It was a miracle that she made it back to the apartment, but everything about it felt wrong. It had a modern rustic theme. High arching ceilings, large bay windows on every wall, stonework floors, wooden beams crisscrossing across the ceiling, old wooden doors. It was warm, comfortable, cool. But above all it was homey. Usually. Now it was empty, lifeless, cold. It was nothing without Asami in it. And Korra immediately regretted her decision to return here. Backtracking she left the apartment. Her mind was numb and wandering. But her body knew where to take her. It was just breaking dawn. Korra had been up all night and the exhaustion and her emotional state were starting to get to her. Warily, she made it to her destination and knocked on the door. A few seconds passed before a blur of green rushed out the door and pulled Korra into a gripping hug.
“Korra! Oh spirits, I’m so glad you’re okay. I’ve been so worried. Aunt Lin called last night and was asking about Asami, but she wouldn’t give me any details. What happened? Where is she? Are you okay? I’ve been up all night worried sick!” Everything Opal said came out in a rush and it took Korra a few minutes to comprehend that she was talking.
“Korra!” Bolin and Mako rushed out. Both hugged her before Opal starting pushing them back into the brothers’ apartment. Bolin sat her down on a leather chair before the others sat down on the couch opposite. Three pairs of curios, scared, and prodding eyes searched her.
Korra could feel the tears building and despite her best efforts of pushing them back, the flood gates opened.
“A-Asami… Asami i-is really hurt y-you guys.” Korra managed to get out, “S-She’s in a coma. The doctors don’t know w-when she’ll wake up.”
A strangled gasp came from Opal as she buried her face into Bolin’s massive shoulder. He immediately wrapped his large arms around her. Mako’s hands clenched into a fist, “What happened.” His voice was full of grief for his ex-girlfriend.
Korra dove into the story that Beifong had relayed to her. She paused and closed her eyes,
“She left during the concert to answer her phone. It turns out that her father was being released from jail. That’s when the Triple Threats… that’s when they jumped her. They threw her into the back of their car and she ended up in some alley. They shot her. Pointblank. And left her to die. The doctors said she is lucky to be alive. The bullet went through her lung and hit her spine. They… they aren’t sure if there is any damage so we won’t know if there is any paralysis until she wakes up.”
There was a deafening silence before Mako spoke up, “Why didn’t you go with her? You could have prevented that whole situation if you had gone with her, Korra.”
“What?” Opal asked incredulously, “You did not just say that, Mako.”
Mako glared at her and was about to start yelling when Korra spoke up, “You’re right.”
Opal turned and looked at her, “Excuse me?”
“He’s right.” Korra repeated.
“Korra!” Bolin and Opal yelled at the same time.
“What happened was not your fault. How could you have known that this would happen? Asami kept this from all of us. If you had known about her father and the threat against her, we all know that you would have protected her with your life.”
“Korra, please don’t blame yourself.” Bolin chimed in, “And Mako. You are such an ass! How could you say that? What is wrong with you?”
Mako looked at his brother, disbelief crossing his face at his normally good natured brother, “I’m sorry. I don’t know where that came from. It’s not true and I know it.”
“I’m not the one you should be apologizing to, bro.” Bolin practically spat.
Sorrowful, amber eyes focused on Korra, “Korra, I’m sorry for what I said. It was completely out of line and untrue. We all know that this wasn’t your fault. I guess I’m just in shock.”
Korra nodded and accepted his apology, but to be truthful, deep in her heart, she knew it was her fault.
No one spoke for what seemed like an eternity. The shock seemed to glue all of their mouths shut. Korra could feel the nausea finally catching up to her.
“So what happens now?” Bolin asked.
Korra looked up at him, her blue eyes ablaze, “I’m going to make those fucking Triple Threats pay for what they have done.”
“Korra, it’s not that I don’t completely agree with you. But what can you do? I mean you are a twenty year old sociology major with no combat training of any kind. What are you going to do that would affect those pathetic excuses of humans?” The spikey haired boy questioned.
The runner was silent for a minute, “If we could somehow find a way into their headquarters and find evidence against them for what they have been accused of but never convicted, we could bring the whole gang down. Then they could never hurt anyone again.”
“That’s a terrible idea, no offense. But I mean these guys are killers. What are you going to do if you run into one of them?” He said, the detective in him coming out.
Korra was about to speak, but Opal beat her to it, “I’m so in. Those mother truckers are going to pay for what they did to Asami.” Her voice rising in anger.
Mako looked at her, his mouth open in shock, “Opal! What? No! This is a terrible idea!”
Bolin thrust his hand forward, “Me too. I’m in.” Opal and Korra quickly followed, slapping their hands on top of his burly one.
He looked at his brother pleadingly, “You know we have to do this. For Asami, Mako.”
The eldest brother was silent for some time. His irregular eyebrows raising every once in a while, obviously deep in thought. He put his hand on top of Korra’s, “Alright. I’m in. For Asami.”
Two weeks had passed since Asami had first been entered into the hospital and she was just moved out of the ICU. Korra had decided early on, to take time off from school so that she could spend her time in the hospital with Asami. The entirety of her day was spent by Asami’s side, but at night she was back at the brothers’ house devising a plan.
Korra was on her way to visit her roommate/best friend/love of her life, after not being able to for a few days. Her job was not so happy about her being gone for so long and gave her the screaming of a life time. Needless to say after a simple hand gesture and a few choice words, Korra had quit her job. Carrying a bouquet of colorful tulips in her hand, a voice called out to her. Turning around she saw a beaming Dr. Kya jogging towards her, “Korra! Hey! I haven’t seen you in a while and I just wanted to tell you that Asami’s lungs are strong enough to be breathing on her own again. We took her off the ventilator.” She smiled.
Korra wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to do so and honestly she didn’t care, but she grasped Kya and pulled her into a hug. Which thankfully Kya returned.
“Thank you so much. For everything. For saving Asami. For taking care of her.” she managed as her eyes began to glaze over.
Kya simply smiled and pushed her towards Asami’s room. As Korra made her way over to room 254, the air just seemed to be buzzing with electricity. There was no window looking into Asami’s new room so Korra didn’t know if there was anyone in the room visiting the heiress or not. Knocking quietly and receiving no answer, she letting herself in.
The bouquet dropped to the floor. Nothing could stop the flow of tears that poured out of her eyes.
“Oh my spirits. Asami!” she cried.
Peridot eyes and a bright smile greeted her. Asami was sitting upright, her wrists were free from the bandages, and her eyes were finally turning back to their normal color. The only thing that really indicated the trauma Asami had gone through were the nasal cannula that hooked around her ears and the gauze bandages that wrapped their way around her chest and poked out from the top of her gown.
“Hey, Swaggy K.” She chuckled breathlessly. Her smile faded slightly as she gasped a few times and tried her best to inhale deeply. She held one finger up, silently asking Korra to give her a second. When she lowered her hand she asked, “How have,” she took another series of deep breaths, “you been?”
Two steps was all it took before she had her arms around Asami. The heiress returned the hug, trying her best to use whatever strength she had left to grip Korra’s shirt.
“I’ve missed you so much ‘Sami.” Korra whispered as she pulled back.
“I’ve missed you more.” Asami answered. Their eyes met and nothing else seemed to matter. Korra had never been so happy to see a pair of eyes in her life. She could almost cry… oh wait she was already crying… profusely. A gentle hand reached out and wiped the tears that were streaking down her face. Korra closed her eyes and relished in the touch. It felt so amazing. It was so soft and tender and filled with emotion, that Korra never wanted Asami’s hand to move from its place on her cheek. But the moment had to come to an end and Asami let her hand fall limply back to her side. Korra blindly reached out for her chair (which had basically become a second bed to her while she sat by Asami’s side) and sat down. Korra placed her hands on the railing on the side of the bed, but one was promptly removed as Asami took the hand in her own. She intertwined their fingers and idly brushed her thumb over Korra’s knuckles. She was silent for a few moments, simply staring at her fingers. The younger woman was perfectly content to just sit and watch the heiress. Asami’s bright green eyes suddenly flashed upwards and landed on Korra’s face. And honestly the tanned woman couldn’t have cared less that she had been caught staring, she was just too happy that Asami was alive and well.
“You never answered my question…” Asami questioned, accompanied by harsh breathing.
Korra snorted, “Honestly, Asami? You just woke up from a two week coma and you want to know how I’m doing?” Asami nodded earnestly.
“Well,” Korra shook her head, “If you really want to know. I have never been happier or more relieved in my life.”
Asami smiled gently. She glanced back down at their intertwined fingers before she pulled them just under her chin. She ducked her head and nuzzled her face against Korra’s tanned digits. Her soft lips ghosted over and Korra could feel the tiny hairs on her fingers tingle at the feeling. A soft smile pulled on Asami’s lips, “I’m really glad you’re here, Korra.” She looked up and for the second time in her life Korra saw that unidentifiable look on Asami’s face.
Spirits. She was so beautiful. The younger girl knew she had seen Asami every day, but this was different. It was like seeing her for the first time. Everything about her was just… unreal, otherworldly. Everything. It was so hard to explain how she felt. And when she looked into her eyes. Spirits. It was like seeing every happy memory in her life. And for Korra almost every happy moment was with Asami. She meant the world to her. And yet, Asami could never be what Korra wanted her to be. She was so close. So tantalizingly close. Yet so very far away.
“How’s the rest of the Krew doing?” Korra was silent for some time. Trying to grasp the rest of her brain and pull it back into a somewhat functioning mode.
“Well if you are feeling up for it you could find out for yourself?” Korra flashed her a hopefully convincing crooked grin.
The heiress’s breathing tubes popped with her sharp intake of air and she coughed lightly. Looking back at Korra she smiled again, “That would be great.”
A murky cough rattled her body. She shook as she tried to control her breathing, her face contorting into a grimace.
“Are you okay? Do you need me to call someone?” Korra asked worriedly, reaching for the remote that called the nurses. Asami waved her off.
With another phlegmy breathe she spoke up, her hand still covering her mouth, “No. No. It’s okay. The doctors said that your lungs create an abnormal amount of mucus when they are trying to heal. Which explains the cough and why I still have to use the oxygen tubes.” she gestured toward her chest and throat. She gasped a few more times before lowering her hand. Korra caught sight of tiny red drops splattering her pale skin. The heiress did her best to hide the blood under her sheets. Quickly the tanned woman reached out and took her wrist, “And the blood?” she looked down at the crimson nervously.
Asami wrapped her other hand around Korra’s, “Left over from my surgery. I’m fine. Really.”
Korra nodded tersely. She had to believe her, otherwise she would go into a panic. She stared at her roommate for a moment longer before she pulled out her phone and sent a quick group message to the Krew telling them to come to the hospital right away.
Not twenty minutes later there was a hesitant knock on the door. Korra got up and to answer the door. Tears were streaking down Opal’s face, “Korra? I-Is… is she okay?”
Korra pulled away from the door to let her friend see Asami, who was smiling warmly at them.
Bolin pushed passed his girlfriend and rushed into the room, “Asami! You’re okay!” he yelled.
“Korra! You are such an ass! I thought something bad had happened. I was going seventy in a forty-five zone to get here quickly. I could have gotten pulled over, you idiot!” Opal yelled, her brows furrowing in anger as she playfully slapped Korra a few times on the shoulder. Eventually, her brows lowered and she raced into the room to hug Asami.
Mako was the last to enter. He let out a sigh of relief when he saw Asami’s beaming face.
The rest of the day went without a hitch. The Krew filled Asami in on what she had missed the past two weeks. Opal had collected all of her school work and had gone around asking Asami’s classmates for notes so that she could catch up. Bolin had been working hard creating a special new recipe for his culinary classes that he would call The Asami in her honor. And brooding Mako… well he made up a few new catch phrases to use when he caught the bad guys. His personal favorite was when he tackled a guy and yelled, “Did someone call for a repair? Because you just got Asamied.” It honestly made no sense, but Asami laughed all the same.
The whole time the Krew was there Korra took the backseat and just enjoyed watching her friends. She spoke only when spoken to or when she had a real urge to contribute to the conversation, but the majority of the time she found herself staring at Asami. She was mesmerized by the gentle curve of Asami’s lips as she smiled at the conversation Opal had with her philosophy professor. The way her eyes gleamed after she laughed at one of Bolin’s ridiculous jokes. The light freckles that danced on her nose as it scrunched when Mako told her about how he had to block off a street because a sewer pipe broke. How when she turned her head to look at the runner, the sunlight caught on her onyx hair, making it shine brighter than anything Korra had ever seen. It was a beautiful moment and she would have done anything to make it last longer. To capture it and make it last a life time. But when Opal began to yawn and Bolin’s eyes started to droop, Mako suggested that they all head back home. They quietly said their goodnights to Asami and headed out the door. Once they were gone Korra stood to collect her things.
“Well ‘Sami, I better get going. It was a long day. You must be exhausted.” She turned around to look at the heiress, but the sight she saw broke her heart.
Tears were welling up in Asami’s eyes. She was crumpling up her face, trying her best to keep the water from trailing down her face. Her breathing began to go ragged with her effort and her oxygen machine began to hiss with each pant.
“Oh, Spirits. Asami? Are you okay? Are you hurt?”
The engineer shook her head and let out a sniffle as the tears broke through their barrier.
Korra rushed to her side and gripped her hand, “Please talk to me? What’s wrong?”
“I-It’s nothing. I’m sorry if I-I scared you.”
“Asami, obviously it’s not nothing.” She probed.
The heiress took a shuttering breath, “I-I don’t want to be alone. I haven’t been able to sleep since I woke up. I just keep having nightmares of that night.” She cried, turning her head in shame.
The tanned woman gripped her hand tighter and used her other to gently grasp her chin, pulling her face to look at her, “I’m not going to leave you, ‘Sami. I’ll stay as long as you need me.” Turning around she reached for her chair, but the sudden pressure on her hand forced her to turn around.
Asami was staring pointedly at their intertwined fingers, a light blush creeping across her features, “I’ll always need you, Korra.”
Her heart fluttered painfully. Despite the pain she smiled at her friend. Oh how she wished that Asami was saying that because she had feelings for Korra. But the tanned woman knew better. She was going to be eternally stuck in a life where the woman she loved would never return the feeling.
Korra had stayed awake contemplating her failed love life, until she was certain Asami had fallen asleep. The entirety of the time the duo kept their fingers intertwined. Korra was marveling at how soft the heiress’s hands were when sleep finally over took her. The steady beeping of Asami’s heart monitor a lullaby to Korra’s ears.
About halfway through Korra’s dream about slurping down a bowl of authentic seaweed noodles, a loud beeping woke her. Drowsily, she lifted her head. She could feel the imprint of the sheets that she had fallen asleep against on her face. Drool was sliding down her chin. Hastily wiping it off, she looked around the room. Her searching sapphire eyes landing on the offending object.
What she felt next was like nothing she had ever experienced before. If it was possible Korra was certain her heart had been ripped straight out of her chest.
Asami’s heart beat was through the roof. 130 beats per minute. The rise and fall of each line increasing as the seconds passed by. Korra looked at her friend. Her eyes were clenched tightly shut, her mouth pulled back into a pained grimace. Suddenly, the pressure on Korra’s hand increased tenfold and she could have sworn she heard the bones in her hands snapping under Asami’s strong grip.
Standing she placed her free hand on Asami’s shoulder, “‘Sami. Please. Please wake up. It’s just a dream. You’re safe. Nothing bad is happening to you.” Her head jerked to the side and her eyes snapped open. Peridots flashed in fear. She rose out of the bed in a heartbeat. Her back arching at a sickening angle. A nauseating crack echoed through the room. Immediately, the heiress cried out.
“Korra!” she gasped. “It… hurts.” She wailed. The runner searched the room frantically for the remote to call the nurses. She didn’t dare release Asami’s hand. Finally, she spotted the alarm and stretched out to grab it, when Asami screamed in anguish, “Korra! Please!”
“Hold on, Asami! Hold on. I’m getting help. Please, just hold on.”
She pressed the button a dozen times. Footsteps came thundering down the hall.
The CEO whimper in pain as she slowly lowered back down onto the bed. Her back still arched dangerously.
Korra brushed a few strands of erroneous hairs that stuck to engineer’s sweaty face.
She managed a quiet, “Korra. Please.” Before the nurses rushed in. They yelled a few instructions that Korra never heard. Her entire being was focused on her love. Her eyes caught Asami’s shimmering green pools. Please spirits let her be okay, Korra prayed. The nurses injected a few different liquids into Asami’s IV tube. They scribbled something down on her patient chart and then carefully straightened Asami’s spine. One of them walked over to Korra and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, “We gave her some morphine and a sedative. She should fall asleep in a few minutes. If you notice anything else, please notify us again.” Korra nodded numbly.
With shaking arms and legs like jelly, Korra managed to sit down. She rested her head against the bed and let out a sigh. Placing a calming hand on Asami’s shin, she gently brushed her thumb over her leg.
A soundless sob forced the younger woman to look back up at her friend. The older woman’s eyes were trained on Korra’s hand. Her eyes were dangerously close to snapping shut as the sedative began to take over, but she managed to speak one last time before she was pulled into a deep slumber.
“Korra.” There was a deep hesitant breath, “I-I… I can’t feel my legs.”