Riches to Rags

Chapter 22

I walk through the short corridor of the hallway towards my front door, which is forced open the moment I unlock it. A snow-encrusted Kuvira glares at me, forcing herself all the way in, closing the door behind and stomping white powder from her boots.

“Took you long enough, are you trying to kill me?” she demands, and I can’t hold back a laugh seeing how pink-faced she is from the cold.

“I should kill you,” I say, between chuckling, “Why are you here? You didn’t even call.”

“No signal with the storm. Got stranded on the way to Bo’s.”

“You were trying to drive in this?” I ask, shaking my head whilst parting the blinds and peering out of the window. It’s looking worse than ever out there, and I can hear the wind howling around the edges of the window frame.

“I forgot how steep Sunhill Street is, I guess,” Kuvira says. I turn around to see her removing her gloves and thick green puffy jacket, where she places it on a spare hook and then turns to me. “Mind if I stick around until it passes?”

I sigh and roll my eyes, “Of course not, but…” my eyes curve to the side, and I lower my voice, tilting my head towards the living room, “I have a… guest. The woman I told you about.”

“No shit? Raven?” Kuvira’s whisper is more like a shout, and her eyes widen, “You managed to get her off the street?”

Before I can stop her, Kuvira’s thrusting her boots off excitedly and heading straight into the living room. I could kick myself for letting Kuv in – now of all times – but it’s not like I have much of a choice.

“Hello! I’m Kuvira!” she says, holding her hand out. Thankfully, Asami slowly stretches an arm out and cautiously returns the gesture.

“Sorry about this,” I force an apologetic grin towards Asami and grab three beers from the fridge, “Kuv, leave the poor girl alone. She’s been through a lot.”

“I was only saying hello,” Kuv says, blowing out a puff of air. She opens the closet door and pulls out her favourite bean bag - a giant, dark-pink puffy one. It’s one of three that I have in storage for those rare moments that there’s more than two people in the house. She plops it into the centre of the room, takes a beer from me with a smirk, and flops her ass right into the centre of the cushion, grinning the whole time.

“Shit, Korra! We should use these more often. Ten times cosier than that thing,” Kuvira says, nodding her head towards the sofa.

I return to my position on the couch, offering Asami a beer, “It’s little bit early, I know. I can get you a coffee or juice if you prefer?”

“Um… no, beer’s good,” Asami gingerly takes the bottle from my outstretched hand and twists the top off, gulping heavily whilst glancing nervously at Kuvira. She seem even more nervous than I’d anticipated, and she keeps staring towards the hallway, towards the exit. I couldn’t let her leave now even if she wanted to; it’s far too wild out there.

“Gaaaah!” Kuvira suddenly groans, leaning her head all the way back until it’s upside down over the other end of the beanbag, where she stares at me with her deep-green gaze, “I was supposed to be getting laaaaid. Korrrraaaa!”

“Kuv. In front of guests. Really?” I ask, raising an eyebrow at the pouting woman.

“It’s fine, really,” Asami says. And I notice there’s a small smirk on her lips. Maybe Kuvira’s antics are actually entertaining her – it’s hard to tell.

Kuvira sits up and takes a long swig at her beer. I notice that she’s staring at Asami, and I notice that Asami’s staring right back. She looks fearful. Just as I’m wondering why that could be, Kuvira’s eyes widen and she stands to her feet.

“Holy fuckballs!” Kuvira points excitedly towards Asami, who is suddenly scowling, looking away from us both.

“Kor! Do you even know who that is? Raven my ass!”

I see Asami’s face twist into confusion at that name, maybe I’ll explain it to her later. “Yes, she’s Asami,” I say, matter-of-factly, “and you’re being quite rude, Kuv.”

“No, Korra, she’s-“

“Asami Sato,” Asami interjects, looking at me with an almost guilty expression.

Both of them wait for a reaction from me, and it seems once again like I’m supposed to make something out of this. “Sa-to?” I roll the word around my mouth. It does seem vaguely familiar.

“Daughter of Hiroshi Sato, CEO of Future Tek, aka public enemy number one,” Asami’s voice trails to a whisper at the end, her hands turn white from clutching the blanket so tightly, and I can see tears glistening just above her cheek.

“Korra, you’re such a dumb shit. Don’t you ever watch the news?” Kuvira’s laughing as she speaks, but Asami looks terrified.

“Just… shut the fuck up, Kuvira. Just for a minute. In fact, why don’t you get us more beers? We’re going to need them,” The look I give Kuvira makes it clear she should know better than to argue with me. Thankfully, she does exactly as instructed.

I try to smile at Asami, but she won’t meet my eyes. As I study her face, I start to remember. Come to think of it, I have seen her, albeit not in person. She was younger, holding some sort of metal leg up, and wearing a white gown.

“Oh! I remember!” I exclaim, and Asami looks at me with fearful eyes, but I reach over and place a palm above her knee, “You were in that big sciencey magazine working on like, robot legs or something!”

“Cybernetic limbs,” Asami corrects me, although the words seem to make her sadder still.

“Yeah, I have an amputee friend who was really excited about it. He wanted to help test them!”

“Well, that’ll never happen now,” Asami says, flatly, still staring away as she downs the last few drops from her bottle.

“Here,” Kuvira says, twisting the cap off and giving Asami a fresh bottle, “Look, I didn’t mean anything by it… we just don’t get celebrities here all that often – certainly not off the street.”

I raise my eyebrow at Kuvira, wondering if she realises the irony of her words, “Um, Kuv… we’re kind of in the movies. As in, movie stars. As in, leading roles. And I kind of did come from the street.”

“Oh you know what I meant, asshole,” Kuvira scowls at me and puts my second beer on the table, then flops back into her beanbag. She leans up to speak again. “Look –– Asami, was it? – we’re actors. We know better than anyone how much bullshit they put in the papers. You can relax here, we won’t tell anyone. Korra’s good blood.”

I see the colour start to return to Asami’s face, and I breathe out a sigh of relief.

“But… since I’m not getting laid, you two had better entertain me,” Kuvira says, winking at me.

I groan at the words. Kuvira is hard work… but a good friend.

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