ONE MONTH LATER
"I won't apologize for being in love!" Avatar Korra said, at a news conference today in response to reports that she was in a romantic relationship with Asami Sato, the disgraced former CEO of Future Industries.
A flurry of letters and editorials have come ever since the Avatar was spotted kissing Miss Sato on a ferry from Air Temple Island two days ago.
The relief of learning that our Avatar had, in fact, not died during the haunting public display last week was soon turned to dismay when the picture hit our pages. The letters we've received have swayed from overwhelming support of the relationship to harsh rants against Miss Sato for perverting a sacred figure.
With Avatar Korra all but admitting to the romance, we ask you, our readers. Do you believe that this relationship is soiling the great history of the Avatar? Or is love simply love? Send in your responses and we will post our favorites next week!
"You know," Korra started, glaring at the newspaper in her hand as if it had insulted her, which it actually had. "I knew some people would be against it. I mean…as far as I can tell some people are against the Avatar having a love life at all. It distracts from duty. But…if I have to read one more article about how Asami is tarnishing the legacy of the Avatar I'm gonna start burning every paper I see."
From across the table, Tenzin was gently sipping on his tea, listening to Korra with apt interest as he too scanned through the varying stories of Republic City.
"Non-traditional relationships have always been seen as a bit…undesirable. But none have been as public as yours is with Miss Sato. It's simply going to take time."
Korra sighed, using her hand to swoosh the contents of her tea in the cup. "It doesn't help that Raiko is taking every chance he gets to run Asami down since she lost her company. Also, have you seen Asami out there working on that broken down Satomobile Lin gave her? There is nothing undesirable about that."
Tenzin's eyes went just big enough to make Korra smirk before he cleared his throat and narrowed his eyes at her. "Be that as it may…you must then decide if it is worth all the hassle. Because you've only just made it public that the two of your are involved. People have always assumed they have a role in the life of the Avatar."
"Tenzin," Korra looked up from her cup, disbelief on her face. "You understand how important Asami is to me, right? I mean…I died for her, she lost her company, the only tie to her family, to bring me back. This thing with Asami is not a fling. She's the girl I'm supposed to be with for the rest of my life."
"And you know this after two months?" He questioned. Though he seemed genuinely curious. As if he was just wanting to hear her say it.
Korra maintained eye contact. "It's been eighty-six days since the first time I kissed her in the Spirit World. I'll never stop counting the days from that moment because it was…the first time in my life that I stopped feeling alone. I know that I've had you and your family and my friends and…so much support and love. But there were always things I couldn't share with anyone. Things that I carried with me. Things I'd seen and done and felt. And nobody understood what it was like to be the Avatar. To be born with so many expectations to feel so…useless. I was useless after Zaheer and it almost killed me. Even after he was stopped. And I couldn't tell anyone. But Asami and I shared a body. My…soul or whatever was in her and she saw it all. She felt every single thing I went through in my life. And when I woke up after she put me back in my body and she looked at me in that bathtub." Korra closed her eyes, she pushed back the onset of tears. Not wanting to cry right now, not letting herself. "It didn't change the way she looked at me one bit. That's love. I don't care if we're both girls. I don't care I'm the Avatar. We're in love. She's my forever girl. And people can push against us all they want because I am sure as hell going to push back."
He stared at her for a good minute. Eventually Korra faltered and wiped angrily at her eyes before glaring at her tea. She hated being vulnerable like that, with anyone, but she had to say something. She had to let him know how she felt because, deep down, she needed him to support her and Asami.
When he stood, Tenzin finished his tea and sat the cup down in the sink before walking around the table to touch Korra's shoulder.
"Don't worry, Korra. We'll get through this. We always do."
"Why are we doing this again?" Korra asked, for the third time. Asami was about ready to yank on the hair she was combing, but instead she patted her precious Avatar on the head and repeated herself.
"Because you keep complaining about your hair getting into your face while you practice and you won't let anyone cut it, so…we braid."
Korra's hair had become quite long. She hadn't cut it since she took a sword to it in the heat of recovery and while she liked that look, and the compliments that came with it, for some reason she couldn't bring herself to cut it again.
Asami liked Korra's hair either way. Though she would say that longer made Korra look a bit more primal at times, especially in bed in the heat of the night. However, Korra was not the best at actually taking care of her hair. Sure she'd wash it in the shower, but then just let it do whatever it wanted and thus, when she practiced, it was flying all over her face, knotting and overall just getting in the way.
And, as she'd said once before (though at the time it carried a bit more weight than hair upkeep) Asami was responsible for Korra.
Thus the combing and the braiding to follow.
It was a fairly serene day. The sun was just beginning to fade and after the awfulness that was yesterday and stepping down from Future Industries (something she still hadn't fully processed). To be here now, with Korra and surrounded by nothing but quiet and a warm breeze, she could finally take a breath.
"So Korra," Asami bemused, drawing a soft hum from the girl below her. "Do Republic City newspapers ever make it to the Southern Water Tribe?"
"Yeah I suppose so." Korra shrugged, clearly missing Asami's point. "I mean Republic City news travels fairly quickly and my dad used to get them to keep up with the Pro-Bending scores but—" Korra went rigid and Asami grinned. Her poor, clueless girlfriend. "Oh Spirits. Dammit, Asami we have to tell them."
When Korra tried to glance up at Asami, she grabbed her head with both hands and forced her to face straight. "I figured."
"I—I…oh gosh, telling them over the radio seems so bad. I mean with Mako it was one thing cause we didn't know what we were doing but you and I are…" Korra's sentence trailed off in a fit of worry and thought about her parents.
But Asami couldn't help but wonder exactly how that sentence would end. Certainly good, because of how concerned Korra was about it. But still, she was curious. Always curious.
Just like her dad used to tease her about.
Again Korra tried to look back at her. Asami pursed her lips and swatted the top of her head softly with the comb. "Ouch! What are you talking about?" She asked, looking straight again, but this time with a very cute pout.
"You said you didn't know what you were doing with Mako, but you and I are?"
Years of experience lead Asami to believe that Korra had just rolled her eyes at her as she sighed. "We're in love, Satobot. Come on, you had to know that."
Asami shrugged. "Alright, well I guess I just wanted to hear it." Putting the comb down after being satisfied that she'd done her best at combing out all the crazy in Korra's hair, Asami started grabbing fistfuls and crossing them over one another. "So, your parents?"
"Yeah. I…we need to go see them. I haven't been south since…everything with Zaheer and now with you. I need to know they're okay with it. It'd be nice if someone was." Korra's voice was a healthy mixture of hope and frustration.
Asami knew what it was like to have people hate you for something you couldn't control. People hated her before they knew her because she was rich. Then they hated her because her father was an Equalist, and now they hated her because she dared love their female Avatar. She could handle it, mostly because she didn't care.
But Korra, ever stubborn, had a hard time accepting that people were naive and reluctant to change. It didn't make sense to her why the papers would cut down their relationship. Why people would ask that Asami not accompany Korra to meetings and visits to various places around the city.
And, once again, as Asami had learned in her experiences with Korra, when she didn't understand something, she yelled at it.
"We can go see your parents. It's not like my schedule is packed these days." Asami mused, though in fact she was dying inside.
It wasn't regret. Not at all, she didn't regret giving up her company for Korra. But she was, quite frankly, losing her mind here at the island.
Tenzin's family was amazing. She loved them all and they welcomed her with open arms when Korra told them about everything. But she was not cut out to be an air nomad. She didn't like to mediate, she couldn't sit around all day working her chi or connecting with her spirit.
She missed using her hands. She missed using her mind to create and fix. She missed the rush of a new project and the excitement of figuring it out. If it weren't for Lin sending over a broken down Satomobile for her to fix up, she'd have probably snapped and started throwing fruit at Meelo every time he came by calling her "Korra's trophy wife".
The lack of money wasn't an issue, yet. Asami knew that Korra didn't care about that, and she didn't really either but at some point, something else would come up and she wouldn't be there with a brand new airship and plenty of fancy new tools and gadgets for them to use.
In truth, Asami felt like a pretty useless member of Team Avatar without her company and all it's resources.
Besides making her Avatar look presentable, of course.
"Okay," Korra said, mostly thinking out loud. "So…we'll call them up and tell them we're coming to visit soon. And tell them not to read any newspapers from Republic City!" Asami smiled, Korra was already nervous. "They'll be fine with this. They really liked you. My dad for sure. You kinda scared him with how bad ass you can be and that's the best way to get my dad to like you."
As she put the finishing touches on the braid she'd given Korra, Asami bit her lip and studied her work. "Okay. All done." Korra reached around and grabbed the braid in her hand and held it up to her eyes.
"Wow, I do have a lot of hair. This is good though. I like it. Thanks sweetie." Asami winced. "No? Honey?" No change. "Darling?" Over exaggerated gag. "Oh yeah, that's what Varrick calls Zhu Li. Umm…oh! Baby." Korra quirked an eyebrow and smiled crookedly. Clearly very proud of herself. Asami grabbed the braid she'd just made and tossed it in Korra's face then watched Korra's eyes go wide with mischief. "Oh you did not, Satobot."
Asami turned to run but Korra was up in a flash and wrapped her up around the middle, lifting her into the air as Asami giggled with delight.
Mako took a great deal of pride in how well he handled Korra dating Asami. He could lay in his bed in the night and think to himself that he'd done well by both of them, in the long run, by supporting them fully.
But still, being around them on one of their normal days was a challenge.
Ever since their situation with Khan, Korra and Asami had become very clingy with one another. But it was subtle. Not displayed in outward affection or soft words of love. It was simple gestures that would go unnoticed by most people.
If Asami got up to go to the bathroom, Korra would always stand, and she'd stay standing until Asami came back. It was almost like she was at the ready in case something crawled out of the toilet and attacked her girlfriend.
She did this three times during the housewarming party he had for his new apartment.
Since he went back to the police force and had finally started to earn a pretty steady paycheck (and since Bolin was on the brink of proposing to Opal), he decided to find his own place. It wasn't anything fancy but neither was he and once he moved in, he wanted to bring Team Avatar over to celebrate.
The night started out great. They had some drinks and played games. Everyone found out that Korra hadn't actually drank any liquor in her life before and thus she was the one who started feeling it the soonest.
By her third shot of Fire Whiskey, Korra was happily dazed on the couch and watching as Bolin and Opal recreated one of the really lame dance numbers from the new line of movers that had come out over the last few weeks
During this, Mako cast his gaze over to where Korra and Asami (Asami being able to hold her liquor better than all of them) were cuddled up together. Asami was happily watching the couple dance all the while grasping and touching Korra's bicep like it was her job. It was something he'd picked up on Asami doing a lot.
She definitely had a thing for Korra's arms.
It was still very strange for him to see it, the two of them romantically embraced with one another. Again it wasn't jealousy, just…different. He was no master of words but there had to be one to describe how it made him feel. Just…strange.
He would go with that, strange. But they both were so happy that it was a good strange. He told himself that a lot. Good strange.
However, when Opal called up Korra (who was becoming more and more intoxicated by the second) to dance, she happily jumped up on his brand new coffee table and started moving around like a mad woman.
Korra was as athletic of a person as there was in the world. But a dancer, she was not.
"Pretty terrible huh?" Asami said, she'd stood from the couch after Korra got up and moved around to chat with Mako.
He couldn't help but smile as Korra put her hands on her knees and started shaking her butt around, the brown fur around her waist fluttering like a skirt.
"If her enemies could see her now." Mako said simply, turning to see Asami staring down at him fondly. "What?"
"You seem happy." She said simply, settling onto the arm of the chair he sat in.
Mako shrugged. "I am. Steady job, new place, great friends. I'm good."
"I never…thanked you for what you did, or…intended to do at the well." Mako looked away shaking his head. "Don't," Asami beckoned, drawing him to look at her again. "Don't undersell it. Who knows what might have been taken from you and you were ready to do it, just so I could get her back."
"What? And miss this show?" He said, pointing to Korra who was now holding Opal and swinging her around like a child.
Mako made light because he had to. Because he didn't want to say that he loved them both. It was easier this way. Of course he would give up something to protect them, they meant the world to him.
He didn't want to see either of them hurt and losing one another would do just that. So it was his duty, in a way, to make sure they stayed together.
Asami thanked him again but didn't have time to say anything else when Korra was suddenly off the table and scooping the tall brunette into her arms with delight.
Settling back in his chair, Mako watched Asami climb up on the table with Korra and try to teach her a dance that didn't involve shaking her butt. Asami stepped behind Korra, grabbing her arms and swaying them in a certain way. Korra tried it after Asami let her go but ended up just shaking her butt against Asami which made the other girl laugh boisterously.
He also found himself quite content with this new role in his life. He couldn't be the one for Korra, or the one for Asami. But maybe he could be the one to make sure that they made it home to each other every night.
Asami couldn't help but smile, Korra was insanely cute when she was pouting.
Earlier in the day, they had all seen Bolin and Opal off as they returned to Ba Sing Se for an extended to help with some of the movement going forward with the Earth Kingdom and the newly implemented government they were trying to forge.
Between them being gone and Mako being so busy with work, Korra was feeling a little melancholy at the absence of so many people in her life.
So, in an effort to cheer up her girl, Asami had suggested they play a little Pai Sho. Now, in hindsight, playing a game you haven't lost in twelve years with a novice in an attempt to 'cheer her up' was probably not the best idea. And after beating Korra for the third time, it registered that her always competitive girlfriend might be getting a little miffed with her.
"What are you doing?" Korra cried, gesturing at the board with her hands.
Asami grinned. "What? I'm playing the game."
"No, you're manipulating me. You make moves that make me think I'm doing well, then you come around and you take all my pieces and sit over there all pretty and proud of yourself! How are you doing that?!"
"I tried to show you some of the more complex moves but you wouldn't top touching me long enough to pay attention."
Korra frowned. "How am I supposed to pay attention when you lean over me with your boobs in my face and your hand on my back?"
This time, Asami couldn't hold in her laugh. "My boobs in your face?"
"Yes, your boobs," she literally pointed at both of Asami's breasts before pointing at herself. "In my face. And don't pretend you were doing it unintentionally because you never do anything unintentionally."
She could only offer a simple shrug, there really was no denying that.
A sudden rapping at the door drew both of them away from the game.
Tenzin stepped through, with a very pre occupied Lin standing behind him. In Tenzin's hand, was a box, no bigger than a cinderblock.
"Kid, the police station is not your personal post office." Lin started with irritation, pushing past Tenzin to grab the box and thrust it in Korra's face. "If you want mail delivered, get yourself a place to send it that doesn't involve me having to come all the way out here to give it to you."
While Korra gathered the box with confusion and wonder, Asami couldn't help but smile. Lin Beifong was a very busy woman, who had an entire police force working underneath of her. She did not, under any circumstances, have to personally do anything if she didn't want to.
When Lin caught sight of Asami, wearing a particular smirk, the older woman rolled her eyes and Asami swore there was the hint of a smile in her eyes.
Korra's bicep flexed a little as she tore open the box and Asami caught herself staring for a moment before shaking the haze out of her eyes and watching as the Avatar dipped her hand inside and pulled out a small, black object from inside.
Where she sat, Asami could only see the back of it and Korra's fingers curled around it. But when she looked beyond the object and into Korra's eyes, all she saw was fear.
"Korra?" Asami stood, feeling Tenzin and even Lin moving closer as well.
Taking harsh, short breaths, Korra's fear turned to anger as she narrowed her eyes on the object and Asami looked down to see she was holding a mask with the design of a skull painted on it.
The same mask those men had been wearing that had tried to kill her. It was one detail Korra thought about over and over again. Asami saw them, through Korra's eyes, shocking her with that stick. She'd felt all the fear Korra felt when they joined bodies. She knew what that mask meant to her, how it affected her.
"Korra." This time Asami's voice was a bit stronger, she stepped around the table and placed her hand on the mask, breaking Korra's gaze on it.
"Who sent this?" Korra demanded, turning to Lin who merely shrugged.
"No idea, it was on my desk with no return address, just your name. I thought it was another one of my officers with a crush on you. Or another gas bag who wanted you to break up with Asami. That mask, we found those on the men we arrested when you were—" Lin didn't finish her sentence, she knew she didn't have to. "We have seven of them in custody. Six more from the group that attacked this island that same day. We've tried interrogating them but only one ever gave us anything, and all that was on Khan cause they didn't give two shits about him. He was just money to them."
"The Hitokiri?" Asami asked, though she already knew the answer. "My research said they were only a small group of old assassins. That they were almost non-existent. Nobody's heard from them in decades." Gently, Asami took the mask from Korra and examined it. It was made of leather on the inside, and the outside appeared to be some kind of metal. It was heavy and thick, if you struck it with your fist you'd end up hurting yourself more than the person wearing it.
Glancing through the eye hole of the mask, Asami saw a small piece of paper resting at the bottom of the box.
"Korra," she reached down and picked up the paper. "There's a note." Without reading it, she handed it to the Avatar.
As she read it, Korra's entire face went pale. It wasn't a very big piece of paper, the note couldn't have been more than one sentence but it had clearly rocked Korra. Her skin was almost grey, her eyes faltering as she read it over and over.
Suddenly, the weakness in Korra's expression turned. Her eyes looked as if they lit on fire. She stood up from her chair, having it topple over behind her. She dropped the note to the table and turned in a flurry, her fist swinging as she did.
A powerful gust of air came from her and blew the chair on the ground into the wall behind her. It hit with such force that it stuck into the wall and all the surrounding pictures and books from the nearby shelf fell to the ground in a heap.
Without saying a word, Korra stomped out of the room and started towards the docks, screaming.
When the initial shock of Korra's outburst settled, Tenzin turned to Asami and silently gestured to the note. She picked it up and read what had caused such emotion from her girlfriend.
It was only five words.
You can't always save them
A few things.
First of all, I have no idea if Korra has ever had a drink before, but I couldn't remember a time she did so I made this her first time.
Secondly, I love the idea of the world not being accepting of their relationship, just from a creativity standpoint it gives me a lot to work with and I intend to.
Third, I have a whole new story that I'm about to start as a sequel to this. I can only promise that it will be a bit lighter, just in terms of there being more humor and more fun. Less endless sorrow and pending death, lol.
And lastly, thank you all so much for making my first venture into Korrasami fic so memorable. You were all wonderful and I really hope you stick around for the next one ;)