Fullmetal Alchemist

Chapter Two: Christmas

Alchemy is the science of understanding, deconstructing, and reconstructing matter. However, it is not an all-powerful art. It is impossible to create something out of nothing. If one wishes to obtain something, something of equal value must be given. This is the law of equivalent exchange; the basis of all alchemy. In accordance to this law, there is a taboo among alchemists. Human transmutation is strictly forbidden.

For what could equal the value of a human soul?

A fourteen-year-old girl with long black hair, reaching her mid back, darted her peridot eyes over the ground beneath her. She tucked her bottom lip between her teeth as her bare hands fluently moved to dig around in the snowy ground of the southern water tribe.

"Almost," A light, not yet defined, voice whispered in the cold.

The young girl was dressed in a simple water tribe coat and brown boots. She was about thirty minutes away from the tribe, they were all probably preparing to feast, while she carved an intricate pattern of circles and lines into the snow. They were having a festival so she wouldn't be bothered for a while.

Once the circle was complete the little girl stood up with a satisfied groan. She dusted the clumping snow off her lap and went to grab her tin bowl which sat just outside the transmutation circle. The green-eyed girl starred into the empty bowl briefly before she began gathering the supplies, filling it inside the metal object.

"Water thirty-five liters, Carbon twenty kg, Ammonia four liters, Lime one point five kg, Phosphorus eight hundred g, salt two hundred and fifty g, saltpeter one hundred g, Sulfur eighty g, Fluorine seven point five g, iron five g, Silicon three g," The young girl mumbled as she placed all the ingredients inside, standing up to place the bowl directly in the middle of the circle.

She grinned. "Now all I need is soul data," A small pocket knife given to her by Korra, a girl whose family had taken her in, was plucked from her pocket as she pricked her finger.

Peridot eyes watched eagerly as the droplet of blood painted the bowl.

This was the only time she could do this. Kora's family had been watching her like a hawk after the passing of her mother, which was a few months ago, it was like they were waiting for her to snap. They were overly nice but Asami didn't mind, they treated her like family. When her father left to head to some place called Republic City, Asami stayed with her mother in the south awaiting his return.

But the bastard didn't even attend his wife's funeral.

She was familiar with Korra, even when her mother was alive, they lived next door to each other and said a few fleeting words to one another. Korra was the avatar, everyone knew her; but Asami didn't care as much, about her title. If her mother wasn't good friends with Senna, Asami was sure her and Korra never would have become friends. Even now, they are friends, but they aren't very close; in a way, due to the circumstances, they were forced to be acquaintances.

The younger girl was cool, but Asami could only go penguin sliding so many times without getting bored. Plus, most of the time Korra was training and Asami didn't get to see her as often. That's why she was supposed to be meeting Korra at the festival they were throwing; it was the only time Korra would be able to have some fun.

The avatar was excited to spend some time with the older girl, there weren't many girls around her age in the south. Asami wanted to go, but she also knew it was now or never to carry out her plans. After months of studying and almost mastering alchemy, she was ready.

There wasn't anyone in the tribe who knew about the art, but she was always good at teaching herself new things. So, when Korra asked her to attend the festival with her, she made a story up and the avatar let her go with sad eyes. But she'd be fine, Mako and Bolin, brothers who were visiting for the month, would keep the avatar company.

"This is it," Asami smiled, falling to her knees outside of the circle, slapping her pale, numbing, hands onto the snowy ground.

Without another word, a bright blue light shinned around her. Electric shocks filled the quiet area in which she found solitude for her experiment. Her eyes watched, amazed, as a blue fog began to emerge from the area of the circle.

The atmosphere abruptly changed as the blue fog turned darker, before settling on a solid black color.

Asami felt a shiver run down her bent spine. All she could do was stare, wide eyed, as the circle began to slit from the middle. It took the form of an eyeball, red pupils starring back at her. Right after, several pitch-black arms began breaking through the circle; reaching out for anything they could grab.

Asami didn't have time to react as a hand snatched her left arm. "Wh-wha—" She felt her balance fail as she landed on her right shoulder in the snow; peridot eyes looked around frantically. "A rebound?"

She reached out for her left arm, which was still held by three hands now, and in a flash, she found herself gasping on a white floor. It was a different white than the slightly impureness of water tribe snow.

"Hello," A high pitched voice caught her attention

Asami stood to her feet, breaking out in a nervous sweat as she starred at the creature. It appeared to have the form of a human, but its body was white. There was a black, eerie, outline around its empty void.

Asami swallowed, subconsciously clutching her left arm. "Who are you?" She asked with a confused tone. "…and, where am I?" She added, looking around the white room.

The body sat on the floor, legs crossed, and grinned. "I'm so glad you asked! I am called by many names: I am the world, I am the universe, I'm god, I am truth, I am all, I am one, and I am also— "A white finger was pointed towards the young girl, a wider grin on Truth's face. "You."

Asami's eyes widened a fraction, her black hair flying forward as a breeze brushed past her from behind. She chanced a glance behind her, shaking, as the large grey doors, she had just noticed, began parting open. The same eye from her transmutation circle greeted her inside.

"You have dared to knock on the door," Truth began once more. "Now, the door is opened."

Asami gasped, as those cold black arms began reaching out for her once more. She stood no chance as they snatched her by her legs and dragged her inside the door.

"Ahh!" She screamed, watching helplessly, as Truth sat and watched.

The white object remained emotionless. "Quiet child. This is what you wanted isn't it?" It asked, watching as Asami reached one hand out the crack of the door as she was being dragged. "I will show you the truth," Were its final words before the arms overpowered her, grey doors slamming shut.

Asami screamed as the arms pulled her down a dark tunnel. The small light at the end turning into a brighter one, almost blinding. Photo rolls of her life and the worlds history began surrounding her like a tornado. It was like all of the information about the world was being poured into her brain at once.

She tried to snap her eyes shut, but the hands around her prevented it. "S-stop, it's too much!" She felt her body start crumbling again; first her leg, then her arms. "Wh-what's happening to me? Stop it, please!"

Everything became clear within an instant, everything, the truth.

Her peridot eyes looked up to see a motherly figure reaching out to her, shinning bright. "Mom, help me, please! Mom!" She reached out in vain to grab her mother's hand.

But, in an instant, she once again found herself teleported back to the same white room, reaching out for nothing. Asami breathed heavily, fingers clutching thin air, before her arms fell limply at her side. She held her head down, trying to process everything that had occurred; all the knowledge she had gained.

"How was it?" Truth asked, still in the same spot as before.

"I see," She turned around and began walking to the grey doors, mouth a gape. "My theory on human transmutation wasn't wrong," She dared to place her left hand on the cool gray doors. "It can be done, it's possible." She slapped her other hand on the door, a wide grin spreading on her face. "It's still just missing something! All of the answers are right here, the truth about human transmutation!"

In the mist of her discovery, she didn't notice Truth shake its head in disappointment. Truth stood up slowly from the ground.

"Please, you have to show it to me again," Asami said, not knowing what she was asking for.

Truth shook its head. "I can't do that, I've already shown you all I can for the toll you've paid,"

"Toll?" Asami turned her head to face Truth, confused. "What toll?"

"This," Truth stretched its arm forward, only to have a human one form in the place of the emptiness. "Surely you knew?"

Asami's eyes widened, face pale as she watched her left arm disappear from her body. "Wh-what?" She turned around, only to come face to face with a grinning Truth.

"It's the law of equivalent exchange," Truth spoke, mouth wide with a grin. "Right, young alchemist?"

An eleven-year-old girl with bright blue eyes worriedly nudged a boy, a few years older than her, and frowned. "Mako, have you seen Asami? She said she went back to get some warmer clothes but I haven't seen her for two hours, I'm worried."

"You know how long she takes to get ready, Korra," The young firebender shrugged. "She'll be out later, just relax,"

Another boy, with green eyes, nodded. "Yeah, I bet she's fine!"

Korra huffed, her signature pout on face. "You guys can stuff your faces all you want, but I'm just going to check if she's all right," The avatar whistled for her polar bear dog, patting her on the head when she came running. "Help me sniff out Asami, girl,"

The dog, just about the same size as the younger girl, barked and trudged happily in the snow. Korra ran after the beast eagerly, not stopping to say goodbye to the confused boys.

Asami screamed in her spot in the snow. She reached for her left arm which was gone, appearing as if it were sliced off by a knife at the numb. Peridot eyes wide with fear, looked around at the blood staining the white ground around her.

"This wasn't supposed to happen," Asami groaned, using one arm to crawl towards the flickering circle. "I-it's gone, what have I done?" She whimpered. "Somebody help me, somebody," She looked up into the bright blue lights in the center of the transmutation. "Please mom, please—" Her mouth hung open.

The black body, bent in inhumanly ways, starred up at her with red eyes. Its head was upside down as its mouth opened, lips curling over rotten teeth, as a black fog filled the air when it breathed.

That thing was not her mother.

She watched with wide eyes as it reached out for her before the arm fell into the snow. Another splatter of blood surrounded the creature at its movement.

"No, this, this is wrong," Asami stuttered, tears forming in her eyes. "This isn't what I wanted," She tried to crawl away from the creature advancing towards her. "G-get away!" She screamed, wincing as her arm began burning once more.

A loud bark snapped her attention from the approaching beast. Naga was running towards her; the puppy ran with determination; it was different from the clumsy jog she usually had. Another silhouette was right behind the approaching animal.

It wasn't until Naga stopped in front of her, growling at the creature, did she realize it was Korra. There was an unknown gleam in her bright blue eyes as the avatar ran past her.

"Get away from her!" The young avatar kicked a practiced flame towards the beast.

Her form was sloppy and the flame wasn't as strong, she had only just begun practicing this element, but it was enough to startle the creature. She retaliated by moving both gloved hands forward, sending a sharp shard of ice right through its body. A spin tingling squeal sounded from its mouth upon impalement.

Korra shuddered and muttered a distant "Gross,"

Asami saw Korra running towards her before she blacked out completely.

A chill ran down the twenty-three-year old's spin as she starred up at the haunting mansion. The white house was covered by a thick layer of fresh snow, the walk to the front door had been shoveled clean; Asami assumed Bolin and Mako had gotten to it earlier. She had long since given the butlers and maids the holidays off so during months like this, the boys were on their own for labor work.

"Finally," Opal muttered, a puff of smoke proceeding after every little breath she took. "I thought our train would never get us here," She rubbed her gloved hands together in a weak attempt to warm herself, but by the reddening of her cheek and nose Asami could tell it was all in vain.

Asami swallowed, just because she had cold feet about returning to the empty mansion didn't mean she had to make Opal freeze with her. "…we should be quiet when we get inside, they must be asleep by now," She said as she walked up to the hand crafted mahogany wood door. "You can sleep in one of the guest rooms," The green-eyed woman said softly, a sharp click sounding as she turned the key expertly.

Opal hummed, shaking in her spot behind the taller alchemist. "I'll just sneak into Bolin's room for the night, he's like a walking heater," She grinned to herself at the thought of cuddling up to the earthbender.

Asami found herself letting out an amused snicker. "Knock yourselves out," She mumbled as she closed the door behind her quietly, locking it immediately. "But I'm going to head to bed, it's already 3 am and the train ride here tuckered me out,"

The airbender was still shaking as her body slowly adjusted to the warmer temperature in the living room. "Okay. I'll see you in the morning at breakfast I guess," She placed a fleeting hand on Asami's left shoulder as she made her way to the stairs. "…it's just a house, 'sami,"

The alchemist huffed childishly, cheeks pink as her peridot eyes focused on the familiar yet unfamiliar house design. "I know okay, I'm fine I just need some sleep," She shrugged the hand away and breezed past her friend and walked up the steps while she snatched off her white gloves and shoved them into her coat pocket.

Opal followed, eyes glued to the woman in the red coat with a raised eyebrow. "Well, if you say so," She tried to change the subject, grinning. "Aren't you going to tell Korra you're here? She's the one who sent me to get you," She said as they passed the room the avatar usually resided in.

"She's probably sleep," Asami muttered, a feeling of restlessness overflowed her, and she stopped right in front of her bedroom door; she bit her lower lip at the demons waiting for her behind the door. "…I'm suddenly not as tired as before. I think I might stop by the garage downstairs and work on some new inventions, I'm behind on my modeling too—"

Opal's face held a frown. "No, you're not supposed to be—"

"I'm not supposed to be looking for leads on the philosopher stone or anything work related," Asami corrected, easily talking over her friend. "You know how much the garage relaxes me," She said with a shrug, back still turned from her friend as she began to think of all the things she could begin working on.

Opal shook her head, coming to a final decision for the oldest. "No, you can work once you've finished resting. Your ideas will flow easier this way and you'll have more energy," She softly pushed her towards the door, smiling softly. "Get some sleep, okay?"

"…fine," Asami sighed, suddenly feeling tired once again as she turned the knob. "Goodnight Opal," She said, relieved when darkness greeted her inside; this way she couldn't be triggered by any visual images.

A thank you was on the tip of her tongue but Opal beat her to it with a soft smile. "I know, just get some rest and we'll talk in the morning,"

With a soft nod Asami closed the door completely. She rested her forehead against it and listened to the airbenders' light footsteps traveling to the other side of the house. Asami had half a mind to sneak back out to her work bench but the weary feeling in her body wouldn't fade.

She was tired.

Tired of chasing all these high-class criminals, tired of running from her past and she was tired of chasing after a damn stone which might not even exist. Of course, she wanted to get her arm back, because if she kept this chunk of metal glued to her arm, the memory of what she did will continue to haunt her.

Asami resisted the urge to knock her forehead against the wooden door and decided to let it rest there for a while longer. Its cold surface was nothing compared to the bed awaiting her. But it was better than the hotels she crashed in during missions and the tough beds back at the base.

Her letters stacked up in her mail box, which was just a drawer in her cabinet sitting in the corner of the room she was assigned to. From a glance, she could tell they were from Bolin, Mako, and a few were even from Tenzin's children; she had been meaning to see them again. Out of all the letters she received from her friends, Korra had sent the most.

A light groan left her mouth at the thought of getting her ear yelled off by the bender. Asami just knew when Korra saw her, she was going to chew her head off for not returning a single letter. She hoped Korra would at least go easy on her because of the holiday.

Asami finally pushed herself off the door and easily shrugged her signature red coat off her back and blindly draped it on the chair beside her desk. Her black boots and jeans were also shoved down her body quickly. She walked over to her bed in a black shirt and red boy shorts; she found they were more comfortable than her lacy ones during battle.

Who was she hoping to impress on the road anyway, Lin?

Asami snickered at the thought and slipped into her bed, sighing at the feel of surprisingly warm covers touching her cold skin. Her body gravitated more towards the middle before she brushed against something warm, she frowned.

"Naga, what did I tell you about sleeping in my bed," Asami found herself berating the beast, her right hand reaching out to pet her stomach.

Either Naga's been working out or Korra's sleeping in her bed.

Her answer came when the body next to her shuddered, Asami didn't know if it was because of her touch or the yawn Korra let out. "I can't believe she actually got you to show up," Her voice was husky from sleep; Asami assumed she had been sleeping here for a while.

She carefully pulled her hand off her defined abdomen while avoiding any suggestive brushes along the way. "…yeah," Was all she could say.

It wasn't shocking to find Korra in her room, they used to stay in the same room back in the southern water tribe. Whenever Asami got nightmares about her mother, the other girl would silently crawl in bed beside her to comfort her. Asami returned the favor plenty of times.

Even if she wasn't there every step of Korra's recovery when Amon took her bending away, Asami always found herself sneaking off during the night to visit the avatar. They didn't speak much during their sessions, and they didn't need to.

They always had a silent agreement to have each-others back.

"I've written you over three dozen letters, visited you about the same, begging you to come back," Asami felt her eyes shut, preparing for the storm. "But Opal goes over there once," Korra finished with a huff.

Asami fell back into the bed with a sigh. "I've had a long train ride and I'm exhausted, can we please do this in a few hours, please,"

Korra shifted in the bed, sitting up. "Why didn't you answer my letters?"

"Please, like you returned the ones I sent you when you were in the south?" Asami said, her usual patient demeanor overshadowed by her tiredness. "I got one letter back,"

She could almost feel blue eyes glaring at her. "And I got nothing from you," She snapped back.

Asami bit her lower lip. "By the time I got your letter it was too late for me to say anything. I was in the firenation looking into something—"

"You're always looking into something," Korra interrupted angrily. "It's always the same thing!"

Asami continued as if she weren't stopped. "I was looking into something and by time I came back, the letter was weeks late. I called to check up but your mother was hysteric and told me you had run away." She shook her head. "I'm sorry I wasn't there—"

"You're not sorry," Korra declared with a scoff. "You wouldn't have left me alone like that if you were. You could have at least visited me, Asami. I know you got the news from Tenzin, or Lin, and the newspaper was all over it,"

Peridot eyes shinned bright as Asami finally opened them to gaze into angry sapphires. "Korra, you ran away for a reason; they were smothering you and you needed to figure things out on your own. I was just the first person to figure it out," She confessed with an impassive shrug. "I knew, even if I did visit, I would be enabling you."

Asami looked away. "Just like I had to leave for the military to figure my stuff out,"

"Don't, don't try to make excuses for why you weren't there," Korra's voice was weaker this time around.

The alchemist shook her head. "Korra, you didn't even let Mako or Bolin go with you. What difference would it have made if I would have asked, the person who you hadn't seen since I snuck out of base to see you when your bending was gone?"

"It would have mattered, way more than you think," Korra argued, face hot, with her eyes glaring. "…maybe I was waiting for you to show up in my bedroom or at the front door, to apologize for what an idiot you've been," Her bottom lip quivered. "For thinking you have to do everything alone."

Asami sighed. "Sometimes you—"

"I know," Korra nodded. "But when I left the south, I realized I didn't have to do it alone all of the time." She paused. "I went to see you at the base during those three years," She confessed.

The older woman frowned, sitting up a little in confusion. "What, when?"

Korra shrugged, a different form of heat on her face other than anger. "A little after I started training with Toph. I didn't go inside, in case Tenzin or Lin saw me, but I didn't have to. You were heading out the doors, probably on a lead, you were walking so fast. My legs wouldn't let me move,"

"…It was good you didn't call out to me," Asami smiled softly despite Korra's obvious frown. "I would have dropped everything to talk to you," She redeemed herself it seemed, and Korra blushed harder. "But at least I came to see you and Mako at that restaurant."

Korra scoffed. "You mean we cornered you at the booth. You were on another lead weren't you, it's the only reason you'd be back here," Her voice softened but only slightly. "Did you find anything?"

"Just another fake," Asami mumbled, falling back into the bed once again. "…Opal says I'm not supposed to talk or think about work this week though,"

Korra perked up slightly. "You're going to be here all week? Are you serious?"

The green-eyed woman nodded. "Yep, I guess you're stuck with me for a while,"

"Good, because I have a lot more I want to yell at you for," Korra said with confidence. "And we need to catch up on these last few months,"

Asami pulled the covers up over her chest and turned around, facing the younger. "Korra, I love talking to you but I'm exhausted, please," She fought a yawn and closed her eyes.

Korra rested her forehead on Asami's, pulling the blankets up as well. "I apologize if I want to catch up with a long-lost friend," She scoffed. "Seriously, you're harder to find than batman 'sami!"

"I missed you," Asami found herself confessing, opening her eyes to gaze into awaiting bright sapphire.

The avatar rolled her eyes playfully. "Well duh, who else can say they've shared a bed with the avatar? Or let alone been chased, and somewhat stalked, by them? I'm serious, you shouldn't take me for granted anymore, Mako was this close to—"

"Shut-up," Asami interrupted before placing a chaste but lingering kiss onto slightly chapped lips. "We'll talk more tomorrow," She concluded, not being able to stifle her next yawn.

Korra grinned, stuck in a trance as she wrapped a confident arm around Asami's hip. "I can't be kissed by my crush of…basically my whole life, and then stop there," She pulled her closer, so their bodies were flushed against each other.

"Korra," Asami groaned at the feeling of their breasts touching through her thin shirt. "S-shouldn't we talk about what this is before anything happens?" She tried to be reasonable, her hands resting atop broad shoulders to anchor herself; the avatar shivered in delight at the touch of cool metal. "We haven't had a proper conversation in months, we barely know each other,"

The blue-eyed woman brushed her hand under Asami's loose shirt, placing it on her stomach. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

"No," Asami squealed when a rough finger brushed the underside of her breast, she gripped the arm invading her to stop any further movement. "I'm serious, Korra. I don't want you to go through something you'll regret. What are we going to do after this week, start dating? You're busy being the avatar and I can barely stay in one town for a few hours,"

She bit her lower lip and continued. "…I don't want you worrying about where I am or who I'm with,"

"I don't care about all of that, Asami," Her hand reluctantly come out from under the shirt. "I don't know what it is but, I can't stop thinking about you, okay? Even when you're traveling, I worry if you're okay,"

Korra smiled softly. "I know how it's like to be on the road, traveling and saving lives just as much as you do. We can make this work, I promise," She reached out to hold her metal hand. "Please, I've been in love with you since you left for the military,"

Asami laughed despite herself. "You were eleven and I was fourteen, you didn't know what love was,"

Korra shook her head. "No, but when you left I could feel my world shattering. I wanted to be upset, but I could tell it was the best decision for you. The way you walked, the look in your eyes when you accepted Tenzin's offer," Korra licked her lips. "You were so brave, and I swore if I were older I would have left with you."

"You can't tell me you don't feel the same," Korra demanded, squeezing her hand.

"I'm not doubting my feelings for you, Korra," She confirmed, shaking her head at the grin Korra responded with. "I just want us to reconnect again before we start shoving our hands up bras. And I wanted to make sure you understand that I can't promise to be there for every milestone or rough patch. I know I should, but—"

"I know," Korra's eyes shinned in the dark room, determined. "But we've been missing important moments in each-other's lives for years; I want us to at least try to make them this time around,"

Asami sighed. "We've known each other since we were children but I don't know things about you, import things girlfriends should know,"

"Girlfriends?" Korra dared to place a soft kiss onto glossed red ones. "So, this is actually happening now? It's official?" Her grin was so bright.

Asami couldn't help but smile. "Let's make this thing work,"

"Thank you," Korra threw her arms around the taller woman and tackled her to the bed. "I've been waiting for this for eleven years! I'm going to call everyone, shout it from the roof tops!"

Asami giggled as she was pushed on her back and straddled, she grinned. "You can do that later, now can I please get my beauty sleep?" She raised an unimpressed eyebrow when she felt a sly hand begin to slither up her shirt again.

"Fine," Korra pouted, but got off her and opted to curl up at her side. "Merry Christmas,"

Asami was halfway asleep when she whispered. "…merry Christmas,"

Korra placed a fleeting kiss on the other woman's cheek. "I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you,"

Her apology wasn't heard over the light snoring Asami made a few minutes later.

"Lin, she's not here," A bald man said, walking up beside the earthbender. "…" A sad, distraught, look on his face.

A look of disgust mixes with bewilderment fell upon the metalbender, she snarled. "Where is she?" The woman demanded, glaring down at the bloody snow around the transmutation circle. "I want Asami Sato found, Tenzin,"

The airbender gestured to the tribe just a few minutes away. "Maybe my mother has seen her, she knows about everyone living around here," He said, making his way towards the huts.

He found his mother in her usual home and asked if she knew where Asami was staying. She told them the young girl had begun staying with Korra after her mother died and gestured towards the palace. They then found themselves knocking on the door and forcing their ways inside with a flash of their badges.

"Where is she?" Tenzin asked softly.

Korra moved away from where her mother was embracing her and opened the door to the first bedroom door. "She's in here," She mumbled, looking down at her socks on the wood floor.

Lin barged inside. Her expression only hardened when she saw the young girl sitting up in bed with her head down, black hair blocking her vision. There was white wrap around the area where the waterbenders had treated her left arm.

"I saw the blood outside in the snow," Lin barked, snatching Asami up by the collar of her blue shirt and lifting her so they were face to face. "What was that?" She snarled, eyes hard.

Asami looked up, dazed, and exhausted.

"What did you do?" Lin asked with a shout.

The fourteen-year-old looked away and said nothing.

"Leave her alone!" Korra huffed, trying to latch onto Lin's leg. "Can't you see she's exhausted?"

Senna picked up her daughter with ease, stopping the squirming. "How about you sit at the kitchen table with my husband and talk about this, situation. I'll take this one upstairs," She tussled the avatars hair, watching the younger girl growl cutely.

"Hmp," Korra crossed her arms, glaring at Lin even as she was carried to her room. "Mmm," She stuck her tongue out at the earthbender.

Lin rolled her eyes and dropped Asami to the bed, surprisingly soft. "Get up Sato, I would like to have a few words with you," She said before leaving the room with a hesitant Tenzin behind her.

Tonraq greeted them at the dinner table and gestured for them to sit down. He was at the head while Lin and Tenzin took a seat on the left side of the table. After a few minutes, Asami trudged her weary body into the room and sat across from the guests.

"What are you two doing here?" Tonraq began, fatherly instincts taking over. "How did you hear about this incident? We tried our best to keep it hidden,"

Lin scoffed. "Then you should try getting rid of all the blood out there,"

His eyes widened slightly. "…Korra, my daughter, found Asami like this but she didn't mention anything about how this happened. I assumed Asami was attacked by a beast or something, she hasn't spoken since the incident; it was only two days ago."

"We heard reports about there being an amazing alchemist in the water tribe," Tenzin started, plucking out a folder of all the stories and confessions. "So, we came to check it out," He looked over at Asami who was still starring down at the table. "But I never expected to find this. A girl, skilled enough to commit human transmutation,"

Tenzin starred into hard blue eyes, determined. "I say she's more than qualified to become a state alchemist."

Tonraq's face twisted into a frown but he said nothing as Tenzin continued.

"Should she choose to accept the position, she will be required to serve in the military at times of nation emergency. In return, she will be privileged to access otherwise restricted research material," Tenzin glanced back at the younger girl. "Given time, she may even be able to find a way to get her arm back,"

Tonraq slammed his hand down on the table, frowning. "I don't know much about alchemy, but if you're saying it caused her to lose her arm," He shook his head. "If it causes this much pain, why would you want her to head right back into at the military? It will just cause her more heart ache!"

"I'm not forcing her to do anything, it's just a suggestion," Tenzin said softly.

Lin's eyes narrowed, finally colliding with dull peridot's. "Will you sit in that chair, wallowing in self-pity, or will you stand forward and seize the chance the military has to give you? It's your choice," She stood up from the table, Tenzin following her lead. "But, if you believe there is a possibility of you getting your arm back, then you should keep moving forward to find a way to make it happen."

"Even if, along the way, lies a river of blood," Lin said, looking away from Asami. "Let's go Tenzin," She slapped him on the shoulder and he followed without another word.

Tonraq stood from the table and watched them exit.

Tenzin shook his head as they headed to the docks where their ship was waiting. "That girl, she looked so defeated. Everything has been taken from her,"

"Defeat? Is that what you saw?" Lin smiled, thinking back to the way Asami starred at them as they were leaving; Tonraq was too busy watching them exit to notice.

"That was fire in those eyes,"

Happy holidays everyone. I hope you liked this chapter, I might write more but I think it might be good if I end the story here. I tried to get Korra's personality right but it's a struggle, so let me know how I did with it.

Thanks for reading.