The Korra from a year ago would certainly be asking why right now, as I enter the new spirit portal with Asami. Why, when I’ve decided that now is the time to look to the future, do I find myself looking into her eyes? And why do I find her looking back into mine? But no, those aren’t the questions I should be asking. I smile at Asami, holding her hand in mine as we stand before the portal. What do I learn from this?
A warmth slowly fills my heart as the answer comes to me. A woman who sometimes seemed to know me better than I know myself. My closest friend. The only one I could trust when I was at my lowest. The one I wanted to spend time with when things settled down.
From my subconscious actions as we approached the portal, my body had made it clear that it already knew the answer. My mind had only now caught up.
It was simple. I saw my future in her eyes.
As we prepared for our vacation in the spirit world, Korra told me that despite the current ruins of Republic City, she felt hopeful for the future of it. “I do too,” I said as we headed toward the spirit portal. “In fact, I think it’s the perfect time to start looking toward the future.”
It was as these words left my mouth that my hand reached out to take Korra’s. I may not have had the words for it at the time, but I knew. As we reached the portal, I turned to face her, and she to me. This was my future.
Looking into Korra’s eyes, I was certain. This was where my story would truly begin.
A golden glow surrounded Asami and Korra as the spirit portal took them away from the ruins of Republic City. Asami knew she should probably be focusing on the world around them slowly fading into gold, or perhaps on the shifting sounds. She was the one who’d requested this specific journey, after all. But at this moment, the only part of the world she cared about was the one part that wasn’t fading away: the Avatar Korra.
Their eyes had met a few seconds ago, and their hands had joined a few seconds before that. Asami wasn’t quite sure who’d made the first move; both of those events had simply seemed to happen, as if it was only natural. No words had needed to be spoken between them.
Asami’s gaze never left Korra’s face, even as the background shifted from gold to green
and slowly began to take shape. How long had it been since she’d felt like this? It was over four years ago now, in the brief period when things were going well between her and Mako. Though even then, it wasn’t quite the same. Back then there had been that new relationship thrill, but it hadn’t been built on the foundation of a solid friendship like her relationship with Korra now.
Asami knew Korra far better now than she’d known Mako when they were dating. For that matter, she knew Korra better now than she knew Mako now. She’d seen Korra when she was broken down after her fight with Zaheer, and helped her through the slow, painful recovery. Korra in turn was the one Asami had turned to to help her handle the death of her father.
Already, their relationship was the most emotionally intimate one Asami had ever been in, and they hadn’t even spoken a word about its exact nature to each other. They’d have to do that sooner or later. The problem was: What were the right words? What could possibly encompass all that this relationship meant to Asami? She’d have to give it some time, and make sure her confession was just right. But until then, perhaps words weren’t necessary.
Korra could feel her heart beating rapidly in her chest. Her heart rate had picked up as soon as she’d decided on the meaning of her shared gaze with Asami. It felt so… freeing. Freeing in that she’d finally admitted it to herself, but also in that the world had finally settled down to the point where she was actually free to think about relationships again without worrying about it getting in the way of her duties as the Avatar.
She was officially on vacation from her duties, and she was officially falling for Asami Sato. And maybe, just maybe, Asami was falling for her as well. Well, more than maybe. She’d turned to gaze at Korra at just the same time, and there was a definite affection there. Was it the same, though? Asami had made all the same motions Korra had, but did that necessarily mean she was in the same place?
Probably. Everything felt right about this. There was no reason to believe Asami was on a different page than Korra was, and plenty of reasons to believe she was thinking the same things. So Korra should simply blurt things out and get it over with. She should say something about this. Anything, really, before they were fully in the spirit world and the moment faded.
“Asami…” Korra said. Her heart beat seemed to double in pace as she began to speak. Her gaze dropped an inch, as she found herself not quite able to meet Asami’s eyes right now. She still hadn’t quite figured out what she was going to say, so she simply forced herself to get out something, anything. “I… I mean, you and I, we’re…? You know, um....”
“Korra,” Asami said. She gave Korra’s hand a brief squeeze within her own. Korra looked back up into Asami’s eyes, relaxing just a bit. “It’s all right. You don’t need to say anything right now.”
Korra nodded slowly. Right. Asami knew. Words weren’t necessary. They’d figure this out. Korra smiled at her… girlfriend? Date? Asami. She smiled at Asami, covering up her momentary uncertainty as she shifted to matters she knew much better. “Well, Asami, welcome to the spirit world.”
Sheng heard a sudden explosion of words from the new portal, and he sensed the presence of the Avatar along with it. He found himself envying humans, who could put their hands to their ears to block out unwanted sounds. In his case, this simply wasn’t an option. He could no more stop hearing than a human could stop breathing. It was his life, his nature, his essence. But right now it was ruining his tea.
“My apologies, young man,” Sheng said to the new spirit. “I will have to sample this tea of yours some other time. My duties require me now.” He pressed his cane into the ground, slowly raising himself from his seat.
“Hah, ‘young man’! Oh, I do like this place,” the young spirit said. He waved a hand at Sheng. “Of course, go if you have to. I hope you’ll come back soon, though. It’s not often I get to serve tea to one of the old spirits, after all.”
Sheng nodded his head at the young spirit. “I shall.” Sheng’s body unraveled, becoming one with the ground so that he might travel rapidly across the spirit world. He would have to have a word with this new Avatar about proper respect.