Some Assembly Required
Family first; Always and forever.
Part 4 - Faith and Pragmatism
Section 2: "Some Assembly Required"
Varrick grinned and fiddled with his lapel. Today was a fantastic day to be him. Just like almost every other day! That qualifier wouldn't have to be there if not for...huh, he couldn't remember. Something about a forest and hogmonkeys.
Didn't matter! Business was about to start booming again! Literally! Also, the other one.
Asami rolled her eyes and looked back over her testing floor like a queen looking over, uh...her people. Subjects. Eh, not a queen, she wouldn't appreciate that title, more like a...matriarch? No, not that. Made her sound too old. Whatever! Asami looked at the thing!
"Just because I'm a fan of Nuktuk doesn't mean I'm going to be sign off on corporate sponsorship for this 'mystery project' of yours. You've got to give me more than that, Varrick."
Varrick drummed his hands along the railing and slid up beside her. "It's an experimental form of mover! That's it. That's all I'm gonna say. Unless you're curious, then I'm an open book."
Asami looked at him curiously. "Experimental? You mean you're using a special kind of camera?"
"No, the Varri-Color Mover Camera, trademark, hit a bit of a snag, mostly because it won't stop bursting into...multicolored flames. Don't ask because I'm just as lost as you are on that one." He clapped his hands together and leaned over. "This is experimental content! Writing! Camera angles! Bigger budgets! Catering! Oh, and this new style of acting that I'm calling the Varri-Method."
Asami snorted. "How is that different than the regular way?"
"People act like they normally would! Actions, reactions, emotions, motivations! On camera!"
Asami narrowed her eyes at him, and it didn't take a brilliant man to notice that she was about to berate him for that idea...until she realized that it was absolutely genius. "That's...actually a great idea."
"I know! Audiences are gonna love it. But we need a big, fancy story to tell to really sell it to them. A modern epic that's still fresh in everyone's minds!" he said, sweeping his hand through the air. "The Legend of---"
He was cut off by a teeth-rattling explosion down on the testing floor, complete with big blue arcs of lightning and just enough fire for him to be a teensy bit worried. And then singed metal shrapnel went flying above their heads and sliced into the concrete wall behind them.
Varrick and Asami exchanged an equally baffled and spooked look.
Asami's eyes widened as she peaked out over the railing. "Artana! What the hell was that?!"
Down on the lower level, Artana and several others looked up from the large lightning-cannon-thing strapped to a stripped down Satohawk. Artana smiled. "A successful weapons test! We just blew up a tank!" She pointed to the large sectioned off area that housed both a crater and a hulk of smoking, melted metal. "Power output needs to be dialed back-is that shrapnel behind you?"
"I have no idea how that even got up there. Sorry! This really isn't a controlled kind of explosion! It's very chaotic!"
"I noticed." Asami pinched her brow. "I think testing for that is done. It's clearly very effective, and I doubt it can get much more destructive than that."
"Asami, that was only forty percent capacity," she said, flipping through pages of schematics. "It may be wise to incorporate some sort of output inhibitor..."
"Do it." She turned away and rubbed her temples. "Remind me again why you couldn't just make things for the United Forces?" she asked Varrick.
Varrick raised a brow and leaned in extra close. "Got married. Nearly killed everybody by inventing spirit weapons. Grew a conscience. Not in that order, and it's entirely possible that my head voices are actually just Bolin reminding me that something is really bad." He frowned. "You're really not cut out for this line of work."
"Oh, no I think I'm far too suited for it. I threw that cannon together in a little less than a day, and it's already blowing up tanks."
Varrick slicked back his hair. "Bad guy tanks, though. Don't ever forget that. We're the good guys."
"I know, but then I come in on days like today, and it's...I just see death. Death on both sides. Each one with the Future Industries seal of approval."
"All right, I'm going to have to stop you right there. I came by to share some fun news about movers, mostly because I can't start making it until you approve it, and now you're getting all...heavy on me. Look at me, Asami." She did. "Am I really the guy you want to talk about this kinda thing with? Because if I am then we are really not on the same page!"
"No, but then this is also about business." Asami frowned. "You know, for someone who was so willing to endure several months of being my personal punching bag for every minor indiscretion you're remarkably fickle."
Varrick narrowed his eyes at her and straightened his posture. His typical grandstanding and enthusiasm vanished entirely. "Call me what you want. Berate me. Insult me. But don't think, not for a moment, that I am fickle. You broke three of my ribs in just as many months and I still wanted to help. Still do."
"Right. Out of some misplaced sense of pity and guilt. Or Zhu Li's insistence."
"Wrong. Well placed empathy."
Asami inspected him closely. "How can you possibly---"
"Ever wonder where the name Nuktuk came from?"
Asami perked up, but then very quickly bowed her head. Smart girl. "Oh."
Varrick shrugged. "Long time ago. Can't just dwell on it. Now, c'mon we've got mover talk to---"
A massive pillar of fire flew up through the air a few feet from the railing, very quickly melting a portion of the metal ceiling. Asami gaped as a few office workers peaked down the new hole in their floor with equally terrified expressions.
"Who forgot to throttle the flames?!" barked Artana. "You could have killed somebody!"
Asami buried her head in her hands. "Varrick, I think you should leave."
"Things do tend to go horribly wrong around me…"
"I know, that's why you need to leave."
"You got it! I'll send over the mover scripts---"
The ferry creaked as Asami stepped on to Air Temple Island. The moment her boots touched the immaculate stone of the dock, she snapped back into attention. Her eyes refocused and she stood up straighter, adjusting her bag so that it hung more securely from her shoulder.
For the last hour or so, she'd been running on muscle memory entirely. No thought, no postulating, no reflection on her day. She hadn't even noticed the time, which was a little problematic since, by her best guess, it was well past midnight. The moon wasn't full, and somehow that made her feel a little less whole.
Asami rubbed her eyes and began walking toward the dormitories. Her eyes glazed over once more, and the next thing she knew she was right in front of the door to Korra's room. She hesitated as she reached out to slide it open. It didn't feel right. Her day just felt...all kinds of wrong. Her stomach twisted and she backed away from the door.
The door behind her slid open and Opal, dressed in pajama pants and a plain shirt, tiptoed out into the hall. That seemed familiar. Asami caught a glimpse of Bolin, who was snoring and sprawled across the bed in his boxer shorts, just before Opal shut the door.
Opal gave her a small smile. "Hey. Long day?" she whispered.
Asami nodded grimly. Perhaps her day had taken a far greater toll on her than she'd thought. Or maybe she'd just accidentally skipped sleeping and kept working through her next cycle again. She really needed to break that habit.
Opal knit her brows together in concern. She looked down the empty hallway. "You look like you want to talk about it."
Asami bit her lip and was about to say that it was nothing to worry about and that she just needed some rest when she remembered the last time she'd kept her troubles to herself. She rested a hand on her stomach as it lurched just from the memory of it. "It's a very sensitive subject, and I don't think my head is in the right place to...discuss it with Korra."
"That's definitely something that you need to talk about. Come on, let's go sit outside," she said, walking out to the courtyard without checking to see if Asami would even agree to join her. She was, but that wasn't the point.
Asami scratched her forehead and followed her, avoiding the parts of the floor which she knew creaked. "Thanks."
Opal sat down on the wooden steps and rested her hands behind her. "Don't mention it. Now, what's wrong?"
Asami sighed and sat down next to her. What wasn't wrong---Okay, most things. Most things were not wrong. When was the last time she ate? Oh, she skipped dinner again, that's probably why she was feeling so odd. Well, no need to talk to-yes there is. Stop lying to yourself and talk.
"I reopened Future Industries' Military R&D Division," she blurted. "And I'm pretty sure I don't have what it takes to oversee it."
Opal looked her over and tilted her head. "That is not what I expected."
"...what did you expect?"
"Something more relationshipy? Hearing that you don't feel up to the task of doing something is surprising." She shrugged. "There's a first time for everything."
Asami slumped. "I hadn't even thought about it like that."
"It's not a big deal if you don't think you can handle it. Isn't that why you hire other people? To do the things you can't do?"
"Yes, but that's not the problem. I can handle the workload, just not...the actual work I've been doing. And stopping really isn't an option."
"Why not? If you're not comfortable with this kind of thing, nobody's forcing you."
Asami hugged herself. "It's the Red Lotus. We're pretty sure that they're involved with the...growing trouble in the former Earth Kingdom states. If I don't do this, then someone else will, and they won't do as good a job." She sighed deeply. "So I can't just...stop."
Opal's eyes widened. "No. No, you really can't. I can see why you're having trouble talking to Korra about this. If you stopped, she'd be terrified."
"She...what? Terrified? Why would she be terrified? She actually encouraged me to do this. Can you believe that? Korra wanted me to make weapons."
Opal studied her with a hard stare. "She's just trying to protect her family as best she can. I would do the exact same thing if I were in her place."
Asami blinked. "Her parents are all the way in the South Pole. They don't have anything to do with this."
"I'm not talking about her parents. I'm talking about her family. All of us. You, me, Bolin, Mako, Tenzin, Jinora, Ikki, Meelo, Rohan, Pema...the entire Air Nation. Think of it like this: when Kuvira was holding my family hostage, I would have done anything to get them back. I would have gone alone, if I had to. This is the same thing, just...bigger."
Asami closed her eyes and took a shaky breath. Of course. Of course. How could she not have seen it was about family? The weapons were...another contingency. That's all they were to her. Another shield. Another sword. Peace of mind. Because if Korra lost Tenzin, then…
The swamp. The swamp. No. Nope. That would not come to pass. Ever.
"Thank you, Opal. I...don't know how I can repay you for this, but I'll find a way. I promise."
Opal shrugged. "It's no big deal."
Asami stood and looked down at her with conviction. "It is to me. Good night, and thank you again." She walked quietly back to Korra's room, once again avoiding the creaky floorboards. Her heart skipped a beat as she slid the door open and stepped inside.
There she was, curled up in---oh. She was meditating? At that hour? Huh. Asami closed the door behind her and went about changing into her pajamas. Nothing too fancy; she kept those at home. And Korra was still meditating. Well. She used this odd opportunity to brush her teeth and remove her makeup, because hopefully by the time she got back Korra would be---still meditating.
Was she waiting up for her? Did she just have lots of thinking to do?
Asami sat down in a lotus right in front of her, since there was no way she was falling asleep without at least talking to her, not after the day she had. Not after realizing just what Korra had asked her to do. She copied her posture. Closed eyes. Fists together. Calm, even breathing. Clearing her mind? Hah! Next to impossible.
But then, how did Korra do it? Did she just stop thinking, or did she focus on something that removed all other thoughts entirely, and then stop thinking...there wasn't an easy answer. She slumped forward and puffed out her cheeks. Not gonna happen.
So, she defaulted to just staring at her. Admiring the serene beauty and strength she projected without even intending to. Her love of the banal, as if it were always a welcome surprise. Her strength, in every sense. Strength of character. Strength of mind. Strength of spirit. Well, that was a given.
Asami looked down at her own stomach. Everyone had an inner spirit, right? What...what was hers like? Maybe it was just really small and weak since she wasn't a spiritual person. She sort of wished she could connect to it. Herself. Was it still her, or an idealized version of her? Or who she truly was?
Well. Who said she couldn't connect to her inner spirit? Nobody, that's who. It couldn't hurt to try. She resumed her mimicked meditation posture and focused as hard as she possibly could on...red. Red? Yes, red. Her color. Somehow, she just instinctively knew that color was an important part of whatever it was she was doing.
Asami's eyes snapped open and she blushed a little. "Hey."
"Were you trying to get into the Spirit World?"
"No! No, never. That would not be fun. For me. No, I was trying to connect to my inner spirit. I think. I don't know, I just needed to talk to you before bed and you were busy so it seemed like a good use of my time."
I want to say that it means the world to me that you want to trust me with the safety of your family. Of your legacy. Of the people you fought, suffered and nearly died for. Who you are. But I'm not going to, because this is one less thing you need to worry about, and I'm all too happy to ease this burden for you.
"I just wanted to hear your voice. I had a really long day."
Korra smiled. "Would you like me to say anything in particular?"
Asami chuckled and pulled her in for a tender kiss. "No. Anything will do." She brushed Korra's hair out of the way. "I'm not tired."
"Yeah," she whispered into her neck, the heat of her breath very hot against her skin. "Suddenly feeling very alert." Korra's hands dipped under her shirt and slid up her back, spreading her warmth-oh that little...that trick with firebending again!
Asami sighed and melted into her touch. Strong fingers kneaded the muscles on her back that were far tighter than she realized. It was peace and warmth and love and trust and...everything. It was everything. Korra was everything. She leaned forward, her head lolling a bit, and...got caught up in the heat. Just a little. Slowly, deeply, she kissed her, settling Korra below her and letting her hair fall over her face.
Korra snickered and flipped it out the way. She cupped Asami's head, guiding their lips back together again. Her palms weren't heated. It was just Korra, stroking her hair as her own hand dipped lower and lower. Asami stopped just short and took her in. All of her. Her breath, her smile, her eyes, that look of wonder and sincerity. As if she were basking in some glow Asami never knew she had.
And really, as she smiled at Korra just a little wider, everything just else fell away.
Ikki grumbled as she dragged her feet across the floor of the temple. It was way too late, but she couldn't sleep because Jinora just had to 'have a sleepover' with Kai. She wasn't five! She knew exactly what they were doing, sorta, and she'd feel a little less mad if they didn't lie.
Well, not really no since she'd still be kept awake by lots of giggling and Kai asking dumb questions that Jinora always said yes to. Is this okay? Is that okay? I'm Kai, I can't remember what my girlfriend said two seconds ago! Uggggggggh, why would he ask if she always said yes? Probably because he was dumb and wouldn't stay on his side of the temple!
Maybe Korra would let her sleep in her room. Or Opal, but that was also Bolin's room, since Daddy...why had he said that was okay, again? Something about love and marriage, but they weren't married, so maybe he just liked Bolin a lot. Or Opal's Aunt Lin made him do it. Yeah, that was probably it. She could be scary sometimes.
She was about to knock on Korra's door when she heard...lots of slow breathing from two people. None of that dumb talking, so Ikki felt like she should be happy for them, even though she wasn't sure why. Oh! They were being quiet. And that was just being considerate, so she'd have to thank them for being so nice in the morning. Mako too! He and that lady she didn't know were doing things, but they weren't weird about it.
Ikki decided to take a walk around outside, since Kai always left Jinora's room around half an hour after he got there. It wasn't a full moon, which she always thought was sort of sad because her great uncle was in love with the moon. That story was weird. But Grandma told it, and everyone always said her stories were true, so it must be!
Ikki stared at the moon's reflection in the little pond, the one near the...all the fire lilies. She could never remember what daddy called it. It was probably the 'meditation pond', because everything was the 'meditation' thing.
"How do you even fall in love with a big thing in the sky?" she wondered aloud. "It's so weird."
"It is, isn't it? I've never quite understood that story."
Ikki spun around in a whirlwind and landed lightly on her feet. She smiled wide and waved at that lady Artana, Asami's work friend, who was sitting under a big tree. Under a blanket. She had less clothes on, too. She usually had that jacket, but she didn't have that. Just the shirt. "Can't sleep either?"
Artana waved back. "No, not quite yet."
Ikki huffed and zoomed over to her. "Nobody's asleep anyway. They're all just doing things! Except for Meelo and Rohan and my mom and dad, I guess."
Artana looked at her funny, but then smiled. "You mean things? Or things?"
Ikki sat down on the blanket. "Whichever one is more annoying. It's every other night with my older sister, you know Jinora, and her boyfriend. Yes, no, yes, yes, over and over again and daddy wonders why I'm always so sleepy! Korra and Asami don't make noise, because they're nicer and care about the other people living around them."
"So, things, then. I remember what that was like. I learned not to hear that kind of thing unless I wanted to, but it took me a while to figure that out."
Ikki grinned and jumped up and down and around. "Wow! Can you teach me how to ignore people like that? How do you do it? Is it an earthbending thing, hey where'd you get those tattoos? How long have you had them? Why do you have them because I don't have tattoos even though I should because Jinora got hers when she was my age so I should be the next airbending master, right?"
Artana didn't talk for a second, but then she did. "In order: I'm not sure it's something I can teach. I just sort of learned. No, not to my knowledge---"
"Sorry, sorry, I get excited and I do that. Can we just talk about the tattoos? They're so cool," she said, poking her right arm.
"Thank you. And we can, if you want. I should warn you though, they're not special like your sister's."
"It's because they don't mean anything to anyone but myself. Your sister's tattoos are something she's earned. I didn't earn these."
"Then why do you have them?"
"I wanted them. That's really all there is too it."
Ikki looked at her feet. "Oh. They looked sorta special to me."
Artana shrugged. "Well, they're special to me, but they don't mean I'm an...earthbending master, or something."
"So what do they mean?"
"It's not that interesting of a story. It's barely a story at all."
"Great! That means it'll help me sleep!"
Artana raised a brow. "That's certainly one way to look at it. I suppose, to start, each of these marks represents an idea, or an adventure. Or even just a place I've lived."
Ikki looked at the blue-black marks realllllly closely. "There are a lot."
"Yes, there are. The smallest ones, those right here, and these over here, are the places I've lived."
"They all kinda look the same and that's a lot of places. How come you didn't just pick one place like everyone else?"
"Ironically, I'm a nomad from the Earth Kingdom. Former Earth Kingdom."
Ikki furrowed her brow. It sounded like a joke, but it---oh, that's not that funny. "...and that's ironic because the Air Nomads were nomads and the new Air Nation sorta isn't but you are even though you're not an airbender?"
"Uhm. Yes. That's the idea."
"That's not very funny."
"It's not supposed to be funny. It's just the truth."
"Oh, okay. Because it wasn't funny."
Artana frowned. "Thank you for the feedback."
Artana stopped talking again, but then she stopped not talking. "Yes. In any case, these are old friends."
"They don't look like faces."
"That's because they're symbolic of who that person was. See, this one represents an old friend, Nalini. She was an amazing sculptor."
"What happened to her?"
Artana smiled, but it didn't look like a happy smile. "I don't know. I haven't seen her in a very long time. I just hope she's okay."
"Why do you think that?"
Ikki smiled extra wide for the both of them. "No idea! I just know. Why are you sleeping outside?"
"It's an old habit from when I was younger and moving around a lot. I find it difficult to sleep in the same place so many times. After six nights or so, I start to feel very restless."
"I already know you're restless. You're not sleeping."
"No, I mean it makes me uncomfortable. Almost scared, in some ways."
Artana shrugged. "Old habits die hard."
"Okay, so, how do you guys normally do this?" asked Opal.
Korra tapped her chin and leaned back on one foot, testing the strength of City Hall's new tiles. The old ones were of much lesser quality. She, Opal, Asami, Bolin and Mako were standing just outside of Raiko's office. "Well, typically I just sort of kick down the door, and then we all yell really loud what we want, and then we get it."
"It's how I got the contract to more or less rebuild the city," said Asami.
"...and how we got the pro-bending stadium to stay open," added Bolin. "Which...turned out to be a bad idea."
"You guys couldn't have known that was going to happen."
Mako frowned. "At least we would have avoided 'losing' to the Wolfbats."
"Hey, I water smacked Tahno's stupid helmet clean off! I wouldn't trade that for anything," said Korra.
"Yeah, and we beat them in that rematch later, remember?" said Bolin.
"We didn't just win, Bolin. We kicked their butts."
"...because you threatened to take his bending away if he cheated again," said Mako, being a killjoy.
"I never said that. I said I'd make him regret it. He heard what he wanted to hear."
"You didn't correct him, though."
"Why would I? It worked perfectly!"
Opal smacked her forehead. "Can we please focus?"
Korra chuckled awkwardly. "Sorry. Okay, so, on three...no, wait I really want to break this door."
Mako put a hand on her shoulder. "Please don't break the President's door."
"He blackmailed me, Mako."
Mako blinked. "When did that happen?"
"Few months ago. It, uh…" She looked over at Asami, who was staring at the ceiling. "It made things kinda bad for a while."
Mako checked down the empty hallway. "...break the door."
"Yes. All right, stand back." They did. She cracked her knuckles and lunged forward with a roar, augmenting her fist with a powerful blast of air. Right before she smashed into the door, it swung open and she lost her balance, sending her skidding face first to the floor. Her burst of airbending flew forward and smacked a very surprised Kuvira out of her seat and into a bookcase.
"I CAN HEAR YOU OUTSIDE OF MY OFFICE!" yelled Raiko. "What is wrong with you five!? Why is barging into my office your only form of communication with the government?! What is so impossible about making appointments or just calling me?! You have my home telephone number!"
His bodyguards didn't move an inch, and Korra had to wonder if they were just lazy, or they didn't see her as a threat.
Kuvira got to her feet and scowled. She dusted herself off. "Thank you for the daily reminder that I am nothing more than government property."
Korra was yanked to her feet by Bolin and Asami. "Hey, that was an accident! Wait, government proper---"
"Why are you here?!" barked Raiko, cutting off that line of questioning.
Opal frowned. "...it would be better if you were alone when we answered."
Bolin nodded vigorously. "Yeah, this...see, we didn't think Kuvira would be here."
"No one ever does," grumbled Kuvira.
"Quit moping and wait out in the hall!" roared Asami.
Mako sighed. "Mister President, it really would be in everyone's best interest if---"
Raiko pinched his brow. "No. We were in the middle of an important conversation, so say whatever it is that you came here to say."
Korra looked between Opal and Asami. "Uh, okay. But we warned you. We want to get Baatar Jr. out of prison on work release so he can act as Future Industries' CTO, and make weapons development much, much faster and easier. And probably cheaper."
"Done. Now get---"
"No. Stop." Kuvira paled and leaned over the back of her chair. She gripped the armrests so hard that they snapped. "You told me he was dead. Incinerated by the blast. You told me I killed him!" She shattered the chair against the wall and the earth beneath her feet shuddered. "And now, out of nowhere, these five come in and suddenly he's alive again?! Which is it?!"
The room was silent and Korra almost found herself leaping across the room and socking Raiko in the mouth. In fact, she was wondering why she wasn't trying to, and why Bolin wasn't holding her back from doing it.
Asami sighed. "He's alive. Bolin and I met with him to discuss potential countermeasures for spirit weapon technology. His input helped tremendously."
"How long ago was this?"
"About a month before you were released from prison."
Kuvira glowered at Raiko, her typically cool composure cracking and being chipped away piece by piece. "I have stood here and taken your abuse for months. I have endured everything you've thrown at me, every restriction, every forced humiliation, and I have done everything you've asked me to do!" Her eyes shook wildly as she rapidly snapped between Korra and Raiko. She bared her teeth and the tiles below her shattered into hundreds of smaller shards and rocks. "The only thing I want to do is help, and every moment of every day you use me like some expendable tool. Just another piece in your game. Oh, I understand the dramatic irony. I've made peace with that. But this?! Telling me that I murdered my fiance?! THE LOVE OF MY LIFE?!WHEN HE'S ACTUALLY ALIVE?!"
Raiko's bodyguards lunged at her, but she was faster, binding their arms and legs together and with metal drawn from the fixtures, violently wedging them into the wall. And then she was on top of Raiko, grabbing him out of his seat by his collar.
It had all happened so fast, and frankly Korra was sort of in shock as to what Raiko was willing to do to Kuvira, for reasons she didn't really want to know. There was no time to react from that kind of thing. How could she when she wasn't entirely sure who she should be stopping?
"Aren't any of you going to do anything?!" said Raiko, looking over at the five of them with expectation. Mako, in particular. But Korra was pretty sure that wasn't going to work a second time.
Korra sighed and walked over to Kuvira. Can't let her kill him. Nothing good would come of that. She clapped her on the shoulder and frowned apologetically. "I'm sorry, but you need to let him go."
Kuvira shuddered and clenched her eyes shut. "I…no...he'll just execute me now."
"You haven't given me much of a choice, Kuvira. You're clearly still fueled by megalomania. You attempted to assassinate the President of the United Republic, with witnesses," stated Raiko, a tad panicked. "My hands are tied."
Kuvira growled. "That's what this was?! Just another way for you to break me down?! I swear, I am going to---"
"Kuvira." Korra gripped her shoulder tighter. "Do you trust me?"
"This has nothing to do my trust in you! Korra, he---"
"I know what he did. Do you trust that we can take care of this?"
Kuvira stared at her, her gaze flipping from terror to rage over and over. She nodded and let Raiko go. With a bloodthirsty roar, she tore the door off of its hinges, crushed it into a mangled mess of metal, and slammed it into the floor. Kuvira breathed heavily, closed her eyes, and quickly broke into tears.
Asami stepped forward and glared down at Raiko. "Drop the assault charges, forget the past five minutes ever happened, and grant Baatar Jr. a full pardon."
"And why would I do that, Miss Sato?"
"Because if you don't, I'll ensure that you're convicted for practicing psychological torture on a woman who can be legally classified as a prisoner of war."
Raiko narrowed his eyes. "Fine. Now get out of my office."