Korra is first and foremost a visual kind of girl. It goes with her personality, always about action, always go go go. Even while being trained at the White Lotus Compound all those years ago, she consistently learned better by having someone physically show her how to perform a move, as opposed to just reading about it. But something else has always followed closely with her need to see things, and it's her sense of smell. She learns by sight, sure, but scent is what makes her feel at home. She remembers that briny smell of sea prunes cooking on the fire, or that slightly fatty, oily sort of aroma from the candles made from otter-seal blubber.
Upon arriving in Republic City, the assault on her sense of smell is so jarring that it makes her wince. She coughs at the fumes being expelled by factories and Satomobiles alike, scrunches her nose at the trash littering the streets, clutches her stomach unconsciously when she catches a whiff of roasted meat from a nearby vendor. Air Temple Island is an improvement of sorts, but even there she finds that it doesn't quite feel like home. That musky fur scent she's always associated with Naga is different when it comes to the sky bison. And instead of that dry, salty smell of jerky being left to dry, it's all about sweet, succulent fruit ready for picking. It's smoky in some areas too, not quite smoggy like in the city, but a more subtle burn that comes from the incense. Some nights, Korra sleeps with her pelt as a pillow because the smell (and feel) of it reminds her of home.
When she first starts spending more time with Asami, she unconsciously takes little mental notes about scents that she associates with the heiress. The first thing she notices is the leather - whether it's Asami's custom tailored jacket, or her driving gloves, or even her boots, there's always a hint of that leathery smell that lingers around the taller girl. It's a little odd to Korra at first because she doesn't quite know how to actually describe the scent. Instead she associates it with other things, like craftsmanship, and elegance, and more than just a touch of luxury. All things that can be traced back to Asami, now that she thinks about it. The next thing Korra notices is the subtle perfume that Asami wears. Flowery, but not overpowering. Sometimes it smells like a type of fruit, oddly enough... not overly sweet like the moon peaches the airbender kids like to have for dessert, but citrusy in a way. It's refreshing, really.
Of course, when they start dating, the scent of motor oil gets added to that list. It's fitting since Asami is such a city girl, but Korra finds that it doesn't bother her nearly as much as the exhaust that crowds the air in the city. Also, it probably just comes with dating a mechanic - Korra likes to joke and tell Asami that she's lucky she finds it endearing. Later, when they get around to sharing an apartment, Korra finds out that that fruity, citrusy sort of smell is actually Asami's shampoo. She grabs the bottle in the shower one day and lathers it into her hair, taking deep breaths rather dreamily. When she walks out of the bathroom and settles under the covers, she can feel the slight hesitation when Asami wraps an arm around her to spoon their bodies closely. It's only a few seconds, really, but Korra holds her breath and swears she can count the lifetimes that pass as she waits. Asami simply laughs and holds her closer.
Slowly but surely, Korra starts associating the different scents with a new sort of home, one that's a part of the life she now shares with Asami. She catches herself smiling when she has to take a Satomobile out of town for Avatar duties and the seats are made of leather. (Actually, there was a point in time when the smell of leather actually began to affect Korra's libido - it wasn't her fault Asami would sometimes jump her in the vehicle after an exhilarating drive around the city limits. She's over it, thankfully). She also still manages to steal a little bit of that intoxicating shampoo in the shower, even though Asami has taken to hiding the bottle because she claims that Korra uses too much. She even sighs in an affectionate sort of way when she has to put away the various wrenches that Asami has managed to scatter all over the different rooms. But when Korra opens the door to the apartment one day and her nose catches a familiar whiff of seaweed noodles in the air, she freezes. For a brief second she almost thinks she's been transported back to the South Pole and her mother is preparing dinner for the night. She blinks then and her vision clears enough to show Asami waiting at the dinner table with a crooked smile on her lips. An answering grin spreads on Korra's face and she all but vaults over to greet her girlfriend enthusiastically.
"Did you make this?" she exclaims, positively ecstatic and not bothering to hide the drool that's starting to leak out the corner of her mouth.
Asami lets out a nervous sort of chuckle then and wrings her hands, which were previously folded together on the table. "Ah... I... well, no. I wish I could say I did, but the truth is I managed to convince Narook to give me some for takeout."
The heiress then points to the sink where there's a pot with a blackened, greenish sort of lump in it. Korra leans back, arching an eyebrow at her girlfriend in an amused sort of way. Asami huffs adorably and practically shoves Korra back into her seat. "I tried, okay? But as soon as the water boiled, and I threw the noodles in, I sort of started tinkering with a design we've been working on at the factory, and the next thing I know the noodles have turned into... well, that."
She says all of this with one breath and ends the statement with an indignant pout, prompting Korra to chuckle loudly. When she gets out of her seat to give the heiress a hug, the taller girl continues to look away stubbornly. "Aww hey, don't be like that. C'mere."
"It's not funny, Korra. I tried twice, you know! I wanted to make your favorite, and it turns out I can't cook noodles to save my life."
Korra wraps her arms around the heiress tighter and Asami finally gives in, burying her face in the Avatar's shoulder for good measure. "Can I just say that I love you for even trying?"
"I suppose that makes it a little better... Narook gave me a really hard time about the take out part, you know. Made me slip out the back door like some kind of thief because he didn't want anyone else to see what I was doing."
"Hmm, yes... the things you do for me, sneaking around with two bowls of seaweed noodles like a true criminal."
Asami breaks their embrace then to glare at her slightly, and Korra gives a cheeky grin in response. "Have I mentioned that I love you? It's good to be home."