Asami’s words seemed to just hang in the room. The impact of their meaning stifling any breathing Korra was capable of. Fumbling she grab the remote and called the nurses in once again. The recognizable sound of feet came rushing down the hall. Three nurses appeared, a look of annoyance on their faces when they saw Asami fast asleep.
“I-I don’t know what happened, but before she fell asleep she told me she couldn’t feel her legs.” She somehow managed to say.
A collective gasp escaped the nurses and one quickly rushed out of the room. A few moments later Dr. Kya and Suyin were in the room asking Korra a series of questions about what had happened. She relayed the sickening crunch and how her spine just seemed to twist, then how after the nurses gave her the sedative and pain killer, she told the younger woman she couldn’t feel her legs.
“There isn’t much we can do right now. Since Ms. Sato is over eighteen we have to have her consent to perform any tests to see if there is damage to her spine.” Kya spoke gently.
They left Korra alone in the room. Instantly, she took the heiress’s hand in her own and kissed her knuckles. She stayed awake the rest of the night. Watching and waiting for any movement from her roommate. For the second time she had failed Asami. She had failed to keep her safe from the thugs. And now when Asami needed her the most. When she had asked for her help in keeping the nightmares away. She had failed. And Korra hated herself for it.
Slumping in her chair, her head smacked hard against the railing of Asami’s bed, “You’re useless.” She muttered to herself.
Around noon Asami began to stir. Korra sat up straighter and gently called out to her, “Asami? ‘Sami, can you hear me?”
A soft groan escaped her, “Korra?”
“‘Sami. I’m right here.” She tightened her grip on the heiress’s pale digits.
Peridot eye’s slowly opened. She smiled briefly before a grimace crossed her face. Reaching behind her she gripped her back, “My back… it hurts.”
“I know ‘Sami. I’ll call the nurses. And see what they can do to help.” As she reached over to press the button the heiress began to try and sit up. Her grip on the sheets failed and she fell back with a thud. Korra turned back to look at her. Green eyes were staring at her. Pure fear flowing from the emerald orbs.
“Korra.” She said panic creeping into her voice, “Korra. My legs…”
The tanned woman couldn’t stand to hear those devastating words again. She cut her off, “Don’t worry ‘Sami. The doctors already know and we are going to get you better. I promise.” Gleaming eyes stared at her for a moment longer before she gave a jerky nod.
A knock and then Su came into the room.
She smiled before she spoke, “Good afternoon. Asami, Korra told us about what happened and Kya and I would like to have a MRI done to check out what’s going on.” Asami nodded and before Korra could comprehend what was going on Asami was being whisked away down the hall. Close to an hour later, her roommate was being wheeled back into the room, both doctors accompanying her. Once settled Kya spoke up,
“Well, according to the results your spinal cord is perfectly healthy. Your spine on the other hand is a little worse for the wear. But I am very confident that with some physical therapy and a lot of relaxation you should be able to regain full control of your legs. It just seems that after your episode last night your muscles and nerves just went into overdrive and tensed up so much that they sent a… shock wave that forced your body to contort in unnatural ways. That’s what caused the injury and why you currently have lost control of your legs.”
“But with hard work, Asami, you should be back to normal in a couple months. I would recommend that you start as soon as possible. We have a long list of available therapists that we are confident will get you walking again. We will of course still want you to stay in the hospital for a while longer, just so we can keep an eye on you.” Suyin finished with a smile, her eyes twinkling.
Letting out a sigh of relief, Asami nodded and gave her thanks to the doctors.
“You’re going to get better ‘Sami. I have no doubt.” Korra spoke quietly.
Not two days later, Korra found herself sitting by Asami in the waiting room at the physical therapists office. The receptionist walked into the lobby and called for Asami in a soft, singsong voice.
Korra stood and pushed Asami’s wheelchair towards where she was waiting. She warmly greeted them both, “Hello, my name is Pema. It’s a pleasure meeting you both.” She smiled, “Your physical therapist is going to be Tenzin, Ms. Sato.” She brought them into a private room before she asked a couple of questions.
“Alright, so we got your MRI results from the doctors and it looks like we are dealing with a spinal injury?” Asami nodded silently. “And it looks like there is some paralysis?” She nodded again, her face paling slightly. Korra placed her hand on Asami’s shoulder, giving it a slight squeeze. “Okay. I’m just going to take your blood pressure and then I will send Tenzin in.” she finished with a smile.
After Pema left, a loud knock echoed through the room. A tall bald man with a long grey beard and warm, dark grey eyes walked in.
“Hello. My name is Tenzin. It’s an honor to be working with you, Ms. Sato. Shall we get started?”
“As long as Korra can stay with us.” Asami murmured quietly, her hand reaching out and resting atop of Korra’s which was still perched on her shoulder. A light blush crossed Korra’s cheeks.
“Of course.” Tenzin smiled. As he left the room he asked Asami to put on the dry suit he offered her. Once that task was complete, Korra opened the door and wheel Asami out. They followed Tenzin to a large room with three different sized pools.
“Alright, Asami we are going to do some water therapy today.” He pointed towards the smallest of the three pools. Together he and Korra lowered Asami into the shallow waters.
Tenzin knelt down on the opposite side of the pool. Korra hesitated for a minute before she chose the spot right next to her roommate. “Okay, I want you to focus on your big toe, Asami.” She did as she was told and a glare crossed her features. Her eyes boring a hole into her big toe. “I want you to picture it moving. Just a twitch. Nothing big or fancy.” She nodded. “Can you see it?” She nodded again. “Good. Focus on that. Will your toe to move.” It was silent for a minute before Asami gasped in surprise.
“I…I did it!” Her head whipped towards the tanned woman, “Korra! I did it! Did you see that?”
The runner was beaming. She placed a warm hand on her shoulder, “I’m so proud of you, ‘Sami.”
“Ms. Sato, I believe we are going to get you up and walking in no time. You have amazing will power. No one has ever had their toe move on the first try.” Tenzin said warmly.
Asami smiled at him, “So what’s next?”
“Well, why don’t we try to get your other toes moving and if that is successful we can move onto your foot. We’ll work our way up.”
Asami smiled at him and set to concentrating on her other toes.
Korra couldn’t help it as the tears began to well in her eyes. It felt so good to see Asami smiling like that. To see that she hadn’t given up. Her strength and perseverance just made Korra love her all that much more.
Within three weeks Asami was able to move her legs freely. Tenzin had wanted to make sure she was able to get them moving properly before he even considered letting her walk on them. At next visit he once again asked Asami to put on the dry suit, but this time he asked Korra to put one on too. The runner complied, though she was massively confused. It wasn’t until Tenzin brought them over to the larger pool that Korra realized what was going on.
“Alright, Korra will you help me lower Asami onto the steps here?” Together they lowered her gently onto the middle step. Asami used her arms to push herself down onto the last step, the water flowing just below her chin. “Great. Alright, Korra, if you would be so kind as to join Ms. Sato.” Korra quickly hopped in, hissing at the chilly water. “Now, I would like you to assist Ms. Sato into a standing position. And Asami if at any point you feel any discomfort or pain, please let us know. If that happens Korra please pick her up and bring her back to the steps.” Korra nodded and waded over to Asami.
Cautiously, she gripped her forearms, “You ready?”
“As I’ll ever be.” She smiled.
With a little pull, Korra tugged Asami to her feet. Her roommate wobbled for a few seconds before she collapsed against Korra, her head resting against the runner’s chest. Korra’s eyes widened at their closeness, praying that her friend couldn’t hear her heart beating out of her chest. The scent of pears, apples, and poppies flooded the younger woman’s senses as Asami’s hair brushed under her nose, as she attempted to push herself off of Korra. The normally pale features of the heiress, were bright red. Almost matching the signature crimson lipstick gracing the engineer’s lips.
“Your legs aren’t used to being used this way. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. You are doing great, Asami. Do you feel any pain?”
“N-No.” she stuttered, “But I-I… I can feel the bottom of the pool. It’s kinda slimey.” She giggled.
“‘Sami! That’s great!” Korra beamed as she helped her roommate to stand fully on her feet.
“Wonderful! I figured once we got you standing again your legs would regain some feeling.” Tenzin smiled. Korra held her in place a few more seconds before Tenzin spoke again, “Do you think you can stand on your own without Korra’s help, Asami?”
“Yes.” She stated excitedly.
“In that case, Korra I want you to take about three steps away from Asami.
She looked deep into the green eyes in front of her, hoping the one look would convey all of the confidence she had in her. Dutifully, she released her grip on her roommate and took the three steps back. Small waves rippled between them as Asami’s legs began to waver.
“It’s alright ‘Sami. You’ve got this.” She smiled.
The older woman’s brow furrowed in concentration as she focused on moving her legs forward. It was frightening that something as simple as walking could be taken away so quickly. That something you learned as a child could suddenly be gone, as if erased from your memory. The simple fact that Asami had lost this ability and had learned how to move her legs again was astounding. It was miraculous. And Korra couldn’t have loved her more than she did right now. Her resilience to keep fighting, to keep moving forward was beyond belief. Asami was Korra’s idol and she loved her more than anything else in the world.
Before she knew it Asami was inches from her. A smile larger than the Grand Canyon spread across her face.
“Korra! I did it! Did you see that? I did it!” She yelled excitedly. Whooping, Korra wrapped her arms around Asami’s waist and spun her around. As she placed her down, she grabbed her cheeks and planted a tender kiss on her forehead and then one on her nose. “I’m so proud of you ‘Sami.” She whispered. Suddenly, her eyes snapped open at the realization of what she just did. Friends did not do things like that. Fuck. Fuck. What had she done? She quickly released her grip on the heiress and took a step back. Asami’s cheeks were blushing slightly, her bright gaze eyeing Korra.
“Uh… Um… I-uh-I… sorry.” She squeaked.
Behind them Tenzin cleared his throat, “That was very well done, Ms. Sato. I think that’s enough for one day. Yes?”
Asami turned her head, but her gaze never left Korra, “Yes. I’m rather tired. Today was eventful, though.” She stated simply.
The drive back to the hospital had been awkward. But that was really all Korra’s doing. Asami had graciously tried to make small talk, but Korra’s brain was too fried to even respond beyond a simple “yup” for everything Asami said. After a few attempts and no deep responses Asami just let them sit in silence.
Damn it, Korra. Why did you always have to fuck things up?
After being in the hospital for nearly six weeks, Asami was finally cleared to go home. The whole Krew was there to pack up the few things that she had in the hospital with her and bring her home. They all crammed into the Range Rover Opal had been given for her birthday from her parents (she thought it was a rather gaudy gift, but no one is going to turn down a free car). Opal was driving and they all had decided that Asami should take shotgun. Korra was admiring the view in the passenger seat when Bolin spoke up.
“You alright, Kor? You look a little spaced out.”
She shook her head, “Yea. Yea totally fine. Just a little tired.” He looked at her skeptically for a few more seconds before turning away. Korra was absolutely terrified that he had found out her feelings for Asami. But Bolin, out of all of them, was usually the most clueless so she put her fears to rest.
It wasn’t until later that night when Korra had gotten up to go get popcorn halfway through the movie that she realized her fears were well placed. She was facing the microwave after the timer had gone off to get the delicious, buttery popcorn when Bolin’s very recognizable cough forced her to turn around. Opal was by his side. Both had smug looks on their faces, arms crossed across their chests.
“What’s going on between you and Asami?” Bolin questioned.
“N-nothing!” she stammered.
“Uh-huh. That was the least convincing answer I have ever heard.” Opal stated.
“Seriously guys nothing is going on between us.” She tried to escape the duo, but was pulled back into the room by Bolin.
“Oh no you don’t missy. I saw the way you were staring at her in the car today.” The bushy browed boy proclaimed.
“Yea! And how you took time off school to be by her side twenty-four seven while she was in the hospital.” Opal added as she hopped up onto the countertop.
“And how you came up with this whole revenge plot on your own.” He continued. She could feel her breathing increase with every example.
“Alright. Alright. IlikeAsamiokay?” she belted out.
The couple looked at one another with brows raised, before speaking in unison, “What?”
Taking an exasperated breath, she tried again, “I like Asami. As in more than just a friend.” She crossed her arms across her chest and hung her head, “Happy now?” she grumbled.
The pair was silent for a moment staring at the low hanging head of Korra.
“Oh. My. Gosh. You love her don’t you?” Opal squealed a little too loudly for Korra’s liking. She hopped off her perch on the counter and took a step towards Korra. Her face alight with glee.
“Opal! Shush! I don’t want the world to know!” Korra hissed.
“Oh. My. Spirits. You didn’t deny it. You love her!” Bolin squealed just as excitedly as Opal had done earlier.
“You guys. Please. Stop. It’s never going to happen. I just have to let this one go.” Korra, sniffled downtrodden. She could see Opal’s smile disappear before she pulled her into a massive hug.
“Who knows, Kor. Maybe things will turn around for the better.” Hope in her voice.
“Thanks guys. But I mean Asami doesn’t even like girls. Ya know?” she sniffled.
Silence. “Well actually… I saw her making out with a girl one time… I wanna say her junior year. She looked a lot like you Korra. Blue eyes. Short brown hair. She was kinda shrimpy short like you too.” Bolin stated nonchalantly.
“Hey!” she shouted slightly offended at his short comment, “You’re not much taller than me!” But then his words donned on her, “Wait. She kissed a girl?” He nodded in confirmation.
“Well maybe th-“
“What’s going on in here? And what’s taking so long? Asami and I want popcorn.” Mako interrupted.
“We were just talking about the plan.” Opal blurted out.
“We were?” Bolin asked, a dumb look on his face. Opal smacked him hard on the shoulder.
Korra could hear Opal’s teeth gritting together, “Yes we were.” She shot Bolin a dirty glare.
“Well, why didn’t you guys call me in here?” Mako asked, eyeing his brother and his girlfriend.
“We were just going to.” Korra stated. “I wanted to know how everyone’s parts were going.”
After the whole plan had been designed, Korra had assigned everyone their own unique missions. She had tasked Opal, who has always been a bookworm, to research how to pick locks, crack open safes, and to decipher computer passwords and codes. Mako being a detective, the youngest on the force, had access to every building in Republic City’s blueprints. So he was tasked with finding the Triple Threats hideout and then getting the blueprints for it. Bolin was supposed to meet with his friend Hasook, who had been on the streets with them when they were kids. Hasook had joined with the Triple Threats when he was old enough, whereas the brothers had chosen a more honorable path. Hasook owed Bolin big time for something. Bo wouldn’t tell them what it was he owed him for, but whenever it was brought up his face would turn about fifty shades of red. Now, he was finally going to use that favor and get as much knowledge about the Triple Threats as he could.
Korra had tasked herself with getting gear for everyone. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself if something happened to one of them on her revenge trip. Korra’s father was a very wealthy politician in the Southern Water Tribe and as a result she was able to get her friends the best bullet proof vests that money could buy. They were slim and easily concealable, but made of tough Kevlar. She also bought these newly developed earpieces that were practically invisible so that the group could talk to one another if they ever got separated.
“Well, I read all the books you gave me about cracking codes and passwords and about breaking and entering so I think I’m a go.” Opal stated.
Mako spoke next, “I was able to find location of their hideout and I found the according blueprints.”
“And I talked to Hasook. I wrote down everything he said. It seems that Viper took over after Zolt went to prison. Shady Shin is the second in command. After that it’s just a bunch of thugs. Their main mode of attack is guns so we don’t have to worry about knives or anything like that. Although, they have been known to give some pretty nasty beatings to get information out of people. Oh and I found out that on Friday the whole gang goes out and gets their collection money from the locals. They usually head out super early in the morning and break into their shops. That way when the owners come in they can ambush them. It’s horrible really.” Bolin said solemnly.
Korra nodded, “Great job guys. All the equipment came in a couple weeks ago.” She paused, “Tomorrow is Friday, so I vote that we do this tonight. Get it over with.”
The group looked at one another nervously before nodding.
She looked at the clock, “Meet me at the docks tonight at three. I’ll have the gear. And make sure to wear black.”
The silence was hard to bare. It felt like she was saying her last goodbyes to her friends. That she would never see them again. She hated it. She hated that she was putting them in so much danger. Glancing at everyone she pulled them into a group hug, “I love you guys. Thank you for doing this.”
“We love you too, Korra. We are in this together. Until the end.” Mako said somberly.
The moment quickly ended with a shout from Asami,
“Wow! What is taking so long? I didn’t think it required four people to cook popcorn.” Asami laughed from the living room, “Besides you guys are missing the funniest part of the movie. Lilly just fell in Aubrey’s puke!”
“We’re coming, your Highness.” Korra yelled back. She could make out Asami’s muffled laugh as she walked back into the room, the rest of the Krew and popcorn in tow.
The group finished off the movie around eleven before Mako, Bolin, and Opal headed home. Korra helped Asami walk to her room before she jumped into the shower and got ready for bed. Hopefully, she could get a couple hours sleep before she left for the docks. But no that wasn’t going to happen. She had been lying awake staring at the ceiling for a solid two hours, thinking about tomorrow, before she heard the quiet whimpering coming next door. As quickly as she could, she rushed over to Asami’s room and opened the door. The heiress was curled up into the fetal position. Her onyx hair a mess around her face. Three steps and she was by her side. As carefully as she could she brushed the hair from her roommate’s face. “‘Sami, it’s okay, it’s just a dream.” Horrible images of the last time she said this appeared in her mind.
Asami’s eyes gently peered open, “Korra?” she asked dazedly.
“I’m right here, ‘Sami.”
Her roommate let out a huff of air, “I’m sorry if I woke you.”
“Hey. It’s okay. I was awake anyways. I’ll be next door if you need me, okay?” She stood to leave, but the tentative words coming from Asami stopped her.
“Korra… Will you… I mean you can say no… But can you…” she stuttered.
The runner’s heart fluttered. She knew what Asami was trying to say, “Of course, I’ll stay.”
She walked around Asami’s bed to grab her chair, curious green eyes followed her movement.
“Hmm?” she looked up from sliding the chair closer to the bed.
“Will you… sleep with me?” An immediate blush appeared on her face, “I-I mean not like that! But in the… the bed with me? I just sleep better when you are near.”
It was Korra’s turn to blush. She could feel the heat flushing to her face, “O-of course.” She breathed.
As carefully as possible she rounded the edge of the bed and slipped under the covers. Korra was lying on her back staring at the ceiling reveling in the fact that she was sleeping with Asami. Although she felt very guilty and like she was taking advantage of her, knowing very well that her feelings for her roommate were not platonic. Asami’s soft hand on her arm pulled her from her thoughts. Asami rolled onto her side, her grip on Korra’s forearm never wavering. The movement forced Korra to scooch behind the older woman, effectively making her the big spoon. Her arm was draped around the older woman’s waist. Pale fingers wrapped around tanned ones. The runner gulped loudly, a blush reappearing on her face. Evidently Asami heard her nervousness, “Is this okay, Korra? We don’t have to lay like this, if it makes you uncomfortable.”
“No!” Korra practically yelled. “I-I mean… no. It’s totally fine. If it makes you feel better…” she trailed off.
“I feel so safe in your arms.” The engineer whispered. She curled her body a little tighter, pushing her back closer to Korra’s stomach and chest. Absentmindedly, Korra ducked her head into the engineer’s hair. She couldn’t help herself, but she took a deep breath, relishing in the amazing smells that flourished and flowed off of her roommate. She squeezed her a little tighter. After a little while she could hear the heiress’s breathing slow and deepen, signaling that she fell asleep. Korra turned slightly to look at the clock sitting on Asami’s nightstand. Two-thirty. Sighing, she loosened her grip. Her lips ghosted over the back of her love’s head, as she leaned around to place a kiss on her temple. “I love you, Asami.” She seized a shaky breath and took in the sight of the beauty sleeping peacefully next to her. “I’ll be back soon, I promise.”
Slipping out of Asami’s grip was the hardest thing Korra had ever done in her life, but she had to fix her mistakes. She wouldn’t… no… she couldn’t let Asami down again. She couldn’t fail her again.