The mirror never lied.
She was Asami Sato, her father's daughter.
She sat in front of the truth-teller at her vanity, staring at her own reflection as she brushed out her thick hair, unknotting the tangles from its last washing. It fell in its classic soft wave over her left shoulder, shadowing her face. With both hands, she pulled it back and tied it so she could clear her canvas. She did not smile as she looked at her skin, pale and cold and worn and weary. She saw her eyes; they were her favorite feature on herself. They were green and unlike her father's. She did not smile.
Asami would wear purple eyeshadow tonight. It made her eyes look even greener.
An array of makeup was laid out in front of her, mascara and blushes and foundations ready and waiting to be painted on her face. Shiny golden tubes of lipstick were lined up in a neat row next to one of her jewelry cases, organized by hue. Her hand lingered between two, the soft pink and the deep red, before she made her decision.
Mako liked red.
It was his birthday after all.
She'd planned a big night for the two of them, one full of expensive food, expensive sites, and expensive gifts. She'd always loved birthdays and this one was special, not only because it was her boyfriend's nineteenth birthday, but also because he wouldn't be able to make an excuse to not accept her attention and her gifts. Mako almost never accepted gifts from her. He'd get awkward and uncomfortable and avoid her smiles whenever she attempted to lavish something on him.
Asami had tried many times.
When he refused the silk scarf she bought him, she thought it was only because he was so attached to his old one, and that was fine. It was fine; she understood. She'd lost a parent too. So she thought that he'd accept something else instead. But he didn't. He didn't want the wristwatch, the suit, the moped. She'd present them to him with a smile, with expectation and hope hovering in her expression. He never responded the way she wanted. After his initial discomfort, he'd thank her but say how he couldn't accept it from her. He did seem genuine and apologetic and appreciative, and she didn't want to fault him for it, but it was strange.
Nobody else had ever acted this way with her.
Asami reached down and snapped open her compact case. With a soft, rounded brush, she dusted the bristles over the powdery foundation, sending tiny puffs of makeup into the air and swept it across her skin in short, quick swirling motions. It smoothed her complexion. She reached across the vanity for a smaller brush and grabbed her blush. Two fast swipes over the apples of her cheeks, and she glowed. With just that little bit, she already started to look less like herself.
She started to look less like her father and more like her mother.
The mirror never lied.
As a little girl, Asami had spent a lot of time with her mother, imitating her movements, her gestures, her way of speaking. The imitation perfected as a child would help her hide her identity (she was her father's daughter) when she was older. As a child, though, she'd done it for a variety of reasons. She had worshipped her mother because she was elegant, beautiful, and perfect. She had loved her mother because she was wonderful, kind, and caring. She had followed her mother because she had no other friends her age.
Her mother was her best friend.
The first day of school, she had been alone and scared and nervous and excited because this was her chance to have a friend. She wanted a friend that was a kid, a friend that would play with her, who would get dirty with her, who would like her for her. She walked up to the building, weaving through the crowd, clutching her bag to her chest. It was a brand new bag, beautiful and pricey and she loved it. Her heart fluttered as she looked around at all the other children arriving. Possible future friends looked around too, holding onto their parents' hands. Murmurs passed over her, but she did not hear, she did not understand.
One girl with gray eyes and two brown braids standing with her mother caught her attention. She looked just as nervous as Asami felt. Asami started walking over, ready for a friend.
The mother leaned down to the girl's ear and whispered loudly enough for Asami to hear: "That's the Sato girl. You need to be nice to her and make friends. You never know what we could get out of it." The woman kissed the top of her daughter's head and left.
Asami didn't understand.
"Hello," she said to the girl. "My name is Asami."
"I'm Min," she said. "I like your bag. Can I have it?"
Asami paused, holding back her surprise. She'd been taught to always be kind and polite, no matter what the situation was. "No," she said sweetly. "I like it too much." It was true. She liked her new bag and she didn't want to give it away. Min stormed off in a huffy rage. Asami decided she would find a different friend. Why would she want a friend like Min? There were other kids.
But time passed and the other kids approached with similar intentions. Their parents had told them to, or they were envious of Asami's things, or they wanted a taste of the fame that followed her around. She was her father's daughter.
Min did not become her friend. Nobody became her friend. Asami still had her mother as her friend, and that was enough.
But then the day came that she didn't have her mother anymore.
It wasn't until the taunts and stares and loneliness ate away at her and the tears and grief had overwhelmed her to the breaking point that she caved and gave Min her beautiful, expensive bag. Her father bought her a new one; they had the money.
Min became her friend.
It was better than loneliness.
Asami squinted as she looked at her reflection. It was time to work on her eyes. She sifted through her stash until she found her favorite purple eyeshadow. With a small, flat brush, she applied the color onto her eyelids, sweeping it up towards her eyebrows. She blended the shade into her skin with her finger. She blinked, her eyelashes catching the extra powder. Asami found a stick of kohl and ran it across the line of her eyelashes before applying her mascara.
Her green eyes looked even greener.
She did not smile.
When Asami grew up and grew curves and grew beautiful (and she was very, very beautiful), she'd started attracting the attention of the opposite sex. She was fourteen. She'd hoped and wished and prayed that one of these boys would like her for her.
Her first boyfriend was named Ling. He was seventeen. They'd met at a pro-bending match. He was an earthbender with dreams of joining a team, so he attended the matches with the intention of learning new moves. Asami just liked watching.
They met up at all the games. They sat together and talked and laughed and flirted and she really liked this boy. He was nice and funny and liked her green, green eyes. After one match, Ling asked her if she'd like to have dinner with him sometime. She agreed. He said he'd come to her house to pick her up. She said no.
She told him that she had to meet him at his house; he was not allowed to visit her at her home ever. He seemed vaguely concerned, but she did not cave. Asami didn't want him to see who she was.
She walked to his house alone the next day. Ling's parents were genuinely friendly and welcoming. She knew it was genuine because they still didn't know who she was. That didn't last very long though.
The dinner conversation had meandered to Asami's life, which she didn't appreciate. She wanted to know more about Ling and his family and his life, but he was holding her hand underneath the table, so she answered their questions with a smile. They'd asked what her parents did for a living. She told them that her father worked with Satomobiles. Ling's mother, who worked with Satomobiles on an assembly line, asked for his name. Maybe she knew him from assembly?
When she dropped the name, everything froze.
A few awkward moments passed, glances were exchanged between Ling and his parents, and the conversation started again. Asami hid her blush under her thick hair. She didn't think it was possible to feel any more shamed and embarrassed than she did right then in that moment. This was only because she hadn't made it to the end of the night, when she'd feel even more embarrassed. It was possible.
It wasn't until later that night when they had gone up to his room for a "tour", when Ling was touching her in all the wrong places, whispering against her neck with warm, heaving breaths, that she knew how much more embarrassed she could feel. It started out sweet, and she thought it was all okay, but then all of the sudden it was not okay.
"I love rich girls," he'd mumbled as he tried to run his hand up her leg and under her dress. "And you're the richest of them all. I'll give you a kiss for five yuans. But my other services come at a higher price." She'd forced his hand down and she'd told him no, she did not want to kiss him, she did not want him or his services, whatever that meant. He pressed her roughly against the wall, begging and pleading with her, complimenting her beauty and body and wealth.
His fingernails dug into her wrists. It hurt. He pressed himself against her.
Asami didn't understand.
She was scared.
"If I let you, will you stop hurting me?"
He told her yes.
It still hurt.
She stumbled home after, confused and crying. It was a dream. It wasn't real. She snuck inside and changed her clothes. When she looked at her reflection as she stood naked, she saw the bruises and the blood she knew it had been real. The mirror never lied. She'd asked her father for self-defense courses the next morning. He bought her the best.
They had the money.
She never saw Ling again.
Asami looked at herself again and untied her hair. It tumbled down her back in waves. She ran her fingers through it, fluffing it out, pulling some of it over her shoulders. In her jewelry case, she found a barrette of her mother's. It was elegant, just like her. She pulled some of her hair up with it and clasped it together above her left ear.
She did not smile.
She'd refused to let anyone take advantage of her like Ling had done, but she still attracted the boys. She was attracted to them too. She kept it simple, though. Kisses, hugs, kind touches. Because she had learned her lesson. She would not let them find out who she was, not until she could trust them. Asami excelled in her self-defense classes and started wearing makeup, with the intention of looking less like her father. She imitated her mother. It was a good disguise for who she really was.
She still had hope that there was one boy out there who would like her for her, who would love her for her. So she kept searching, giving the nicer ones money and things and attention. She'd hide her true identity for as long as she could, but they always managed to find out. And she always knew when they found out. Their touches, once soft and sweet, became greedy and wanting. They'd run their fingers over her bare skin like they were caressing a stack of yuans. They wanted her for her connections and her money and her body but never for her. She'd leave them quietly and find another boy, hoping that the next would be the one.
It hurt, but it was better than loneliness.
The day came when she'd hit Mako with her moped. She was eighteen. He was handsome and she was embarrassed and neither could speak very well and it was Mako! He was one of her favorite pro-benders! She knew who he was instantly, but he did not know her. It was promising, and she couldn't resist. He seemed different than the rest.
She'd invited him to dinner.
It'd been perfect, until the waiter revealed that she was her father's daughter. Her heart had begun to race. She tried to keep it cool, to be emotionless instead of embarrassed, when she asked him if he wanted to meet her father. Unlike the other boys, she wanted to help Mako. She couldn't help it; she was a fan. And besides, this was what all the boys wanted—her connections. It was going to happen eventually because that's what always happened. Mako agreed to meet him, and she knew it was over.
But then it wasn't.
Mako didn't change after he found out that she was Asami Sato, her father's daughter. He touched her the same way, kissed her the same way, and while he did seem very appreciative of her father's donation, he didn't make any attempt to ask for more things or to take advantage of Asami. He never even mentioned the fact that she was an heiress, like it didn't matter, like he liked her for her.
She'd wanted to buy him something. A scarf. He always wore that same red scarf. He was different and he was special and he was the one, she knew it. He didn't accept it though, and it sent her heart soaring and falling all at once because he didn't want her for her money but he didn't accept her love. She didn't know what to do. He was there but he wasn't and she didn't understand.
So "I feel so safe with you" is what she told him because it was true. He wasn't like any of the other boys she had met. He was the opposite of Ling. He was it. And all she wanted was for him to accept her tokens, but he didn't. It was okay, though. Because he liked her, right?
It was during the tournament that she began to notice how he looked at Korra. She had nothing that Asami had, but she had everything Asami wanted. Mako's eyes would follow her, and Asami would put her hand on the side of his face and try and pull him back to her but she knew. She knew she was losing him. She wanted to keep him because he was it, he was the one who liked her for her, but all she knew was giving and giving and giving but Mako didn't want that. She didn't know how to love him and she didn't understand. She was losing him.
She was not surprised when he confessed that he'd kissed Korra.
She forgave him, of course. He promised that nothing like that would ever happen again, but she was good at reading through lies. Even if Mako didn't know it was a lie, she did. She tried not to care. She wanted to grip on to the shards as tight as she could, even if they cut her.
It was better than loneliness.
Asami twisted the bottom of the lipstick tube, and the red swirled up slow and steady. She ran it across her lips, and it tugged at the sensitive skin. She smoothed the color across and pursed her lips. The transformation was nearly complete. She was almost ready to go.
When she was a little girl, her mother died. Her only friend, the only one who had loved her for her, died. She'd missed three days of school for it, and when she finally returned, she was weak and scared and more alone than ever.
She started crying in class during a test. She wiped at her tears, but her sobs were loud.
"Keep it down will you?" a classmate had whispered.
"But my mommy…" She couldn't get the words out.
"You're filthy rich. You have everything. You have no reason to be unhappy," he'd snarled.
But she didn't have everything.
Not then, not now.
She didn't have Mako. Not anymore.
Asami Sato looked at herself, at her green eyes and dark hair and perfect makeup. With one finger, she wiped away a tear that had escaped and was rolling down her cheek. She smiled brilliantly and saw herself, gorgeous and rich and perfect and the happiest girl there could ever be.
The mirror never lied.
a/n: A bit darker than my usual fluff. And probably a bit confusing, since I was failing at connecting all my points. OH WELL. Hahaha. But yeah. I've decided that I like Asami, and in my headcanon, she has a very sad background. This is probably a bit OOC, but we don't know her very well yet, so you know what? MEH. MEH, I SAY. LOOK AT ALL THE FUCKS I GIVE.
Legend of Korra is Bryke's.