrugged it off.

“Look. If it makes you feel better, I’m pretty sure no one else knows.”

Asami rounded on Mako with wide eyes. “Someone else knows!?”

Mako blanched. “No, no, no. God. What is it with girls and their hearing?! They never seem to actually hear what you’re saying.”

“Well, how did you know?” Asami yelled back. Mako winced at the loud noise and motioned for them to keep it down.

“Well, for starters, I know you. I know first hand how you treat someone and look at someone when you care about them in that way… so yeah. It wasn’t that much of a stretch when you started talking about how you have feelings for someone.”

Asami felt the fight leave her in a rush, and she walked back to the stone bench and slumped down.

“Mako... I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Mako followed her over. “I know this is going to sound really weird coming from me. I mean, I should have a medal or something for avoiding feelings and stuff... But honestly? I think you should just tell her.”

Asami groaned and buried her face in her hands. How could he make it sound so easy?

“Look. I know both of you. And it’s obvious you guys have a friendship that is deeper than anything the rest of us share. You seem to calm her down and can talk to her in a way no one else can. It’s amazing really. And whether or not those feelings are… I dunno… the way that yours are, you aren’t just a friend to her either. That much I know for sure.”

“How can you be so sure?”

Mako threw up his hands, and rolled his eyes. “Asami. C’mon. Even you know that you can get away with saying pretty much anything to our dear Avatar without getting your head bit off. Who else can do that? And when she needed so much help in the beginning with her legs and all, who was the ONLY person she would allow near her?”

Asami opened her mouth with an argument, and Mako stilled her with a touch.

“Stop trying to think about how wrong I am, and just think about what I said.”

Asami shut her mouth with an audible snap.

The possibility that there was substance to what Mako was saying was almost too much to hope for. She wanted more than anything for it to be true. However, the prospect of allowing herself to hope and to open up like that only to be shot down was absolutely terrifying.

Mako could see the conflict in her face and pulled her in for a hug.

“Just think about it, okay?”

Asami nodded into his shoulder.

A loud noise broke them apart. Looking around, Asami could see lights flashing over where the airship docking station was and loud voices were drifting through the compound. Mako and Asami looked at each other in confusion before standing in unison to make their way over to the commotion.


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