porcelain, ivory, steel




Asami hasn't seen him in three days.

He's locked himself in Korra's room, hunched over her still, sleeping form, fingers sweeping over the already puckered scar on her cheek she'd demanded the healers leave as a reminder. She may be the Avatar, she had whispered before exhaustion had taken over, but she wasn't invincible.

The scar is ugly, ugly, ugly and Spirits, she wants to hate Korra but she can't. Korra is her friend, Korra protects her, Korra protects all of them.

She waits outside of the room, fingers tugging at the ends of her long hair. Her scalp hurts as she tugs harder, and she feels dirty, dirty and unwanted. She's not used to being brushed aside, she's always been the center of attention, always been the center of Mako's world. Now she's not.

She tells herself he's worried for his friend, that he only wants Korra to heal. She pretends he doesn't whisper the things he should whisper to her to Korra as she slumbers, pretends she can't hear him kissing Korra's knuckles through the door, pretends Mako doesn't love Korra as anything other than a friend.

She can't fool herself anymore.

Asami swallows roughly, pushes a hand through her hair, and knocks on the door, "Mako." she calls.

The door opens, his tired eyes meet hers, "Go eat." she orders, "I'll watch her."

He opens his mouth to argue, but she pushes past him, shoves him out, and locks the door behind her. She ignores him calling her name and sits in the chair beside Korra's bed. The spot beside Korra, on her bed, is indented with Mako's form. She pretends she doesn't notice. She pretends he wan't lying beside her, that he was only sitting in the chair.

Asami watches Korra, is glad that her chest rises and falls as she breathes, is glad Korra is okay. Is angry that Korra has taken away the one thing she had left. But maybe—maybe she'd taken Mako away from Korra, not the other way around. She shakes her head, pushes those thoughts away. What matters now is that Korra is alive, Korra is okay, and she will live to fight and bend another day.

She reaches out, puts her hand over Korra's, and waits.

Bolin slips into the room later, and hands Asami a carton of dumplings, "Thought you might be hungry," he shrugs when she asks. He sits on the bed beside Korra, watches Asami eat with tired eyes.

"I lied when I said I was over it." Bolin whispers, though she hasn't said anything, "I'm not. Not yet, anyway. It hurts now, but it won't hurt forever."

Asami blinks, wills the tears away, "Are you sure?"

Bolin blinks, "No." he says, "But I wish I was."

He stands, Asami stands, and they watch the Avatar breathe together, glad she was alive, hurt that neither of them were going to get what they wanted.

Mako stands beside them, now, but closer to Korra than either of them. His fingers glide through Korra's hair. His voice tells her a story, something about his childhood. Asami aches to be closer to him, to be the one on the receiving end of his soothing ministrations. Bolin makes a soft whimpering sound beside her, and she wonders how hard this is for him. How hard it is to see his brother with the girl he wants. Probably as hard as it is for her to see it.

Asami reaches out, takes Bolin's hand, wonders if Mako will notice.

He doesn't.

A moment passes, Korra stirs, smiles unwaveringly up at Mako.

She tightens her fingers around Bolin's.