On nights when the center of her chest ached and stung, Asami Sato would roll over, clutch one of the fluffy pillows she'd made out of clothes she rarely wore and an extra sheet she asked from one of the Acolytes with embarassment. (They lived such simple lives it felt like greediness to ask for an extra sheet, seconds and warm water for baths.)

On those nights, she would shut her eyes tighter, trying to banish all the swirling of dark thoughts in her.

On nights that it got the best of her, she allowed herself a few trickling tears and muffled sobs.

On those nights, she let herself be carried into restless and fitful sleep.

When the whole affair with Amon was over, when she found Mako and Korra too close to just be what they had claimed to be, she said her thanks to Tenzin, his family, her so-called friends and the Acolytes and moved out. She wasn't naive. She knew a couple when she saw one. She liked Korra. She liked Mako. Liked them enough to stay out of their business without being asked to. Even if it felt like she'd been tossed aside after everything she did for them.

She wasn't staying there. She didn't plan on going back to the mansion either, not with her father and her mother haunting her there.

With the Future Industries in bad shape, she had no choice but to relocate to a few smaller warehouses she could barely rent.
She was glad she made her office as convenient as she possibly could (with a small bathroom and a place to heat up food she got from cheap convenience stores, not knowing how to cook herself yet), given that she was going to start living there.

On nights that the creeping silence scared her, made her cold and lonely, she'd curl up inside of her family's first car. (She used to always sit in the back seat, playing games with her mother and father as they drove around the city to Asami's school, the factory, the park, the theatre, the restaurants or the sweetshop that she preferred.) She'd curl up and embrace herself, sad and lonely for her mother's death, betrayed and shunned because of her father's downfall, cold and alone because of Mako's abandonment.

Asami had people counting on her though and she refused to let her mother and father's hardwork be for nothing. She despised what Hiroshi had become. But his creations, albeit with bad motives, were no joke. They could definitely make life easier. He had focused on transportation but had opened his daughter unto a whole range of other tech that Asami dreamed to strive on. His hard work was brilliant and for all his shortcomings, she wouldn't let it go to waste. For now she just had to make sure her company stays on the market.

She was an engineer, a creator, and a fighter. It'll be alright, she would tell herself, trying to soothe the ache away as she rubbed her own arms for comfort. But no amount of words would do her good if she didn't work. She had to get back up. So every morning, before any worker came in, she shed the spent tears, pulled on her greasy slacks, worked on the engine that needed her care the most, did her best to juggle the paperworks, meetings and did her best to beg (but not look like she's begging) for the investors and her board members to give her more time.

On days when they criticized her, tore at her, screamed and told her to give it up, Asami would stand rigidly. She was innocent, but these people have been wronged by her father. He couldn't hear them shout for justice, but someone had to hear them out. Someone had to defend the company that had been left behind. She would shake inside, but she would answer them calmly, apologize for the things she did not do, and swear her life and her everything to help make a better future. Because that's what it had been all about, in the beginning. Future Industries had commited itself for innovation. She would see to that.

She was nothing but grateful for the nights when she was too tired to even think let alone drag herself to the makeshift bed she had set up on the couch she had on her office. She was thankful, despite waking up in various places and workstations with aching neck and hurting back, for the dreamless and dark sleep.

Asami needed a break, so when Bolin invited her to the Glacier Spirits Festival, where she heard the successful Iknik Blackstone Varrick of the Varrick Global Industries was going to be. Despite hesitant responses from the Avatar and her ex-boyfriend, she trudged on.

She didn't have time to wallow in her distress. She should have known fairytales don't happen. So that was her mistake. And she was paying for it. No one was going to save her. She has to do this on her own. She has to survive this.

So she endured the cold and unfamiliar tundra of the South Pole. If she failed this deal, she'd be left sleeping in the streets. Bolin had already helped her hit the nail on the head, she was already one foot through the door, so to speak. She couldn't afford to be distracted by the Avatar and aher boyfriend eating cotton candy and having so much fun together. Because what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

She felt herself pulled back roughly just as an arrow hit the bullseye directly where she had been standing not more than a split second ago, the vibrating sound echoing in her brain and spelling certain death.

She looked back at Korra and then Varrick as he untied his blindfold.

Korra had already released her grip on Asami but she could swear, as she prepared for bed that night, that she could still feel her savior's warm palms like she had branded Asami, warm forgiveness and acceptance spreading through her veins and keeping her fighting.

She likes Korra, she tells herself. She's a friend.

She sleeps better that night.

Author's notes:

Korrasami shipper right here, folks!