Korra was out of the parking structure and scrambling up a large dirt hill before the Chief had even finished her next sentence. Once level with the street, she swiveled around looking for the massive metal and concrete structure that now housed Asami. The minute her eyes spotted the large Red Cross indented into the side of the building, Korra took off sprinting. She was fast. As in the best runner on the team fast and while she gave it her all during meets and practices, Korra’s body was running with a newfound urgency. Every part of her body was functioning at a higher level than it ever had before. Every fiber of her being was pushing her forward for one single reason. She had to get to Asami.
Miraculously, she was able to cross the first couple of streets without any traffic, but as she rounded a corner to get to the next block the crosswalk signal stopped her in her tracks. Cars raced in front of her, swerving, honking, and barreling their way through. Korra frantically looked for an opening. Any small space for her to book it across the street. There. She took off running. Cars honked and people yelled as she made her way across the busy intersection. She was almost to the other side when a yellow cab clipped her. She collided with the ground instantly. Pain stabbed through the back of her leg and shoulder. Shaking her head and brushing off the panicked driver, she took off again. What seemed like hours only took a matter of minutes and soon she was greeted by a large red EMERGENCY sign. The runner slowed her pace just enough to get past two security guards and through the doors. Jogging over to the receptionist she slammed her hands on the desk, demanding his attention.
“A-Asami…. S-Sato.” She said breathlessly.
The man eyed her warily before he began to scroll through the patients. He stopped and peered at the monitor before him. Korra repositioned herself so that she could look over his shoulder.
“I’m sorry. Ms. Sato is in the ICU. Guests are not allo-” Korra never heard the rest of what he was going to say. She was halfway down the hall and already running up the stairs two at a time when she heard the security guards calling after her. Glancing at the sign in the stairwell she rounded the corner and took the last flight of steps to the tenth floor. Bursting through the doors she saw the sign that read Intensive Care Unit. She slowed to a steady jog and pushed through the saloon styled doors. The endless hall was lit up by harsh fluorescent lights. An older woman with gray hair and three scars down her cheek was standing outside of one of the rooms. She barely spared the younger woman a sidelong glance. Releasing a labored breath Korra made her way towards the woman. As she got closer she could see the police uniform more clearly. A small golden badge glinted gently off her chest. She was halfway down the hall when the guards burst through the door. They stormed after her, but Korra paid no attention to them, her focus was on the Chief. The room she was guarding. The woman inside.
She was a couple of feet from the Chief when one of the guards launched himself at her and tackled her to the ground. Her jaw slammed into the ground, her teeth clacking painfully against one another. The air was nocked completely out of her. Gasping she managed, “G-get… t-the fuck… off me!”
“Come on Miss you’re coming with us.” Roughly, they hauled her to her feet.
“Get off me! That’s my best friend in there!” That got Lin’s attention and she turned to Korra.
“Wait.” She held her hand out to halt the guards, “What did you say your name was.”
“Korra Qaletaqa.” She said gruffly.
The Chief let out an exasperated sigh before she motioned to the guards, “Let her go you idiots. I called her here.”
Both guards snorted before they released Korra from their grips. They gave her a disgusted look before heading back towards the stairwell.
The runner rubbed her chin tenderly before she slowly made her way to the large bay window looking in on Asami’s room. Closing her eyes, she reached out for the windowsill with a wavering hand. Her lungs released a shuttering breath and her eyes snapped open. Tears began to form in her eyes instantly. She slapped her hand against her mouth to smother the sob that was threatening to escape her. The other gripped tightly at her shirt.
Asami was laying peacefully on a bed, donning a crisp new hospital gown. While her green eyes were tightly shut, Korra could see they were already beginning to swell and blacken. There was a nasty looking gash covering her cheek, now stitched closed. Her once perfect crimson lips were stripped of their color and bleeding slightly from the splits covering her bottom lip. Strips of purple circled around her wrists. Small bruises were starting to form on her upper arms. But it was what was attached to her that made Korra’s breathing hitch. A massive ventilator sat next to the bed. Pipes ran from the machine, onto the bed, and into Asami’s lungs. Her chest raised to an abnormal height and dropped instantly. It repeated the process again and again and again. It wasn’t anything near Asami’s normal, tender breathing and Korra instantly missed the gentle rise and fall of her friend’s chest. The rise and fall that Asami was controlling, not some machine.
“W-what… what happened?” She managed.
Lin stared at her intently for a moment before she spoke, “From what we can tell it was a Triple Threat Triad hit against Ms. Sato. I knew my niece is good friends with Ms. Sato so I asked her if she knew where Asami was today. That’s how we managed to recover some footage from the parking structure. It appears that the men launched a surprise attack as she headed back to her car. There was a scuffle and they beat her pretty good, tying her hands behind her back. But she did manage to land a couple of really good hits before that happened. The girls a fighter, that’s for sure. She probably would have gotten away if the numbers weren’t so against her. They stuffed her into the back of their car and drove off. A shop owner found her behind his store with a point blank nine millimeter round to the chest. She was left to die.”
Korra couldn’t breathe. How could anyone do this to her? What had she done to deserve this?
“Why?” Korra rasped.
“Well the reason for why is hard to know for sure, but we believe it was a revenge strike for what her father did to the Triad.”
Korra gave her a questioning glance before promptly returning her gaze to her friend.
“Sato never told you?” she asked. Shrugging she continued, “It was about two years ago when Hiroshi came into the department and told us that he had been illegally selling weapons and prescription drugs to the Triads. He claimed that it was just for a profit and protection. But when they Triple Threats wanted more and Hiroshi refused they threatened him and his daughter. Mr. Sato of course kept all of the records of the transactions and he went down with the crime boss himself, Lightning Bolt Zolt. It wasn’t much time after, that Viper took Zolt’s place and began operations again. So while Hiroshi was in prison Asami took over as the CEO of Future Industries.
“Not wanting her family name to be tarnished, Ms. Sato hired the best lawyers and paid off a lot of people to keep this scandal under wraps and out of reach from the press. Since then she has been attending school and working as the CEO. Which by the way she is ten times better at than her father ever was. The advances that she has made in modern science is astounding.” She pursed her lips before continuing, “Mr. Sato was released last night due to good behavior. Of course he has a couple years’ worth of community service, but he was still released. So my best guess is that the Triple Threats attacked Asami to get revenge on Hiroshi for getting Zolt arrested. And what is a better time to attack, than when her father finally has a chance to see his daughter again after two years? Of course now we have to put Hiroshi in a secure location. We can’t have both of the most brilliant minds in Republic City in the hospital or worse… dead.” She glanced at Korra who had new tears running down her face. “I can’t believe she never told you.”
Korra couldn’t believe it either. They were best friends. Asami was Korra’s confidant and she had always thought she was Asami’s. But it all made sense now. The week she was missing from school was when her father was arrested and they were making the transition of CEO from him to her. For two years she was the CEO and didn’t tell Korra anything. And that explains the scowl on her face last night before the concert, the police had called her to inform her Hiroshi was being released. Which meant that when she left the concert last night after answering that phone call, she was probably going to go pick him up. Asami had always told her that she never had a good relationship with her father. This explained why. A rough grip on her shoulders drew her from her thoughts.
“I’ll get the doctors.” Lin mumbled before she stalked off.
Korra was completely numb. She had never felt so much pain in her life. Asami was gravely injured and there was absolutely nothing she could do to help her. If Korra had just gone after Asami none of this would have happened. If she had just been brave and followed her friend. If she had insisted she walk her out, Asami wouldn’t be lying in that hospital bed. Asami would be happy and care free and safe. This was all Korra’s fault. She had done this to her friend.
Someone cleared their throat nearby and Korra turned around to see who it was. Two slightly older women stood before her, both wearing bright white doctor’s coats. One had olive green eyes and a metal head piece that laid softly on her forehead. The other had crystal blue eyes, her long silver hair pulled back into a ponytail.
The woman with the blue eyes spoke first, “Hello, Korra. My name is Kya.” She gestured to her fellow doctor, “and this is Suyin.”
“We are terribly sorry about your friend, Korra.” Suyin lamented.
The runner didn’t want their sympathy. She just wanted to know if Asami was going to be okay.
“Is… is she going to be okay?” she questioned softly, her words mumbled beneath her tears.
Suyin gave Kya a look before she spoke carefully, “Asami was hurt very badly.” Her eyes flicked past Korra and to the woman in the hospital room.
“You see Korra, besides the superficial injuries Asami was shot in the chest. The bullet went straight through and out the other side, which is good. But it did a lot of damage while it was in there. The bullet ripped through her left lung and nicked her spine. It’s a miracle it missed her heart. The fact that she was in that alley for who knows how long, bleeding out, should have killed her.” Suyin spoke softly.
“Her body went into shock. When the paramedics got to her she was already fading in and out. It wasn’t until we got her that she fell into the coma. There wasn’t much we could do besides stop the bleeding and clean her abrasions.” Kya continued.
“Well, when is she going to wake up? Will she be able to come home soon?” Korra questioned, fear fluctuating the pitch of her voice.
“You have to understand Korra, Asami lost a lot of blood. She is lucky to even be alive right now. We aren’t sure when Asami will wake up…” Kya worried, her sorrowful eyes drifting to the floor.
“Will… will she heal properly. Will she be, okay?”
Suyin placed her hand gently on Korra’s shoulder, “Her wounds will heal, as will her lung with time. It’s her spine we are worried about. The bullet grazed it which hopefully means there won’t be any permanent damage. But spinal cord injuries are very tricky. We won’t know if there is any damage or if she will have full function of her body, until she wakes up.”
Korra’s body gave out on her. Her legs trembled, sending her crashing to the floor. No. This couldn’t be happening. Su quickly grabbed Korra’s other shoulder as she fell. Kya grabbed her arms and together they gently lifted her to her feet and guided her over to a chair that was outside of Asami’s room. Suyin mumbled something to Kya, but Korra was in too much pain to hear what she said. A few moments later the blue eyed doctor came back with a juice box.
“Here, honey. Drink this. It’ll raise your blood sugar and you’ll feel better.”
Korra waved a dismissive hand, “No. Please. I don’t want it. I-I just… I just need to see Asami.”
The two doctors looked at one another before Suyin spoke again, “This is against our protocol to allow anyone into the ICU rooms, but we’ll make an exception.” She smiled faintly.
Everything was a blur as Korra made her way, accompanied by the doctors, to Asami’s room.
The door opened with a horrid hiss and instantly disinfectant and the sharp scent of metal filled her nose. The two doctors stayed at the door as Korra made her way over to Asami’s bed. The ventilator released a guttural groan with each puff of air. The younger woman shook her head willing the horrid sound to disappear. She looked at the machines attached to her best friend and her eyes latched onto the heart monitor. The stable beeping emanating from it relaxed Korra slightly. As long as that was still going, Asami was still alive. As long as the line grew and fell with each peak and valley of Asami’s heartbeat, she would be okay. Lin pushed the door open with her back, carrying a chair in her hands. She gently lowered it to the ground near Asami’s bed. As she turned around she ushered the two doctors out with her.
Korra couldn’t keep her eyes off her friend’s face. Despite her injuries she was still beautiful to Korra. Raven hair flowed around her, framing her faultless features. A few rogue strands danced around on her face. Slowly, her eyes drifted down Asami’s arm. Past the bruising caused by her attackers hands, past the swelling and abrasions from the ropes that restricted her, and stopping at her motionless hand. It took all of her strength to will her legs to move. Legs like jelly she finally managed to seat herself next to the heiress. The relentless hiss from the ventilator and the endless beeping from the heart monitor the only sounds in the room.
Reaching out with a wavering hand she tenderly intertwined her tanned hand with Asami’s pale fingers. She gasped quietly at how cold her hand was. Quickly, she grasped the freezing digits with her other hand and began to try and warm them up. It may have seemed that her mind was mush at the moment, but it apparently knew what was going on because a fresh round of tears began streaking down her face.
“Oh, spirits. Asami. What… W-What am I going to do?” she sobbed, “You have to be okay. You have to fight this. Please. P-Please I-I… I can’t live without you ‘Sami.” She brought Asami’s hand up to her forehead, gripping it tighter. “I’m so sorry. For everything.” Part of Asami’s cold hand brushed against Korra’s shaking brow. Jerking back slightly, a jarring memory of Asami’s warm grasp around her own at Opal’s party was brought to the forefront of her mind. Oh, how she wished everything could just go back to that moment. To the time of Asami’s carefree attitude. Her loving smile as she laughed the night away. Her mind wandered to the last time she saw Asami’s smile. How close they were. How close Korra was to kissing her. Why didn’t she just do it? Asami probably would have been mad, but then maybe she wouldn’t have left and she wouldn’t be here now.
“I’m so sorry, Asami. T-this is all my fault.” She whispered. Bringing Asami’s hand down to her lips, she brushed a caring kiss to the back of her soft hand. Lovingly, she rubbed her thumb over Asami’s battered knuckles, “But I promise. I will do everything in my power to right what has been done to you.” She got up from her seat and reached to pick up Asami’s other hand. It was clenched tightly into a fist. Carefully, she pried it open. Sitting in Asami’s palm was the water tribe locket Korra had gotten for her, when she went back south to visit her family. Placing Asami’s hand back down on the bed she popped the lid open on the locket. Inside was a picture of Asami kissing Korra’s cheek. The tanned woman clearly remembered when the picture was taken.
It was at a party. They were partners, the dynamic duo as everyone called them, and had been playing a challenging game of beer pong against Mako and Bolin. Korra had just sunk the winning shot. Asami grabbed Korra’s face and planted a kiss on her cheek. Opal had been smart enough to capture the moment with her phone. Gently, she laid the locket down on the table next to the bed. She closed her eyes and let out shuttering sigh. Leaning carefully over, trying her best not to disturb the machinery keeping her best friend alive, she placed a loving kiss on her forehead. One thing had become abundantly clear to Korra since she realized her feelings for her friend. And try as she might she couldn’t quell the feeling any longer. She had held back the words for so long, but now. Now, seemed like the perfect time to let Asami know. Her voice barely above a whisper, she spoke the three words that she had kept hidden in the depths of her heart, “I love you, Asami.” Turning on her heal she headed out the door, “I promise, I’ll be back.”