16: The Breakfast Club
Korra wanted to curl up into the fetal position and die. She didn't want to open her eyes, nor try to get out of bed. Even though she was eighty-eight percent positive that she was less than thirty seconds away from throwing up, she was afraid that if she even made an attempt at moving, the cacophony of sledgehammers banging on the inside of her skull would increase.
She had a vague memory of last night (although it could've been a delusion, knowing just how much alcohol they drank) of gasps, frantic kisses, and Mako telling her to slow down. The thought alone of whatcould've happened between the two of them made her think that her life was seriously and utterly fucked up. It was not the first time the young couple had ever had sex, of course, but judging on the copious amounts of cactus juice they'd consumed and the fact that they were in Sin fucking City made Korra feel more miserable that she ever had in her life.
The Avatar opened her eyes just enough so that she could see, scrambled out of bed, collapsed into the bathroom and heaved her guts out into the toilet. Why on Earth people purposefully did this to themselves, she'd never know in a million years—she did know that after a hangover like this, she was never, ever drinking more than a sip of wine again in her entire life.
Once she was satisfied that she was done throwing up for the time being, Korra lifted her head and let it rest on her right arm, letting out a groan. She didn't want to move from the cool, linoleum floor, so she simply sat and leaned against the toilet, moaning again. Her head just ached and her stomach was probably trying to take revenge on her for all of the alcohol she had consumed and she felt like crying because the pain is just that bad…Spirits, let me die, this is such fucking hell…
It was only when she buried her face in her hands that she realized she was naked.
She became painfully aware of aching between her legs and felt like her life had suddenly become a warning to every twenty-something kid on the planet on the dangers of drinking too much. She crawled towards the bathroom door and opened it, glimpsing the bed…and relief wafted off of her in waves when she saw Mako snoring in the bed instead of some random, burly tattooed stranger.
She closed the door and pressed her forehead against it. She resisted the urge to scream when she caught the sight of a dull golden band adorning her ring finger—the left one. Fuck. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me," she murmured before cursing again.
After she processed what the ring meant, she moved on autopilot. She started the shower and filled a small plastic cup with cold water from the sink. Korra knew perfectly well that she was dehydrated, but she was sure she'd have to drink at least a ton of water to even begin easing the pain in her head. One cup was followed by another, and then another.
The water flowing from the showerhead was hot and the smooth pressure felt like heaven, but it didn't ease Korra's mind off of the fact that she was married and had had drunken sex with Mako in Sin City.
This was not at all how she hoped this weekend would go. It was supposed to be easy: Liao and Xin would show them the sights, they'd discuss rescuing Bo, and they'd be out of there by the end of the day.
Sitting down in the shower with the water coming down at full force, Korra put her face in her knees.
Why is my life such hell?
Mako awoke, head pounding, to the sound of the shower running. He turned over and sat up, the room coming into focus. At least I made it back to our room last night, he thought. The messy sheets and the indent on the other pillow were an indication that he'd spent the night with Korra, although how they spent it was pretty clear. Mako had a nagging feeling that he banged his girlfriend under the influence of a hell of a lot of alcohol and he hated himself for it.
What if it wasn't consensual? What if he'd raped her? Spirits…he really hoped that their sex was consensual because if it wasn't and he'd hurt Korra in any way, shape or form, Mako knew that he'd never forgive himself.
Through a pounding headache, he wondered what the hell had happened last night.
Korra dried herself off and pulled on a light brown robe that fell just below her knees. She drank some more water. She took a deep breath and opened the door.
She did a perfect imitation of a deer caught in the headlights when she saw Mako sitting on the edge of the bed, boxers on, swallowing a couple of pills. I guess the shower woke him up, Korra thought. She cleared her throat, not knowing what to say without sounding too awkward. "Hi," she ended up saying.
"Hi," he responded.
She raised her left hand, wiggling her ring finger. "Do you have one of these too?" she asked, praying that maybe the ring on her hand was a hallucination and that maybe they weren't married after all.
He looked down at both of his hands and Korra groaned. There was a ring on his left hand too. "Shit."
That summed it up well, Korra thought dully. She sat down on the bed next to him, thinking that this was going a heck of a lot better than she'd expected. As it stood, no one was yelling, there was no bloodshed or broken bones, neither of them were flipping out at all, so that was a plus. She hugged the cloth on her robe tighter.
Mako was first to break the silence. "We should get this annulled as soon as possible."
Korra looked at him. For some reason, his statement rubbed her the wrong way. "What do you mean?"
"What do I—Korra, we're married."
Mako took a deep breath through his nose and out through his mouth. She wondered if that was basic training to not get pissed off with Lin in the Police Academy. "Kor," he said, using her seldom-used pet name, "we cannot be married."
"Why the hell not?" Korra asked, her headache and temper growing larger. "Mako…didn't you want to ever marry me?"
"What?" Now Mako looked like a deer caught in the headlights. "Of course I do! Spirits, you know I want to…but…but—"
"But not like this," he finished, firmly gesturing at their wedding bands with a grimace. Korra understood immediately. "I wanted it to be a huge thing, you know? Really romantic. I wanted to get you a betrothal necklace and have a huge wedding with everyone there and Bo as my best man, not get hitched with you in Sin City while we were drunk."
The only thing she could think of to say was "Oh." After all, from Jinora and Ikki's tales of love and romance and princes leaping into volcanoes, it wasn't like she'd never thought of having a big, huge romantic wedding either. Mako was right: this was not how she'd pictured it. "Um." She paused. "Do you still want to be annulled, then?"
Mako slowly shook his head, and Korra almost shook with relief. It would've turned their relationship to shit if they'd gotten married and then divorced in Sin City. "I want to be married to you, Korra," he said. "I…I guess we can…have the real wedding when we get Bo back and get to Republic City and everything's relatively normal again."
Fat chance, Korra wanted to say but wisely held off. "Okay," she said. "One problem." Mako looked up at her. "We had sex."
He glared at her. "I know we did, Korra. And it's different this time."
"Oh my Spirits, Mako, don't make a big deal out of this. What's so different about this time?"
"Korra, we're married, we had sex! You and me!" he cried. "Do you not understand the significance of this?"
"What happens in Ba Sing Se stays in Ba Sing Se," she retorted. "After we're married by a real priest, then we can have real married sex, okay, Mako?" she asked her boyfriend-slash-fiancée-slash-husband and Spirits, when did her life get so complicated?
Mako looked uncomfortable. "I didn't rape you, right?" he asked with a trembling voice.
Korra scrunched her eyebrows together. "What?" she asked incredulously. "Spirits, no. It was consensual." She paused, trying to insert a bit of humor into this situation. "If anything, I remember you telling me to slow down."
Mako coughed and tried to smile, although it came out as more of a grimace. "Sounds like me," he muttered.
They were silent again.
Korra broke it with another question. "Want breakfast?" she offered.
After a beat, Mako nodded. "Yeah."
It's been a horrible morning so far and so far, Asami thought, it wasn't going to get any better. She woke up in her own bed (thankfully) with a headache the size of Ember Island (unfortunately). She'd taken a shower to try and eliminate her horrible headache and drank some juice to get rid of her dehydration, but no matter how hard she tried, Asami could not stop thinking of last night and how she and Liao had almost had sex. Her skin still buzzed with the feel of his gentle kisses on her collarbone and her heart pounded harder and faster when she thought about what could've happened.
Who would've known that Liao, a member of a cult of brutal gangbangers, would have such a gentle kiss? Asami thought dreamily, and immediately chastised herself. Get a hold of yourself, Sato. Think about Bolin. Your best friend. The reason that you couldn't go through with having sex with Liao last night? Remember him?
Midori knocked on the bathroom door just as Asami was drying her hair. "You decent?"
Asami grunted as an answer.
Midori took that as a yes and walked in. Her curly hair was rumpled and messy, and her pajamas were disheveled, but she looked better than Asami did and probably felt better too. "Hey, babe," Asami said, running a comb through her hair. "How was your night?"
"Not bad. Xin was nice. He taught me how to play poker." Midori shrugged. "I scammed him off of two hundred yuans."
That's my girl. "Is he going to pay you?"
"Doubt it. I told him it was alright. If he and Liao (Asami flinched at the sound of Liao's name: Midori, gratefully, didn't notice and continued) can get Bo back, that's all the payment I need." Midori grinned. "Plus, I can't take money from an invalid."
Asami wanted to hug her little sister. "You're awesome, Blue Eyes."
"I know." Midori smiled again and tilted her head. "So how are you and Liao making out?"
The reaction to her question was instantaneous as Asami choked on her spit and dropped the comb, coughing and spluttering as Midori pounded her on the back. "What?" Asami managed to ask once her airway was clear.
Midori looked scared. "I asked how you two were getting along."
"No," Asami coughed, "you said making out."
"Yeah, it's a different way of asking how things are between you two. Why're you freaking out about that?" A light came on in her mind. "Is there…anything going on between you two?"
Asami dropped her head and sighed. She sat down on the toilet with a thump. She looked at Midori, and quietly admitted, with regret, "I like him."
"Midori, I…" she paused and eventually decided to just say it. "We got drunk last night and almost had sex."
Midori's face and voice tightened. "Son of a—Spirits! Asami, how could you?"
"We. Were. Drunk," she told her sister defensively, like that made it any better. "Spirits…and I wanted to do it, I did, but then I thought of Bo, and I couldn't go through with it. But I wanted him…" she moaned. "I wanted him so much, but I know it's not right and I just…Damnit."
Midori was staring at Asami like she'd never seen her before. "Are you—but—it's not…Asami. You slept with Liao?"
"No!" Asami repeated vehemently. "We didn't have sex. We almost did, but didn't."
Midori swore. Then again. Asami wanted to tell her sister to stop, but she knew perfectly well that Midori was justified to be angry, so she didn't say anything. "Spirits." She stormed out of the bathroom, Asami on her heels. "I can't believe this," muttered Midori.
"Me either, babe," Asami said, putting an arm around her sister. "Me either."
Midori looked up at her sister. "Want to get something to eat?"
Asami nodded, changed into her pajamas and the two girls walked downstairs into the restaurant, where brunch was being served. They made their way to the buffet line, plopped a ton of food on their plates and started to search for a table.
"Over here!" someone called, and Asami's heart leapt into her throat as she saw it was Liao. Xin sat down next to him at a large table for six. The two girls made their way over to the two Agni Kai Recruits and sat down.
Liao coughed. "Morning," he stated quite calmly, not looking at either of the two in particular.
Midori stabbed her scrambled eggs with her fork moodily. Asami acknowledged his statement with a nod.
Then, because their situation just wasn't bad enough, an extremely hungover Mako and Korra walked over to their table and sat down with a thud. "Hey," Xin shrugged at Mako, who nodded right back before downing an entire plastic cup of lukewarm coffee. Asami and Korra both did the same.
Liao, who either wasn't as hung-over as them or was really good at faking it, did nothing. Xin and Midori exchanged looks. Obviously, they knew about Liao and Asami's episode last night. Mako and Korra obviously didn't.
Korra sighed. "I suppose I'll just go out and say it." Everyone looked at her, including Mako. "Mako and I are married. Can you pass the salt?"
Liao dropped his fork on the table, Xin and Asami's mouths dropped in perfect unison, and Midori blinked twice at the couple. "Excuse me?" she asked, hoping she misheard.
"We're married," Korra repeated, and Midori nodded wearily before taking Asami's second cup of coffee and knocking it back in three large gulps.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Xin said, gesturing wildly, "you two are married?" When the couple nodded, he pressed on. "When did this happen?"
"Last night," coughed Mako. "We were drunk and got hitched at some chapel. I think the papers are in the dresser drawer of our hotel room."
"And…are you two…going to stay married?" asked Liao, because to be fair, it was a pretty valid question. Nearly ninety-nine percent of the stories he'd heard about people getting hitched in Ba Sing Se ended in divorce immediately after the hangovers disappeared.
"Yes." Korra glared at him, as if daring the Agni Kai Recruit to say anything.
Liao said nothing.
Asami spoke up next. "Liao and I fucked last night."
Mako spat coffee all over the table. Korra whacked him on the back and looked as shocked, if not more, than her husband.
"Almost," Liao corrected. "We didn't go through with it."
"Spirits," Korra muttered. "Oh, my Spirits. Unbelievable."
Midori and Xin exchanged another look with each other. Liao and Asami did the same. "You told?" they both asked at the same exact time, both clamoring to be heard over each other.
"We agreed to keep it a secret!" Asami exclaimed.
"Is that why you just announced it to the entire restaurant?" Liao countered, burying his face in his hands. "Spirits, Asami. You need some private lessons on subtlety."
"You're not giving her any private lessons," Mako stated firmly, putting his hands on the table with a thud. "Why would you even do something like that, Liao? Take advantage of her?"
Asami couldn't resist. "Oh, please. At least he held off when I told him to stop!" Then, because the situation wasn't bad enough, she added, "What exactly were you thinking when you kissed me?"
Midori was dumbfounded. Xin was fighting not to laugh. Liao looked horrified. Korra stood up, slamming her hands on the table. "You what?!" she shrieked angrily.
"It was heat of the moment!" Mako shouted. "I just…did it."
"It wasn't even that good," Asami said, trying to placate Korra before things got too out of hand. "I'm sure you've given him way better ones…"
Mako looked like he didn't know whether to be pleased or affronted. "Gee, thanks, Asami," he muttered.
Korra looked ready to kill her husband. "And why exactly did you never tell me? When did this even happen?"
"When she went to go and pick up Midori from the police station," Mako said glumly. "I kissed her. And that's all there is to it."
The earth nearly shook with the volume of Korra's next words. "All there is to it? You fucking asshole! I catch you in bed with her—"
"You slept with Mako—"
"No, I didn't even—"
"We were in our clothes, Korra—"
"…kissed her in public!"
As the fighting and volume of their screams grew louder, Midori and Xin were the only two not fighting—they, along with several passerby, were watching the fight like it was the premiere of their favorite mover.
The bruised Agni Kai Recruit looked at the curly-haired teenager, who shook her head. "They are never allowed near alcohol again," she muttered.
Xin chuckled. "Amen, sister."