Still trying to keep this story going. Thank you to everyone who reviews and keeps me motivated. I couldn't keep going on this without your encouragement. Thanks to my beta for her work to catch my mistakes.

Warnings for sex right away in this chapter

Please review if you're able!


A hand ghosted over the back of her neck, and Kuvira's eyes fluttered closed as she arched against the touch. Her legs were open and spread, Suyin settled neatly between them driving a toy inside her. It was a hard phallic shape which had enough bend and give to properly imitate the real thing, and Kuvira's hips moved to meet it with every thrust. She had been nervous about trying the toy for the first time, since she had only ever had Suyin's fingers or tongue inside her. It had looked so big, even though Suyin assured her it was quite average. They had gone slowly and gently, and soon Kuvira was moaning lewdly as Suyin whispered filthy things in her ear.

Kuvira was honestly surprised by how much she liked the things Suyin said during sex, things that she would normally find degrading and hurtful. But in bed with Suyin things were different.

"Are you close?" Suyin was asking. "You sound like you're close."

"Yes, spirits." Kuvira had found that she quite liked having sex with Suyin. She was certain she wouldn't want to do it with anyone else, with the notable possible exception of Baatar Sr., but with Suyin, she was able to surrender to those desires. Desires she had never felt to this degree.

She clutched at Suyin as she reached her climax, her hips canting jerkily. Gently, Suyin eased her through it, and Kuvira finally flopped against the pillows, spent. In her afterglow, she felt Suyin ease the toy out and crawl up the length of her body to curl up next to her, their legs entwining.

"How was it?" Suyin asked, sliding and arm around Kuvira's waist and nuzzling her nose in her hair. They had both quickly learned that Kuvira needed softness and cuddles after sex. That she was always raw and open and vulnerable after sharing that part of herself. She wondered sometimes if that was normal, but Suyin told her that everyone reacted to sex differently. While Suyin was always energized, almost bouncing, needing to do something, Kuvira always felt drowsy, like she could drift off to sleep right there. Tentatively, Suyin had told her Baatar was the same way. Somehow, that made Kuvira feel better.

Suyin also told her that he was much better at afterglow cuddles, in an almost apologetic way. As if she wished she could be better for Kuvira. Kuvira had said that everyone had their own talents. Personally, she thought that Suyin was rather good at holding her.

"It was good." She smiled. "Couldn't you tell?"

"I didn't want to assume." Suyin kissed her jaw. "What if you were faking?"

"I would never." Kuvira wanted to burrow into Suyin, remain entangled with her forever. "You told me to always be honest about how it feels." She reached her hand down between Suyin's legs, intending to bring her to orgasm as well, but Suyin grasped her wrist gently.

"You don't have to."

Kuvira sighed and rolled her eyes. "I know that. I want to." She drew her fingers over the folds of Suyin's sex, slightly disappointed, but unsurprised that she was not terribly wet. "Where's the lubricant?"

"Not right now, Kuvira," Suyin said with a frustrated sigh. "It's just not going to happen for me right now."

It was not the first time Suyin declined Kuvira's touch, and she would have found it disheartening and worrying if she did not know that it was just an uncomfortable side effect of her getting older. Part of her wanted to ask Baatar if this ever happened when they were together, just for peace of mind, but she knew that would hurt Suyin, break their trust. And she was not sure she wanted to breech that subject with Baatar just yet. They were growing closer, progressing, but they were not ready for that kind of intimacy yet. Not quite.

Her hand stilled, but she kept it nested between Suyin's legs. "Are you sure?" She wanted so badly to please Suyin, to watch her come undone. When this happened, when Kuvira was the only one who climaxed, she often felt like she was somehow being a selfish lover. Like if she tried harder, if she was just….better, then Suyin wouldn't have such a hard time coming to orgasm.

Suyin stroked her bare skin, tucking Kuvira under her chin. "Yes. Believe me, I want to, but it's just…a little painful today. And not in a good way." For Suyin did not shy away from pain and roughness during sex, often encouraging Kuvira to bite her harder, to leave marks. Sometimes, Kuvira found old, fading marks that she knew Baatar made. That always made her bite the same spot, harder, showing him that she could claim Suyin, too. It was not competitiveness, for that would lead to an unhealthy dynamic, but it was somewhat thrilling to know he would see them.

Kuvira let her fingers gently stroke Suyin's folds, never pressing inside. "Does this hurt?"

"No." She gave a soft moan, deep in her throat, but she moved Kuvira's hand away. "That feels fine, good even, but with no hope of finishing, I'd rather not get more worked up."

"What about later?" There were still several hours before Kuvira would have to go back home with Lin.

"We'll see. Let's just stay like this for now." Suyin kissed her, and Kuvira let herself become lost in it even as she felt her body surrender to sleep.

A gentle shaking woke her, and she looked up to see Suyin leaning over her. "Time to get up, love," She said. She was already dressed and showed no signs of their earlier activities. Even the bruise on her neck was hidden. "Lin will be looking for you soon."

Kuvira groaned and stretched. Her body was sore, but sated, and she felt an odd desire to stay in bed. "Tell her I ran away." Closing her eyes again, she rolled over to press her face into the pillows.

"I swear, you and Baatar are exactly the same. All you want to do is sleep after you come." Suyin's words were annoyed, but her voice was amused.

"You ruined me," Kuvira complained. "I can't move. I'm staying here forever."

"I'm sure Baatar will be very pleased to find you naked in his bed." They had made love in Suyin's room, as it was easier to get to without accidentally running into anyone. Even if the staff would never spill Suyin's secrets, during the day there were sometimes unexpected visitors who could see them entering one of the guest rooms together. It had not been as strange or awkward as Kuvira had thought. The bed smelled like them both, but Kuvira was now accustomed to Baatar's scent. It almost comforted her as she lay in their bed.

Kuvira rolled over on her back to glare at Suyin, who was grinning broadly. She sighed. "All right. Fine. But one day that won't be enough to move me."

Suyin kissed her soundly, pressing her into the bed. "That's what I'm hoping for," she said, breathless. Her eyes raked over Kuvira's exposed form, and she bit her lip. "I could take you again, just like this, but we don't have time."

"Maybe tomorrow." Kuvira sat up, trying to ignore the throb between her legs that agreed with Suyin.

"I do have to get some work done while you're here during the day. Baatar is starting to complain about how late I'm staying up, trying to catch up on all the work I miss while I'm with you."

Kuvira grew serious. "Korra is supposed to call tomorrow about my…progress. She's been conferring with the Council all week, and they're supposed to make a decision tomorrow about my parole arrangement. Maybe we'll get lucky, and they'll think I don't need constant supervision anymore."

Suyin did not look hopeful. "We'll see. You've been doing so well, and I know Korra will advocate for you, but none of them have seen you since you left Republic City. They haven't seen how much you've grown and changed. I don't know if you should get your hopes up."

"I know." Kuvira leaned over the side of the bed to start picking up the clothes that had been so carelessly thrown there earlier. "But the hope of it keeps me going."

Suyin's arms were around her in a flash. "Even if it takes years, you're going to be free again. And I will be with you every step of the way. I just don't want you to get too excited about this and then be disappointed when the answer isn't what we want."

Kuvira raised a brow, more than a little amused that Suyin was the one telling her to prepare for things not going her way. Suyin, who wanted everything to be exactly how she wanted, and who was known to overreact when she did not have her way.

She stood up to continue dressing, and Suyin ran a hand over the curve of her ass.

"You're not doing a very good job convincing me to leave," Kuvira said. She was sorely tempted to let Suyin take her again, Lin be damned. But the annoying nag of responsibility prompted her to finish dressing. At Suyin's disappointed sigh, Kuvira gave her a slow kiss. "Tomorrow."

"And if things don't go well?"

Kuvira's jaw tightened. "Then I will want some comfort. Maybe from you both."

"Baatar will be here if you want him." Suyin nuzzled her jaw. "He'll do everything for you. Anything to make you happy. We both would."

"I know." She pulled Suyin close and rested her head on the older woman's shoulder. It was still hard for her to accept their forgiveness, to believe that they loved her and had put the past behind them. It was hard to accept, but she tried to do her best. "I hope you know that I feel the same, Su. I would do anything to make you happy."

Suyin's hands touched her face, pulling her back so they could look at each other. "I will never take advantage of that."

Because they both knew she easily could. Being with Suyin was an extreme act of trust. She supposed the reverse was probably true for Suyin. She thought of the saying that trust is like a mirror. Once broken, it can be put back together, but the cracks are always visible. Their trust in each other had not just been broken. It had been shattered. So much so that even ten years later, the work to mend it was nowhere near done.

But more than that, Suyin had a tendency to overpower other peoples' will. It had not been a problem when Kuvira was younger, and had an iron will over her own. However, ten years in prison had weakened it considerable. She felt it deep in her core that she had the potential to sacrifice parts of herself for Suyin. Now she had to trust that Suyin had grown enough as a person not to prey on that.

Her promise sounded true and sure, and Kuvira decided that she would just have to believe in Suyin. They had gotten this far after all, which was farther than they should have made it by any rights. And Baatar seemed convinced that they would make it even further. His confidence helped lessen Kuvira's own anxiety about their future. He helped lessen her anxiety in general.

"I trust you," Kuvira said quietly. As usual, she was reluctant to leave. Everyday when it was time to go home with Lin, she felt like she was leaving a piece of her heart with Suyin. With a small sigh, she kissed Suyin. "I love you, and I'll see you tomorrow."

Suyin returned the words and squeezed Kuvira's hand. It would be a long night worrying over the Council's decision, and Kuvira would have to spend it alone. She could only hope that her time in Lin's guest room was soon coming to an end.

Korra's call the next day came while Kuvira was in Suyin's office, going over plans Baatar had left for her. Suyin was the one who answered, and her face told Kuvira everything she needed to know.

"Hello? Oh, Korra!" Suyin's smile faded quickly as she listened to Korra speak. "I see. Yes, she's here….Of course. Thank you." Suyin pulled the phone away from her, face drawn and serious. Kuvira felt her stomach drop, and she braced herself for the bad news. With a hand that miraculously did not shake, she took the phone.

"Korra?"

"Hey Kuvira." The normally bubbly Avatar sounded subdued. "I spoke to the Council today. They've made their decision."

"Just tell me."

"They're pleased with your progress, but they just don't think it's been long enough."

Kuvira sighed. She wasn't surprised, but she was still disappointed. Suyin watched her closely, eyes narrowed in concern.

"Thank you. For speaking to them on my behalf," Kuvira said.

"There's more." Here, Korra sounded apprehensive.

"What?"

"They want you to come back to Republic City."

Kuvira's world narrowed sharply, and she sucked in a gasp, her chest seizing and her knees going weak.

"W-what? They can't!" She shook her head, and Suyin's eyes widened and she took a step towards Kuvira. "I won't go. They can't make me." In her mind she was already formulating a plan. She would live in the swamp, evading the law. It wouldn't be so hard, and after a while they would give up looking for her. Maybe she could even visit Suyin now and then.

"Kuvira, calm down," Korra said. "It's temporary. Just for a visit. They just want to see you in person. You still get to live in Zaofu."

Suyin's arms were around Kuvira without her even realizing that the older woman had moved, and she began to relax.

"Just a visit?"

"Yes. They want Lin to bring you in next week so they can assess you themselves."

"I want Suyin with me," Kuvira blurted out before she could think about it. "Suyin comes with me."

"Kuvira, what's going on?" Suyin asked, her arms tightening.

Kuvira turned to look at her. "They want me to come back to Republic City."

Suyin's eyes went wide, her face paling. "What? No!"

"They want to assess me in person. Korra says it's just for a visit. Just temporary."

Suyin visibly relaxed, and she rested her head on Kuvira's shoulder. "How long will you have to be there?"

Kuvira relayed the inquiry to Korra. "As long as it takes," she told Suyin. "Korra doesn't think it will be more than a week."

Suyin looked troubled. "An entire week. I don't like it. How can they accurately assess you if they put you in a strange and uncomfortable situation?"

Korra could hear her on the other end and said, "That's exactly why they want you to come here. To see how you handle the stress and the change. I'm afraid there's not much of a choice. They've already decided."

"Does Lin know?" Kuvira asked. She really did not want to be the one who told her she'd be taking time away from her new job to spend a week in Republic City listening to the Council argue.

"She's my next call," Korra said. Lin had her own phone in her security office.

Suyin took the phone from Kuvira. "Korra, what kind of preparations should I make?" She nodded a few times and leaned over her desk to jot down whatever Korra said to her.

Kuvira sank into the chair behind Suyin's desk, deflated. Despite Suyin's earlier warning to refrain from getting too hopeful, Kuvira had still thought there might be a chance that she could have ended the day by making plans to move back to Suyin's home. Now, not only did she have to deal with that disappointment, she also had to somehow accept the stress of going before the Council. The strength seemed to leave her body, and she folded her arms on the desk, resting her head on them. She did not even notice that Suyin had hung up the phone until the older woman's hand came to rest on her back.

"It's going to be all right," Suyin said softly, rubbing her hand over Kuvira's back. "I'll be with you. All you have to do is show them that you are not a threat to the public. Lin will be there, too, and she'll vouch for you. Everything will be fine."

"What if they decide to keep me there? I can't go back to prison. Not now." Kuvira sat up to look at Suyin. "Before, I was so prepared to spend my entire life there but now...Su, it would destroy me."

"I won't let that happen." Suyin held her close, Kuvira's head pressed to her breast. "We're going to go to Republic City and show them that you are doing well here and then we're both coming home." Gently, she stroked Kuvira's hair, her touch light and comforting. "Do you want Baatar to come, too?"

Kuvira thought about it, knowing that he was a calming force for them both. "If he goes, then who would watch Kaori?"

"She can come along, too."

At this, Kuvira frowned. "I'm not sure I want her to see me like that. She knows I'm on parole, but she hasn't really seen what that means."

Suyin's brows furrowed as she contemplated this. "She seemed to get along rather well with Korra's oldest daughter. Perhaps she could stay with them. Normally, I'd suggest Opal, but..." Her jaw set as she swallowed her bitterness. She and Opal were still barely speaking.

"Do you think she would refuse to watch Kaori just because she is upset with us?"

"No, but she might be distant and cold, and I don't want Kaori to think she's done anything wrong. She's so sensitive to people's moods, and she so often thinks that it's her fault. I don't want to put her in that position. Right now Korra and Asami are a better choice. No matter Asami's feelings toward you, she would never let Kaori feel unwelcome."

"I hate to ask them."

"Well, Huan and Yunru are home from their extremely long honeymoon." Suyin had bemoaned how long her son had traveled around before returning to Zaofu. "I'm sure they wouldn't mind having her."

"They're newlywed. They need their space."

Suyin's brows drew together in irritation. "If you don't want Baatar to come, then just say so. Don't use Kaori as an excuse."

Temper flaring, Kuvira pulled back. "Excuse me for not wanting to be more of an inconvenience than I already am! Of course I want Baatar to come. I love him!" She sucked in a breath as Suyin stared at her, jaw dropped. "You know what I mean!" Kuvira's cheeks burned, and she swallowed. They both knew the meaning behind her words, but she was far from ready to discuss them. There was too much that came with it, and she could not deal with that on top of everything else that was happening. Maybe once she was done with the Council she would be more prepared to examine those emotions and feelings. More prepared to deal with the changes in their relationship that this would bring.

"Kuvira..." Suyin began.

"I want him to come," Kuvira said stiffly. "But I don't want to put anyone out. I'm not...I'm not trying to be difficult."

Softening, Suyin leaned down to press a kiss to Kuvira's hair. "Love, you are never an inconvenience, and doing things to help you is never inconvenient. No one is going to resent you for asking them to keep Kaori while we're in Republic City, least of all Korra or Huan."

Mouth quivering, Kuvira looked down, blinking back sudden and unexpected tears. "I just feel like I...like I make life harder for everyone around me. More complicated."

Suyin was quiet long enough that Kuvira feared she would not answer at all. Finally, she pursed her lips and said slowly, "It's true that sometimes things are more complicated, but that doesn't mean they're bad or harder. I love you and Baatar loves you and Kaori loves you. We would all rather have you in our lives and have things be more complicated than not have you here and things be simple. You're upset right now, I know, and I shouldn't have snapped at you about Baatar. We will find something to do with Kaori, and no one will be upset with you. It's going to be all right." Suyin kissed her then, trying to soothe her.

"Please don't tell Baatar what I said?" Kuvira whispered. "I'm not ready for that. I...I want it to be the right time."

Suyin looked confused for a moment before nodding. "Of course. We can talk about that later. When you're ready. Until then, let's just focus on getting you to and from Republic City without incident."

Kuvira feared that would be easier said than done.

As Kuvira had expected, Lin was disgruntled at the disruption to her routine, and Kuvira felt the need to apologize, which caused Lin to wave her off.

"You're not the one who can't trust that other people know what they're talking about." She rolled her eyes and shook her head. "This Council thinks they know you, but they don't. Anyway, it doesn't matter. Kya wants to visit her idiot brother, and I suppose it is an opportunity to stop by and see Mako."

Kuvira suppressed a smile. She knew Lin had never wanted children, but she sure seemed attached to Mako in a way that was more affectionate than a professional relationship. Kuvira supposed he was the closest thing she had to a son.

"Has he settled down yet?"

"No. I'm not sure he ever will. Married to the job. But not in the miserable way I was before Kya. He seems happy."

"That's good." Kuvira tried not to think of the scars he had on his arm from her machine. Technically, she had not actually caused that damage, but she was still responsible. She would most likely never be free of that guilt.

Someone, probably Lin, must have called Kya and told her all about what happened because she was waiting for them at home with take out from Kuvira's favorite restaurant down the street.

"I thought we could use a break from my cooking." Kya had the table set and everything ready, and Kuvira reflected that she did not deserve these people in her life. For most people it would be normal to have friends do things for them, but Kuvira just felt unworthy. It was something she was trying to overcome.

She looked up at Kya. "Thank you. You didn't have to do this."

Kya waved her hand dismissively. "It's nothing. I just didn't feel like cooking."

Kuvira let her downplay the gesture, but she was still touched. It did seem to quiet Lin's grumbling for a little while.

"Kya, are you coming with us to Republic City?" Kuvira knew that Lin had said it would give Kya a chance to visit Tenzin, but she still wanted to ask. She wanted to assess for herself how much this was putting Kya out.

Kya nodded. "If that's all right with you. It's been a while since I've been to Republic City. I just saw Tenzin at Huan's wedding, but I do have a lot of friends there that I haven't seen since we moved." She smiled genuinely. "It will be a good opportunity for me to catch up with them."

"I hate that the Council is doing this," Kuvira said. "I'm sorry this is interrupting your lives, too."

"Nonsense." Kya shook her head. "I love traveling, and it's such a beautiful time of year to see the countryside."

"It's such a long trip, though."

Kya wasn't listening, her face lit with excitement. "Oh, it will be nearly winter there. I'll finally get to wear some coats!"

Even Lin perked up at this. Kuvira knew she had an extensive collection of coats that would get very little use in Zaofu's milder climate. "I had forgotten that," she mused.

"Maybe it will snow!" Kya grinned broadly.

"Didn't you have enough snow when you lived in the Southern Water Tribe?" The prospect of snow did not seem to thrill Lin the way it did her wife.

"There is never too much snow," Kya said.

Lin shuddered and shook her head. "Only if you have Watertribe blood. Kuvira and I will freeze."

"Don't be dramatic, Lin. It will be fun!"

They were just about done with dinner when the phone rang. Lin answered it, frowning. "Hello?….Oh. Yes, she's right here…..Sure." She looked at Kuvira. "It's for you. It's Baatar."

For a terrifying moment, Kuvira feared that Suyin had spilled her secret, that Baatar was calling to confront her about it. She tried to take deep breaths to still the frantic beating of her heart and took the phone from Lin.

"Hello?"

"Kuvira, I'm sorry to call you at home. I'm sure you're having dinner." He did not sound anxious or upset or apprehensive."

"It's all right."

"Su told me about the Council wanting you to come back to Republic City, and I just wanted you to know that I'll be more than happy to come with you if that's what you want."

Kuvira blew out a sigh of relief. "Yes, I...I'd like for you to come, if that's not too much trouble for you."

"No, of course not. I'm more than happy to do this. I would actually hate to be stuck here while you and Su are there, wondering how you're doing and if you're all right. And we've already asked Huan. He doesn't mind watching Kaori for a week or so."

In that moment, Kuvira wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed between Baatar and Suyin, to be surrounded by their love and warmth. She hated that they would have each other tonight and she would be all alone. She had to think that even if things went well with the Council, she would still be stuck in Lin's guest room for the foreseeable future. She could not move back in with Baatar and Suyin until she had more freedom, until she could go about her day without supervision. And Korra had said that the Council just thought it was too soon for that.

Baatar continued to speak. "I think it will be good for both Su and me to go. To show them that you have a good support network. With Lin and Kya there vouching for you, they'll have to see that you're doing well here."

"I don't think they'll care," Kuvira said. She turned away from Lin and Kya's curious stares, trying to keep the conversation as private as she could."

"Su said you're worried that they'll try to keep you there."

"Yes. Su said she wouldn't let that happen, but what can she do? She doesn't have power over them."

"We'd figure something out," Baatar promised. "We would never leave you there. Not now. We love you."

Kuvira swallowed her immediate response, and said, "I know. I still worry, though."

"Everything will be all right. You've been exemplary, and they have to recognize that."

"I hope you're right."

"We can talk about it more tomorrow. I just wanted you to know I'm as much here for you as Su is."

"I know. Goodnight, Baatar."

"Goodnight, Kuvira."

She hung up the phone and returned to the table. Lin tried to look interested in her nearly empty plate, but Kya came right out and asked, "So why is Baatar calling you and not Su?"

"I already talked to Su today, but he was out." Kuvira could not quite meet Kya's gaze, but she could see the water bender's eyes narrow.

"You two are growing close."

"That tends to happen when you're both with the same person," Kuvira said irritably.

"Do we need to talk about contraception?"

Kuvira paled and flinched. "Spirits, Kya, no! I'm with Su, not Baatar."

"But you could be with him, too, couldn't you?"

Lin groaned and pushed away from the table. "I'm leaving now if you're going to talk about this."

"It's my duty as Kuvira's healer to make sure she's practicing safe sex," Kya said haughtily, her hand splayed over her chest. "No matter who that's with."

"I'm not having sex with Baatar!" Kuvira cried.

"Maybe not yet," Kya continued, heedless of Lin and Kuvira's discomfort. "But I've seen the way you talk about him change, and I know Su well enough to know that she's already told you she wants both of you together. She might be the kinkiest person I know."

Lin stomped back to their bedroom and shut the door. Kya did not even bat an eye.

"Kuvira, you want to make sure that if you do have sex with Baatar that you're careful. I'm sure Baatar is clean, and obviously you are, but there's still the possibility of pregnancy, even if he doesn't come inside you."

"Kya, please," Kuvira ground out, her face red and burning. "If, and I do mean if, that ever happens, it's a long way off. We really don't need to talk about it right now."

"It's better to do it now. What if something happens on accident? What if you all get carried away and suddenly you find yourself pregnant by your girlfriend's husband?"

Subconsciously, Kuvira placed a hand on her stomach, grimacing. "What if I make you a deal? Drop this for now, and I promise I'll let you talk to me before I am...intimate with Baatar."

Kya thought about it. "If you were anyone else, I wouldn't trust you not to get carried away, but I do think you have good self control." She sighed. "Just be careful. I know you don't think it's something that's going to happen soon, but life doesn't always go how you planned."

"I know that," Kuvira snapped. Of course she knew that. Ten years in prison and then falling in love with Suyin were enough to prove that to her. "I'm just really not comfortable talking about Baatar that way. We haven't even….he's never touched me in a way other than platonic, even though I know he has feelings for me."

"Do you have feelings for him?"

"I...Yes. I do."

"Does he know?"

"Not yet. Su knows, though. I don't want him to know until this business with the Council is done."

Kya nodded. "That's reasonable. You have a lot going on right now. No need to add more stress on top of it."

"I just wish things weren't so complicated," Kuvira lamented. "For the last ten years, my life has been exceptionally simple. I woke up, ate what they gave me, sat in my cell. Tried to do some exercises. That was about it after Republic City was cleaned up. And now...sometimes I think it's too much. Maybe I'm not ready for this."

"For what?"

"Normalcy. I want it, and I don't think I could ever go back to prison now. Not when I have Su and Baatar and even Kaori to think about." Kuvira sighed and rested her head in her hand. "But maybe everything's happened too fast. Maybe I needed more time to adjust before I ever attempted a relationship of any sort."

"It's a little late for that now," Kya said softly. "I suppose you could try and explain that to Su and put the brakes on the relationship. But I think that could make things more complicated, not less."

"I don't want to pull away from Su. That's part of what makes things so complicated. Being with her is a bright spot in all of this. She makes it feel like all of this is worth it."

Kya smiled at her. "You do seem happy with her. It's good to see. You've been in such emotional turmoil for as long as I've known you. It's good to know that you might finally be finding a good place in your life. For what it's worth, I think you're ready for normalcy. It's natural that you will feel insecure and off balance because of this, but I don't think that you're going into things with Suyin too quickly. You've known each other for years, and I know you have a cautious nature. You'll be all right, Kuvira."

Kuvira looked down at her hands. "Thank you, Kya. That...that does mean a lot to me."

"If you want to talk about anything before we go to Republic City, just say the word. I want you to be as prepared as possible."

"I'll keep that in mind. I'm sure I'll have questions."

"Tenzin is still on the Council, so I can try to butter him up for you. I don't know how much good it will do, but it can't hurt."

"I think he'll be the least of my worries. The new Earth State representative is from a town that I...that didn't receive help from The Great Uniter." Kuvira stared at the wall, remembering her first meeting with the man, the way he had leered at her, had gloated from outside her cell. She thought the fact that she was outside that cell now was nothing short of a miracle. "If he had his way, I'd never have seen the light of day again. I don't know how Korra managed to get me out, but I doubt this time around I'll have as much success."

"He's only one vote. Don't worry about him, just worry about the others."

Kuvira knew she was right, but she could not help the knot of worry that settled in the pit of her stomach. It felt like her entire future was riding on the vote of a man who hated her. His hatred was justified, and Kuvira could not begrudge him his opinion of her. She just wished that it did not color his view of her progress. She doubted he had the ability to be impartial, and she worried that it would be the difference between freedom and her continued confinement.

Either way, she felt it deep in her bones that her life was about to change drastically.