Asami gradually opened her eyes, her vision a blur as she stared into a nearby pillow. She blinked several times before starting to sit up in her bed. Slowly, she stretched her limbs out in front of herself, feeling every lasting piece of tension and soreness being drawn from her body. Her legs coiled inward, tucking close to her form while she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. She felt well-rested. Though she couldn't remember them, she was having pleasant dreams. Something nice, about Korra perhaps? She cupped a hand over her mouth to hide a yawn. At the same time, her other arm reached to the side to pull the blankets away, colliding with something solid.
She turned her head, laying eyes on the shape in the bed. She jumped in momentary panic and surprise, eyes stretching wide open, hand clapping over her mouth to silence a gasp.
Korra. In her drowsy state, she entirely forgot there was someone else there with her. Her hand fell from her mouth to her chest, resting atop a rapidly-beating heart. A slow exhale allowed her to stave off the rush of adrenaline. Her head turned to address the woman beside her, and she began to welcome the warm memories of the previous day. She smiled to herself.
Korra was tucked neatly beneath thin bedsheets, sleeping on her side. The look on her face was calm and peaceful. Asami reached down, letting her fingers hover just above Korra's dozing form. She paused long enough to remember the last time she found herself in this same position, too fearful to actually touch her. But she no longer had any reason to be afraid. Her hand fell, gently caressing Korra's cheek. Asami's eyes followed every visible curve of the woman, watching her slow breathing. She appreciated every contour and every detail. The warm, inviting sensation the contact gave her. The contrast of her much lighter skin against Korra's darker tone. The adorable way Korra slept with her lips slightly parted. Asami's fingers drifted along her skin and into her short hair.
The touch, however soft, inevitably roused the younger woman from her dreams. While Asami's fingertips combed through the brown locks, Korra began to stir. Her eyelids flickered and she uttered a quiet, tired moan. She turned in place, rolling to find the source of the contact. Gorgeous blue eyes blinked upward at Asami, and she spoke in a hushed, languid voice. "Hey."
"Hey there, sleepy-head," Asami murmured back. She realized she was smiling widely. She felt a fluttery sensation in her stomach, sending tingles through her body from the emerging excitement she was experiencing. "Did you sleep okay?"
Korra started to fidget, prompting Asami to remove her hand. The Water Tribe girl slowly pushed away from the sheets and sat up. She arched her spine to work the kinks out of it while rubbing at the corners of her eyes. "Amazing," she said simply. "I didn't wake up once."
"I'm glad," Asami said gently. She scooted closer to Korra, circling her until behind her. Both hands elevated, coming to rest on Korra's bare shoulders. She started to rub there, then moved farther inward, pinching the stiffer part of her neck. She settled into a relaxed massage, brushing Korra's modest clothing aside to have full access to her back and shoulders. Korra was wearing little more than a white tank top, though Asami herself had barely managed to slip into a gown the night before.
When Asami set to work, Korra arched her back and dipped her head forward. Her short hair bounced, collecting around her cheeks. All the muscles in her body tensed and then started to relax. She twitched and leaned into the grip of fingers and the pressure of thumbs against her back. A slow, relaxed sigh escaped her before she spoke again. "Ooh, what'd I do to deserve this?"
"Nothing," Asami replied, a soft hum in her voice. She continued to rub Korra's shoulders. Though not having any masseuse training, she experimentally applied pressure to different areas, allowing Korra's quiet moans to guide her. She worked until her fingers began to grow sore, after which she looped both arms around Korra's waist, laying against her back.
Korra stretched once Asami stopped the massage. She leaned her weight into Asami, turning her head. With Asami's head resting on Korra's shoulder, the other woman adjusted enough to press their cheeks together. They relaxed in silence for a time before Korra flowed into a new topic. "You smell nice. Like flowers."
Asami's drowsy eyes blinked at the commentary. She wiggled, squeezing Korra tighter with both hands. "Do I?" she asked rhetorically. "It's probably my perfume."
Korra nodded, their cheeks rubbing. "I've always liked it."
Asami smiled. "I'll make sure to keep using it, then." She relaxed again as the conversation died down. She held Korra in her arms, cuddled comfortably against her back. Asami felt a hint of awkwardness in the air. More than just the receding sleepiness, both girls seemed unsure of what to say next. There was a mutual, quiet acknowledgement of the night's events. An understanding that things had changed, with neither knowing precisely how to begin.
Korra broke the ice. "Are you hungry?"
"I could eat," Asami replied. "I'd like to take a shower first, though."
Korra raised a hand, reaching up to rest it on Asami's cheek. Asami sighed from the touch of Korra's delicate palm. She leaned into the contact, letting Korra's digits ease along her face and stop just under her eyes. She welcomed any show of intimacy from the other woman. She still felt faintly insecure, a lingering doubt after the unbelievable encounter the night before. Korra smiled at her, reassuringly. "Go do that. I'll make us something."
"Thank you," Asami whispered. She peeled herself away, turning to plant a kiss on the kind woman's cheek. She shifted her weight from the bed and stepped to the floor. A few paces took her to the nearby closet where she selected a new robe, disinterested in picking out or putting on any real clothes just yet. Before stepping into the hallway, she stopped to exchange smiles with Korra.
Left alone, Asami made her way through the mansion and to the nearest washroom. She dropped the new robe on the nearby counter space, then approached the shower to begin the flow of water. While waiting, she undressed, letting her mind wander to thoughts of Korra. She felt a much more pleasant tingle in her stomach now, no longer feeling the sore ache of confusion or the fear of rejection. She began to smile, imagining the lovely woman being in her arms. She stepped into the shower and began to wash off.
Under the flow of warm water, Asami allowed a shiver to work its way through her body and be released. She leaned to one side, resting her shoulder and head against the wall. She closed her eyes in deep thought. She was thankful, of course, that things worked out as well as they did. So many built-up trepidations over what could have been. The actual confession went nothing like she expected. It was spontaneous and unscripted. She wanted to sit and talk through her feelings for Korra in a logical way. Instead, she lost control of herself, leaning into Korra and kissing her at a moment of vulnerability.
The casual reminder of their kiss made Asami's heart swell with exhilaration. While she always felt an emotional attachment to Korra, she wavered in her confidence that any physical attraction existed between them. She was hesitant at first, but she accepted that she was enticed by Korra and found her alluring. Korra was beautiful and strong. She was feminine, caring, and compassionate. Everything about the woman made her freeze up and become light-headed. And her eyes! Asami simply couldn't deny her attraction. She was drawn to Korra in every possible way. She loved her.
And, most of all, Korra was hers. Asami's breath picked up faster when the thought crossed her mind. She began to squirm in place. Korra was hers. She had thrown herself at the woman, and Korra accepted her. More than just acknowledgement or understanding. Korra opened up and drew her closer with loving arms. The two held each other, and kissed, and were now starting to explore their new relationship together. The overwhelming bliss of being with Korra made Asami bounce on her feet. Giddiness surged through her body, making her squeal excitedly. She quickly blushed, pressing both hands against her cheeks while trying to force herself to calm down. "Okay, Asami," she breathed, "pull it together." She bit her lip to contain a wide, overjoyed grin.
After catching her breath, she stepped free of the shower and quickly dried off, changing into the clean nightgown. She further stalled herself by stopping to brush her teeth and hair, giving her heart time to settle. Once more relaxed, she exhaled heavily and set out to find Korra.
She wandered first to the kitchen, finding it empty. Though she could smell the remnants of food preparation, and see discarded cookware, Korra was nowhere to be found. She wandered near the window and door to check if she was outside. She leaned her weight from one bare foot to the other, looking as far out into the snowy terrain as possible, but saw no one. Humming to herself, she turned and made her way back to her room.
Upon entering the bedroom, she saw Korra perched neatly in the bed, still wearing the minimal attire from the previous night. Korra was holding a bowl of soup in brown broth, blowing on it. A second bowl sat on the nightstand next to the bed with two pair of chopsticks resting along the top. Though slightly confused, Asami tiptoed across the room and slinked in behind Korra. She coiled both arms around her middle, leaning in for a kiss to the side of her neck. "What're you doing in here?" she asked, curious.
Korra arched subtly into the embrace and the kiss. She returned a smile, and tilted her head enough to issue as much of a hug as she could with her hands occupied. She adjusted her position to hold the bowl, waving a hand over the top of it. "About halfway through preparing something to eat, I realized I didn't want your servants to see me walking around in my underwear."
Asami grinned with amusement. She pulled away, turning to sit down with Korra on the bed. Korra thoughtfully handed her the bowl in her hands, and Asami accepted it with a short nod of her head. Asami lifted the bowl to try and identify the ingredients with her nose. Once Korra retrieved the second bowl and offered one of the pair of chopsticks, Asami continued the conversation. "They're used to it by now. I wouldn't worry about it." For an instant, she realized she no longer cared what the housekeepers might think of this new relationship, even though she doubted they'd actually look down on her for it.
She watched as Korra's eyes turned to address the soup. Korra used her chopsticks to pinch and lift green seaweed noodles from the broth, a typical ingredient in Water Tribe cuisine; quick and easy to prepare, and something Korra seemed to greatly enjoy. After noisily slurping the noodles, she looked back up to meet Asami's eyes. "Still. And some peace and quiet with just the two of us sounded nice."
Asami flashed her a smile, liking the sound of her suggestion. "You're sweet." She then looked to the food herself. She picked through a few seaweed noodles to find the other ingredients. Small bits of chopped meat of different kinds. Some looked like fish, while others she wasn't so sure. "What all did you put in this?" she asked curiously.
"Shome schtuff I found," Korra answered with a mouthful of noodles. Asami rolled her eyes at Korra's amusing lack of manners. Korra's style of cooking tended to be more haphazard than a standard recipe. She no doubt plucked anything she could find from the cold storage and included it. Most likely a Water Tribe custom to use whatever was available.
Asami took a few experimental bites, then began to eat normally. The second flavor ended up being pork, and while the dish lacked any additional spices, the simple ingredients worked well enough together. It tasted similar to the type of food she enjoyed on previous trips to the South Pole. After swallowing a mouthful of seaweed noodles, she nodded in Korra's direction. "This is good, thank you."
Korra stopped eating long enough to flash a sideways grin, appreciative of the compliment. She took another bite, making sure to swallow before speaking this time. "I'm glad you like it. I was thinking about what you said yesterday."
Asami paused for a moment. She squinted, trying to remember what they might have discussed. There were a number of topics covered, and none immediately came to mind. "What did I say yesterday?"
The short-haired girl swirled her chopsticks in the air, pointing at Asami with them. "You were saying we should take a vacation and visit the South Pole. Maybe once winter ends, we can go and enjoy a bit more snow and some real Water Tribe grub."
Asami beamed, remembering the conversation. She originally passed it off as a casual suggestion, not realizing Korra even remembered her saying it. Korra spent nearly all of her time in Republic City, and Asami thought she might enjoy a trip back home. "I'd love to go," she began. Her expression slowly changed, however, as her thoughts wandered. She slumped her shoulders, looking back at Korra. "Do you think your parents would…"
Korra shrugged dismissively. She took another bite of food, then tilted the bowl to drink the remaining broth. After setting the empty bowl aside, she turned back around and sat in front of Asami with hands in her lap. "My parents tried a lot of different things with me. They tried keeping me under lock and key with the White Lotus, they tried letting me be the Avatar, and they tried to give me a normal life. And they hid a lot of things from me. The more they wanted to control my life, the more out of hand it got. I think by now they just want me to be happy."
Asami lowered her mostly-empty bowl into her lap. She leaned forward, closing the distance between herself and Korra. Korra took the silent cue and leaned in to meet her. They touched noses, rubbing them affectionately in lieu of a kiss. "I'm sure you're right, sweetie."
"Sweetie?" Korra immediately asked, starting to giggle.
Asami blushed red, dipping her head and turning her eyes away. "Sorry, it just slipped out. I used to call Mako that, didn't I?" She suddenly felt very awkward. She reflected briefly on what she might call Korra. Sweetie, darling, honey, dear? Would Korra like any of those? Or was it too early to worry about coming up with an endearing pet name? Maybe it was best to let one develop naturally instead of trying to force it.
"No, no, sweetie is fine," Korra assured her. Asami felt momentary relief, until Korra decided to tease. "As long as I can call you… Sifu Girlfriend."
Asami turned a brighter red, blushing furiously at the comment. She sat up and pulled the bowl of soup back, pretending to ready herself to throw it at Korra. Korra squeaked with laughter, holding both hands up to defend herself. Asami relaxed her pose again and brought the bowl forward to hand gently to Korra. She took it without protest, putting it aside with the other. Once Korra turned back around, Asami waggled a finger in front of the woman's nose. "Don't you dare call me that in front of other people," she said with a snicker.
Korra grinned in reply. "Yes, ma'am."
With both of their laps now unoccupied, Asami pulled away and turned around. She spun in place, leaning down to lay upon the bed, resting her head in Korra's lap. Korra accepted her happily, placing both hands in her hair when she reclined. She started to brush and comb through the raven-black strands. Asami folded her hands against her stomach and closed her eyes to enjoy the touch. She felt safe, cuddled into Korra's lap while the fingers pet through her dark tresses. And she was all the more comforted knowing that Korra genuinely cared for her. She began to let her mind drift off into nothingness, just enjoying the quiet moment.
"I love you, too," Korra suddenly said, in a low whisper.
Asami opened her eyes, glancing at the woman above her. She traced the lines over Korra's face, examining her somewhat perplexed expression. Korra looked flustered, and a tad shy. She focused on the Water Tribe girl, furrowing her brow. "Hmm?"
Korra turned her eyes away, her cheeks a faint red. She was trying to retain her composure, but nervousness made her bashful. Asami found it charming. "Last night, you said it, but I didn't say it back. So… I'm saying it now."
Asami curled her lips into a smirk. Korra's adorable awkwardness made her seem much more sincere. Korra put genuine effort into expressing her feelings. "You're cute." Asami fidgeted, raising one hand to capture both of Korra's wrists. She pulled them down to her face, starting to lightly kiss at the other woman's fingertips. She applied small pecks, drifting from one digit to the next before turning the hands over and peppering her knuckles with kisses. "I still can't believe you're real. That this is real — you and I."
"I know," Korra replied breathlessly. Her eyes blinked slowly and she looked away. She appeared contemplative.
Asami continued to kiss at Korra's hands for a few more seconds, but eventually stopped to gaze up at her. Korra's eyes were unfocused, staring off into space. Asami tightened her grip on Korra's hand, squeezing it enough to get her attention. "What are you thinking about?" she asked in a dreamy voice.
Korra blinked. She turned her head, looking down at Asami in her lap. She slowly came out of her daydream, collecting her thoughts. "I don't know." She moved to recline, pulling her hands away from Asami's grasp. She leaned her weight back onto both arms. "I just thought, I've never had a girlfriend before. What do we do now?"
Asami clicked her teeth together, containing a brief tingle of excitement. Korra really was her girlfriend. When the warm glow subsided, she focused on the rest of the comment. She tilted her head, but stopped to ponder the question. She pushed her strength downward, moving to sit up and speak with Korra more directly. Once sitting, she turned around and pulled her feet closer to tuck under her legs. She moved close to Korra, looking into the blue eyes she adored so much. "Whatever you want to do."
Korra offered a weak smile, apparently somewhat unsure. But she seemed to appreciate Asami's confidence. She pressed her lips together in thought, eventually returning Asami's gaze with a playful smirk. "I liked the kissing part."
Asami giggled quietly at the response. She lowered her eyelids, easing closer to Korra on her knees. She lifted one hand, touching the other woman's warm face. Her thumb traced along the edge of her jawline, following it up and into her hair. Her other hand soon joined it, both lacing fingers into the short brown locks. Asami caught one more glance at those lovely blue eyes before she lowered her lids. She leaned in, kissing Korra tenderly upon the lips.
The first touch of lips sent an electric signal through Asami. Her skin began to tingle, and she felt a swirl of butterflies in her stomach. The kiss felt very different than the first time. The pressure was much more intentional, with less shaking on both sides. Asami could feel all of Korra's warmth and the softness of her lips. Korra's breathing hastened, and this time, she was the one to gasp. Korra broke the kiss at brief intervals, inhaling before Asami could reclaim her lips. Gentle moans from Korra ignited a growing desire within Asami.
Asami felt a faint tremble from the woman in her arms. Her eyes opened partway and she peeled herself away from the kiss. She watched, realizing Korra was merely wobbling unsteadily on her arms. Her elbows bent and she fell into the bed, blinking up at Asami above. Watching Korra lay back, Asami began to move. She bent her knees, crawling over Korra as if on the prowl. She slowly and carefully relocated, straddling the other woman's hips before leaning down to meet her again.
They kissed once more, Korra already breathless. When Korra separated her lips to inhale, Asami did the same. Cautiously, Asami slipped her tongue past her lips, barely skimming the edges of Korra's mouth. She felt the other woman stiffen below her in response. Korra placed a hand on the small of Asami's back, with the other drifting up into her long hair, brushing it aside. The embrace grew deeper, Asami tilting her head to bring them closer. Asami coaxed Korra's tongue out of hiding, catching it with her own. A soft lick directed Korra through slow motions; a gentle, swirling dance just past the Avatar's lips. When Asami retreated to take a breath, Korra eagerly followed. Asami caught Korra's tongue between her lips, caressing it carefully with her own for a few fleeting seconds, until the kiss finally concluded with a loud click of lips.
Asami pulled away, batting her eyes to reopen them. She sat up atop Korra, lifting both hands and drifting them through her dark hair. She pulled the wavy mess of hair back, away from her face. Korra's hands were now on Asami's hips, holding her in the new sitting position. When she glanced down at the woman below her, she smirked to herself, seeing a panting Korra looking up at her with rosey cheeks. Korra took several long moments to catch her breath. After some effort, she finally articulated what she wanted to say. "Yeah, I definitely like that part."
Asami rolled her eyes, pretending to sigh with exasperation, though she couldn't hide her smile. She returned her gaze to the Water Tribe girl she was perched on. She felt an overwhelming surge of happiness and contentment through the center of her chest. She lowered her eyelids to consider Korra. The gorgeous woman she felt everything for. She reared back, raising her hands with fingers curled playfully in Korra's direction. In response to Korra's quip, she managed a mischievous, "Hush." And then she pounced, met by Korra's excited squeal.
At this point I wanted to sincerely thank everyone involved with this story, especially the readers. This was an incredible experience for me and I'm glad to be able to share it. Apologies to anyone who expected the fic to keep going or wants more, but like the original Avatar and LoK itself, I wanted to draw the narrative to a close. This is the story I wanted to tell, and I hope it satisfies whatever you may have been looking for. I love reading reviews and feedback, especially because this subject is very personal for me, so again please refer anyone you know who might enjoy it. Thank you all again!