Author's note: sorry it's been a dry spell. life happens, and unfortunately, it's not always in the best way. i suffered a death of someone very close to me and it sorta took everything away from me. and then… just life being busy in general. please feel free to share your comments and thoughts on how you want the story to progress or what have you. thank you again for your patience and for reading.

i did not get a chance to proof read this - as i'm just trying to get the chapter out.

author's note 2: crap... i forgot the last paragraph...added it in.

-.-.-.-

Chapter 21

Korra arrived after some time in the city (of the South Pole) with her dad. "hey everyone," she waved at the guards. "Are Katara and Mirai training?"

The guards looked at one another awkwardly. "Um, she's resting."

"Resting," Korra asked confused. Her training must be going well if a healer has to rest. Korra made her way towards Mirai's room.

-.-.-.-

Qadan woke to his new normal, him waking up next to a sleeping Mirai. He gently brushed her hair from her face. At least her eyes aren't swollen anymore. She had come a long way from her complete breakdown and her crying subsided each passing night. Suddenly, he felt it…a weight on the door. As soon as he snapped his head around, he saw Korra. In a matter of seconds, he saw her emotion cycle through confusion to rage. Quickly, he earth bent rocks to stifle her outrage as he leapt from the bed. Ready for a fight, she pushed back as he tried to corral her into another guest room.

"You earth bent at me!" she cried, flinging the rocks at him like a tantrum child.

"Do you always attack before understanding?"

"What's to understand? You were in bed with Mirai!"

Qadan shoved a handful of pictures in her face.

"What are these," she snatched from him, curious how she missed him actually picking them up.

"Like I said, understand first," he added, matching her defiance.

"Is this Mako?" – shock

"What the fuck are these?!" – confusion

"Who the fuck is she!" – anger

"Right, so now you know."

"I know nothing!"

"Can I finish explaining?"

"What are you sleeping with Mirai? What are you, a rebound?"

Qadan sighed as he rolled his eyes. "Apparently someone sent these picture to Mirai weeks ago," he said as she continued to look at the pictures in disbelief. "She was a mess and Katara basically asked me to babysit her because she was so unstable…emotionally. So a few of us have been making sue she eats, sleeps, and smiles…"

"But it doesn't explain this chick."

"No one really knows. Frankly, I don't care. Mirai was a wreck after seeing Mako with this woman –" Qadan suddenly stopped.

"What?"

"Mirai is starting to wake up. I think its best if you pretend nothing happened and let her tell you herself." Korra handed him back the pictures and he left quickly.

Confused, Korra sighed and made her way to Katara's office to call Asami. "Hey."

"Babes? Is that you?"

"Yeah."

"Is everything okay?"

"Ummm…." Korra was unsure of how to start.

"What's the rule?"

"If you have something to say, just say it."

"Right," Asami said reassuringly. "We will always be together and if things are hard, we can figure it out together. So what's bothering you?"

Taking a deep breath, "Well, I ran into Mirai." As expected there was no response. Asami always patiently waited for Korra to finish her thoughts. Korra wished Asami would have started talking, filling in gaps, but maybe she didn't know. Korra debated on whether or not to mention Qadan. "She didn't…."

"She didn't what?"

"She… There were pictures of Mako…"

"Oooohhhhhhh."

"You know," she asked Asami, genuinely surprised.

"Yeah. Its…Its been really bad."

"What in the world is going on?"

"It's a long story and Mako is trying to keep it quiet…."

"That doesn't help me understand anything," Korra said, frustrated that everyone seemed to know but her.

"I know, but I don't have much time. I'm actually flying out with Mako this afternoon."

"Oh? Where?" something else I didn't know?

She heard Asami sigh. "He wanted to see Mirai to talk to her, about it all."

"ehhhhh….."

"Well, all we can do is be there."

"You're surprisingly calm about it all, Aasmi."

"I've had more time to digest it htan you. But I hear people down the hall, I have to go," she ended…her voice barely a whisper.

"I love you," Korra quickly blurted out.

"Thank you very much. Yes, that proposal sounds interesting, but I am departing today. Let's pick up when I return. Yes… Thank you."

Korra giggles as she hung up the phone.

-.-.-

The day passed without much fan fair. Korra met with Katara briefly which only confirmed Katar's concern for Mirai. But of course, as gentle as she is, she did not pry. "Kids need to figure out things on their own," Katara recalled the words of her friend, Toph. Katara recalled the time Ang kissed her when she wasn't ready. How awkward and confusing it was. "They need time to heal and sort out feelings," was all she offered Korra.

"They?" Korra questioned, thinking back on their conversation, she hadn't mentioned Mako's name.

Katara gave a knowing smile, "Well, people don't get this upset by themselves. And to be this emotional, the other person involved must be very important."

"Oh." Of course. It's obvious when she puts it that way.

"She is healing and Qadan is doing a good job."

"Of?"

"Keeping her distracted from the pain."

Korra simply nodded, unsure of what else to say.

-.-.-

Hours later, Korra made her way to the kitchen where she learned that Qadan and Mirai went into town on a few errands.

"What's with the nervous look, Avatar," Noodles asked in an inquisitively friendly manner.

"Qadan seems to be taking this …caregiver role seriously," she stated with skepticism.

"Well, when your friend is hurting, you do all you can to make sure it stops, right? And you stay until you're sure they don't break down when you leave…if you choose to leave your friend."

"She hardly seems broken."

"One, you weren't here when she was, she's gained weight back. Two, you haven't really seen her to know the difference."

Korra blinked, shocked by the harshness of his words. "It hasn't even been that long…"

"It's amazing how much weight you lose when you don't have the will to eat, isn't it," he said calmly, making it a point to address Korra's doubts. "It is lucky she's had someone by her side and the rest of us looking out. We all do what we can when one is in need. Much like how your group all pitches in without even being asked."

Korra mulled over Noodles' words as she chewed on her tempura. Asami was doing all she could for Mako, but it's not like Asami is trying to make a move on him. Maybe Qadan is the same way.

"An air ship is landing," a guard called from the entryway. "Don't close just yet, they might want food."

"I'll wait for a bit, but I'm going to close when Mirai and Qadan come back. I've sent them to the city for ingredients for dinner."

"Don't you have a kitchen," Korra asked.

He looked down at her, mouth full of food, unlady like. Winking at her, he stated, "I just didn't feel inspired." Korra arched her brow, tempura hanging from her lips, wondering if that was a slight directed towards her.

-.-.-

The gates opened, allowing Mako and Asami to enter the compound. They were greeted warmly.

"It's been a while since we've seen you in the south," Rina mentioned.

"I thought it was time to visit…"

"Your girlfriend?" Rina asked more directly than any other White Lotus had. Asami answered with a sigh. She didn't care what people thought of her and Korra being together. What she minded were the stupid questions. As if someone would walk up to Mako and ask "so, what's it feel like when you kiss your girlfriend."

Korra came running up – nearly jumping in Asami's arms, "It's so good to see you." Her strong arms gently enveloped Asami.

"Korra!" Mako called and running up. Korra hugged him in turn.

"How have you been," Korra said, releasing Mako from her arms, but not Asami.

Mako nervously scratched his head, "I've seen better days honestly."

"Well, let's not talk here," Asami started. "Korra, can you show us to our rooms? Maybe we can get something to eat. We're starving."

"Oh! Noodles is an amazing chef. We can see if he's still serving lunch or just head to the city. My mom and dad would love to catch up."

-.-.-

The sun was starting to set when Qadan and Mirai returned.

"You guys took long enough," Noodles joked, greeting them from their errand running.

"It was nice to just walk around without a care," Mirai smiled warmly.

"Yeah, because I carred everything!" Qadan chided her lack of accountability.

Noodles laughed as he started to peer through the bags, "At least I have my babies!" He lovingly picked up an eggplant, turning it over in his hands, "you will make a fine centerpiece to the table tonight."

"Why are you just going to put it on the table," Qadan asked, carrying more food to the back.

"Centerpiece of the entree you rock!" He turned his attention back to his eggplant. "I think I'll make you into a stew tonight," he cooed. "It will have a nice homey feel, yes?" Noodles put his ear towards the eggplant. "Yes, I agree. Our guests will feel welcomed like old friends with that idea."

"Add meat!" Qadan called, poking around in the kitchen.

"Guests?" Mirai asked.

"Out of the back you brute!" he ordered before turning his attention back to the vegetables towards to add for the homey feast. "Yeah," he finally answered Mirai. "Korra's friends came to visit. Not sure where they are now though. I'm pretty sure they'll eat here. Bless her heart, Korra's got no table manners but she loves my food!"

Mirai noticeably stiffened and her cheeks flushed as she slowly started to panic. It could just be Asami….it could just be Asami…but … he said….guests…that's plural….

Qadan finally emerged from the kitchen, but immediately noticed the change in Mirai. "What did I miss," he said in, what would seem like a joking manner, were it not for the hard look in his eyes.

"The Avatar has guests today. An air ship landed."

Qadan nodded inresponse as he slipped around the counter. "Mirai," he called, his voice penetrating her thoughts, "It's training time with Katara." And headed towards the door.

-.-.-

Katara waited peacefully in her hut for Mirai after seeing Korra and her guests out. Soon, she will have to learn to use her abilities for real combat. Her avoidance abilities were remarkable; however, she would need more than just defense. Her gentle nature reminder Katara of her late husband, Aang. It will come when she is at a cross roads," Katara thought to herself. She cannot hide here forever.