Bolin caught sight of Asami from his window. With Korra off training with Mako to "relearn fire bending" (please, Bolin wasn't born yesterday), Lin back prowling the streets of Republic City, and Master Tenzin running diplomatic meetings all over the United Republic of Nations, the only people on the island were Pema, who was busy taking care of her new baby, and the three rambunctious air bending children who Bolin would much rather avoid. In all truth, he would much rather hang out with Asami, the beautiful, gorgeous, perfect Asami, but she seemed to spend quite a lot of time with the stupidly handsome and totally cool General Iroh.
Bolin huffed. She must have been returning to Air Temple Island after an outing with The General (as Bolin had taken to referring to Iroh when he was feeling a bit bitter). She was with Iroh, again, walking side by side from the harbor, where no doubt the Fire Nation general had just shown off his giant fleet of airships. They probably went for a ride on one of them, Bolin thought, and they rode over all of Republic City and the view was beautiful and Asami probably loved it because she's beautiful. Bolin sighed, watching Asami throw her head back and laugh at something Iroh said. Of course, he has to be handsome, have airships, and be funny too.
I'm the funny one! Leave some for the rest of us, man! Bolin thought.
"Stupid perfect Iroh and his stupid perfect face and his stupid awesome airships," Bolin muttered, turning away from the window. What was with Asami and fire benders? Why did that stupid stereotype about fire benders even exist? And what did he have to get earth bending, which was really only a step above placid, spiritual air benders? He was a good guy! Solid! Sturdy! Persevering!
"Like a rock!" he exclaimed, then frowned. "Just like a stupid, old rock."
He turned back to the window, curious to see if they had retreated somewhere inside, probably so Iroh could tell her more stupid jokes and entertain her with more exotic stories about the stupid Fire Nation. But they were still there in the courtyard, standing now, looking at one another face-to-face. For a moment, Bolin thought he saw Iroh's hand swing up to take Asami's hand, but suddenly she shifted away from him, her fingers moving up to brush her hair away from her beautiful, gorgeous, perfect face.
Bolin howled with happiness so loudly that the two in the courtyard turned in his direction. He jumped away from the window and almost crawled under his bed. He laughed to himself. He was just being silly. They didn't know it was him. Anyone could have made that noise, and (let's be serious) they'd probably guess Meelo before…
"Bolin? Are you in here?"
Asami's voice rang down the hallway. Bolin popped up from the floor.
"Bolin, I know that was…"
"Hey! Asami!" he called, then walked as casually to his door as possible. She was stalking down the hallway toward him. "How's it going? Go for a ride?"
"Were you spying on me just now?"
Bolin rubbed his chin as though he were contemplating the essential truths of her question.
"I don't believe…"
"Bolin, I know that was you! You were spying on me and Iroh!"
"Oh, its Iroh now? I thought he was General…"
"Bolin, were you spying on me or not?"
"I mean, 'spying' is such a broad term…"
Asami huffed in frustration.
"What I do with my time and who I do it with is my business."
Bolin backed up against his bedroom door, his hands up in an effort to block the blatant hostility.
"Woh, Asami, I didn't mean anything by it. I just, I mean, there isn't much to do here and I saw you guys out there and I just… wanted…"
He stopped, his face flushing. His sudden tenderness had taken Asami off guard. She tried, unsuccessfully, to bolster up her anger once more.
"Look, Bolin, just…"
She exhaled deeply, and suddenly the anger was gone,
She was looking up at him like she was completely deflated.
"…do it. Again."
In those brief pauses between her words, her body language had changed drastically. Suddenly she looked exhausted, worn out.
"Okay?" She turned to go.
"Sure, Asami. But are you?"
"What?" she asked.
"Okay. Are you okay?"
She cocked her head to the side and gave him a grim smile.
"Of course I am. Why?"
"I mean, it hasn't been that long since you and my brother…"
Asami's gaze flew to the ground. The awkwardness was almost tangible.
"It's fine. It's really fine. But I have to go say goodbye to Iroh, okay? I'll talk to you later."
She bolted away, flew down the hallway, and was out the door before he could manage a peep. Bolin looked down and realized that one of his hands was outstretched, reaching for her.
"Hey, Mako," Bolin said cheerily. Mako whipped around, his hand on his neck.
"Hey… Bolin… er… you're up early."
"Well I was thinking about you and me going out for a little brotherly training sesh, you know, like we used to," Bolin said, pounding his right hand into his left, then jabbing once, twice, toward his startled brother.
"Oh. Well. Actually, I can't. Korra and I were supposed to meet ten minutes ago but I can't find my scarf…"
"Oh…" Bolin sighed, looking around the room for a sight of red. "I don't see it. Maybe you left it somewhere."
"Korra probably still has it," Mako said with a guilty grin. His hand still planted firmly on the right side of his neck, he tried to push through the doorway.
"Hey Mako… what's on your neck?"
The fire benders's face turned crimson.
"Yeah, why are you holding onto your neck like its about to fall off?"
Mako giggled nervously. "You know, I really need to meet Korra."
"Let me see it."
Bolin grabbed his brother's arm and tried to yank it away. "Let me see!"
"Bolin, get offa me!" Mako tried to escape the room, but Bolin was ready. He wrapped his arms around Mako's waist and lifted him in the air. With muffled demands to either "LET ME SEE" OR "GET OFF OF ME SERIOUSLY", the two brothers ended up falling to the floor, wrestling either to achieve or prevent escape. Bolin finally rolled on top of his older brother and pinned him to the floor.
"IT'S A HICKEY."
The mark on Mako's throat was almost as dark as the scarlet shade his face had recently adopted.
"Bolin! Get off of me!"
"KORRA GAVE YOU A HICKEY."
"Stop shouting! Kids live here!"
Bolin, whose feelings for Korra had long since abetted, laughed openly as his brother became redder with both rage and embarrassment.
"Now I'm really late," Mako growled, standing up carefully. Bolin had brought him down hard.
Bolin's giggles were finally petering out when his brother again attempted to leave the room.
"What?" Mako hissed.
"Remember when I asked you what you thought about Korra? And you said it made more sense for you to go after Asami?"
Mako pursed his lips. He wasn't particularly proud of how he had handled that situation.
"Yeah. What of it?"
"Maybe this stuff isn't supposed to make sense," Bolin said, grinning.
Mako frowned. "Do… do you like Asami?"
Bolin erupted into laughter again. "Asami? Asami and me? Please, what would she have to do with me?"
"Okay… well, I'm off then. See you for lunch."
"Yeah, and I hope you find Dad's scarf!"
As he watched his brother head down the hall, Bolin felt that warm happiness seep out of his chest. Did he like Asami? I mean, what wasn't to like? Not only was she beautiful, gorgeous, and perfect, but she was a badass fighter, a kind person, someone who believed in equal rights for benders and non-benders alike. She could have been a spoiled brat but instead she got her dad to sponsor the Fire Ferrets and never made any comments about Mako or Bolin's previous days as gutter rats. But girls like Asami didn't go for guys like Bolin.
Not, of course, that there was anything wrong with Bolin. He was definitely good-looking (his fan girls convinced him of that). But he wasn't good-looking like Mako or the General. He was square, strong, not tall and lean. Girls liked tall guys like his brother… girls like Korra and Asami in any case.
Bolin pushed himself off the floor and wandered through the house, finally making his way out into the courtyard. Maybe he'd take a run down by the beach. Even if Mako wasn't in the mood, Bolin ached to work out. He was getting soft here on Air Temple Island.
Running felt exquisite. Maybe it was the contrast between the cold morning air and the heat building in his straining muscles or the way his body sliced through the breeze coming up from the salty ocean. He ran down the long road to the beach, feeling both winded and rejuvenated. Maybe he'd even go for a swim if the water wasn't too cold. Only a short swim though… he still needed enough energy to run back up the hill to get back to the Air Temple and, most importantly, to eat lunch.
A shout cut through the air, causing Bolin to slow his pace. It hadn't sounded wounded or scared. It was a sound resonating with power, as if someone were expelling kiais as they practiced martial arts. He scanned the beach and there she was, clad in black, moving through stances with ease and agility. He came to a stop, catching his breath as he watched her punch, kick, and roll her body through the sand as if she were fighting an invisible enemy. She looked sweaty, as if she had been out there for a long time. How early had she come down here to practice, and why hadn't she stayed up on the top of the island, where there were training arenas?
Bolin watched as she attempted a difficult kick, something that looked like some sort of double strike in midair. She landed strangely on her foot and fell, sprawling, in the sand.
Her yell now was one of frustration as she punched the sand with both hands.
"Asami! Are you okay?"
The beautiful, gorgeous, perfect woman finally heard him and turned, waving.
"I'm fine!" she yelled back up at him.
But Bolin was already on his way down. He ran all the way to her, the sand making his muscles ache after only a few strides.
"Bolin, I'm totally okay," she said, pushing herself up. But he ankle said otherwise, buckling underneath her.
"Come on, I'll help you back up the hill."
"I'll be fine."
"It's cool, Asami. I can help."
"BOLIN. I. Am. Fine."
Bolin backed away. His little joke the day before must have really gotten to her.
"Geez, I'm sorry. I was just trying to help."
Asami sighed. "I know. I'm sorry. I've been so temperamental lately and…" And suddenly she was crying, smooth tears running down her cheeks. She covered her face, ashamed of the weakness.
"Woh, why are you crying? Your ankle will be better in no time. It's not that bad."
"I'm not crying because of my ankle." Asami's voice was chocked by her tears and muffled by her hands.
Bolin sat down next to her, wrapping his arm around her slim shoulders. She leaned into him, one hand releasing her face and sliding around his torso.
"It's okay, Asami. Whatever it is, it's going to be okay."
"You're the optimistic one, aren't you?"
Talking about his brother while cradling said brother's beautiful ex-girlfriend was something Bolin definitely wanted to avoid. "I guess so."
They sat in silence for awhile, Asami's sobs growing less severe until they disappeared. Only then did she realize that she was still wrapped around Bolin's body, and only then did she realize his cheek resting gently against her hair. It was nice, having his strong arms around her. He was so solid, so consistent even when everything seemed to be falling down around her. Yes, breaking up with Mako had been difficult. But their relationship was the last of her worries: her father being exposed to be an Equalist, her own experience being imprisoned by that hateful movement, freed by the police, even arrested by the police… And now she was to take on her father's company and, somehow, restore its name and reputation. She felt like she was alone in all of it. Yet Bolin was always right there, looking out for her… sometimes literally, like the other day with Iroh.
"Maybe we should go back to the Air Temple."
Bolin cleared his throat. "Yeah. They can wrap your ankle up and stuff."
He helped her stand, let her lean on him and walk as best she could on her own.
"You know, before the spill, you looked pretty awesome out there," he said. "If you could bend, you would totally demolish every pro-bender I know."
Asami smiled up at him. "Thanks."
His smile was so warm and genuine, and his body was so warm, like a buffer to the cold wind around them.
She leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. She almost laughed at how quickly his face turned bright red.
"Thanks for helping me," she said, almost whispering.
Bolin laughed nervously. "I bet you probably wish the General were here to help you instead of me," he joked.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Bolin blanched. "You know, because you guys… together… the other day…"
"I thought you two…"
"Bolin, are you serious? I mean, honestly…" Asami tried to pull away but her ankle still wasn't ready for her weight. She was just about to fall when Bolin grabbed her again, bringing her right up against his chest.
They stared at each other for a moment.
"No, it's okay…"
"You were just falling and…"
"Bolin, helping me out yet again."
She smiled. She was so close. Bolin could barely assemble a coherent thought.
"I didn't mean…"
Then she kissed him. It was tentative, soft, and when she realized he wasn't kissing her back she recoiled. His eyes were still open, his expression completely shocked.
"Oh my, I am so sorry…" Asami began.
But then he was kissing her. His arm around her tightened, his hand moving to the back of her neck. Their lips moved together until they were forced to separate just to breathe. Asami smiled up at him, but he looked away from her. Did he look… guilty?
"Um…" Bolin was now loosening his grip, pulling her body to his side. "Maybe we should just get back up to the Air Temple."
"Oh. She looked down. "Right."
They ascended the rest of the way in absolutely silence. Mentally, Bolin was beating himself up. It was obvious, now, how he felt about Asami and she had kissed him… on purpose. And here he was, pushing her away like an idiot. How could he tell her about his reservations? She had just broken up with his brother, and just the day before she had obviously gone out with Iroh. Maybe she had hit her head as well when she fell on the beach. That really was the only logical explanation.
He walked her back to her room and helped her lower herself onto her bed.
"You don't have to explain," he said quickly, nervously. "Moment of passion, you hit your head and all… no big deal."
"Hit my head? What? No, that's not it."
But he was still nervously chattering away.
"No big deal. None at all. Now you rest up. I'll get someone to look at your ankle. And bring you lunch. Food always makes me feel better. Does it make you feel better? I'm sure it will. Okay. Bye."
And he was out the door before she could get a word in edgewise.
Even though he figured Asami would be bedridden for the rest of the day, Bolin went straight to his room, emerging only for meals before retreating back to his figurative cave and closing his door. He was too embarrassed to face his brother and, should Mako appear out of the blue, Bolin was determined not to accidentally give away anything that had happened that morning.
First of all, he still couldn't believe it had happened. The "hit her head" theory was becoming more and more unbelievable… Is sand really hard enough to illicit a concussion? Nothing about her seemed strange or out of sorts. But, honestly, this was Asami he was thinking about. Asami, who was into Iroh and had dated his brother…
And what was he to do about that? Sure, Mako and Korra were definitely very into one another, but what would Mako think if he found out his little brother and his ex-girlfriend had made out? Further, the idea of Mako and Asami together… he didn't want to think about it. It was weird enough to have feelings for his brother's ex-girlfriend, but to then go on and, to be metaphorical, explore lands in which his older brother had already planted his flag seemed beyond weird.
So he hid in his room, trying to teach Pabu how to scuttle under the bed when he snapped his fingers, but Pabu was more concerned with eating the crumbs Bolin had split all over his bedspread. He looked out the window at the empty courtyard and, eventually, the darkening sunset. He had no idea what he would do tomorrow, but he was very glad that there were still several hours between now and then.
Of course, right when he was finally settling down into a long and uneventful night, there was a quiet knock on the door.
Bolin sat up, panicked, causing Pabu to squeak as he tumbled off the earth bender's lap. What should he do? He could pretend he was asleep already. Or pretend that he wasn't there. Or…
"Bolin? Are you in there"
It was Asami.
He would play this cool. As he had said before, no big deal.
She was wearing pajamas, a tank top and shorts (why did she have to wear that?), and smiled when he opened the door.
"Hey. Can I talk to you for a second?"
"Sure, why not?" he said, his voice sounding goofy even to his own ears.
"Do you mind if I sit down? I probably shouldn't be walking around just yet."
He gestured to the bed and she limped over and dropped herself on the edge. She prolonged the bounce of the mattress a few times and then looked up at him. She patted the spot right next to her.
Like a puppy, he sat down.
"I heard you've been in here all day. Mako and Korra hadn't seen you at all," he said.
"Well, you know… I was teaching Pabu a new trick." He snapped his fingers with a flourish, but Pabu remained curled on his pillow, snoozing. Asami laughed quietly.
"It doesn't seem to have worked."
"He's a very stubborn fire ferret."
Bolin knew he was twiddling his thumbs but he couldn't help it. It was all he could do to not ramble on and on, as he usually did when he was excessively nervous.
"Well, I just wanted to thank you again for helping me back up the hill."
"And…" she paused, and Bolin stiffened. "I wanted to say that when I kissed you, I meant for it to be more than a thank you."
Oh no. How was he supposed to rationalize the events of the day now?
"But… what about Iroh?"
"He's nice and terribly handsome," she said, and Bolin's heart sunk. "But I don't know… He's just not for me. So much has happened recently. My father, the Equalists, and now I'm the leader of Future Industries and… Everything seems like it is happening all at once. And what I realized recently is that when everything is falling down around me… when Mako and Korra were ignoring their feelings for each other right in front of me, even when we were trapped in that prison cell, you were always there."
She scooted closer to him, resting her head against his bare shoulder and wrapping her arms around his muscular arm.
"But… you and Mako…"
"I know it must be strange for you. He's your brother and…"
"Just… did you?" Bolin interrupted, suddenly serious. "Did you two ever…?"
"No…" Asami began, but that was all Bolin needed to act. The arm which Asami held freed itself, wrapping around her small waist, while Bolin's other hand went to the back of her neck, drawing her closer and closer still. A slight pressure on her back and she lay back, linking her arms around Bolin's neck until he was lying on top of her and she was pinned to the mattress by his masculine weight. Pabu, annoyed, hopped off of his pillow and, finally, scurried under the bed.
Despite how silly Bolin usually was, there was nothing at all about him now that wasn't completely dedicated to the task at hand. Asami had never seen Bolin so focused as when he began to kiss down her neck and across her collarbone. His hand crept slowly, cautiously, underneath her shirt. She caught his hand under the fabric and, startled, he looked up at her.
"You don't have to be so careful, Bolin." With a smirk, she guided his hand until he was cupping her breast.
"Then I won't be," he said, his voice low and horse. When he kissed her again, there was a passion about his lips on her neck, the way his fingers rolled her nipple, the way he pressed his hips against hers. She hadn't thought Bolin would be like this, so confident and quietly intense. She had thought Bolin would be nervous and inexperienced when, in fact, he had been taking it slow for her.
His lips recaptured her lips and hooked his fingers around the straps of her top. She wriggled her arms out of it, and he continued to push the tank down until it was rolled around her midsection. Then he broke the kiss, took off his own undershirt, and in one swift motion peeled her shorts and rolled-up top off. He went to remove his shorts but her hands beat him to it. As she pushed them down, he realized that here he was, sitting between the long legs of Asami Sato, about to make love to the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He traced the lines of her throat, her breasts, her stomach. She cleared her throat, and only then did he realize that he had been staring. He kicked off his shorts and dedicated his tongue to Asami's beautiful, gorgeous, perfect breasts.
She was wriggling beneath him, her hands tangled in his hair as he kissed down her stomach. He kissed the inside of her thighs, rubbing the wet fabric over her sweetest spot with two fingers. She was already more than ready for him.
"Just you," she said, her breath erratic.
He sat up, curling his fingers around the top hem of her underwear and tugging it out from under her bottom and then up over her beautiful thighs, knees, and feet. He climbed over her, his strong arms supporting him as he dipped down and kissed her sweetly. She finished undressing him, and he plunged into her.
He was so much thicker than anyone Asami had ever been with. She felt as though he was sliding against every bit of her, that he filled her up to the very brim. His arms begin shaking with the pleasure of it, his eyes closed as he rocked in and out, trying to be as slow and thorough as possible. She clung to him, her eyes open but unfocused, trying to absorb every motion, every touch, every little grunt he made because he was so overcome by her.
She wanted to flip him over, to ride him as hard as she could, but she could already the deep heat beginning to pool below her navel, and he had already begun to quicken his pace.
"Not yet," she whispered, and he buried his face in the crook of her neck, kissing and licking, trying to put off the inevitable. "Not yet, baby."
Her nails trailed against his back as she approached her climax, and when she cried out he finally knew he could release. He thrust into her one last time, and her eyes flew open as she rode out the intense orgasm. His face was still buried in her neck, in her hair, and when he rolled to the side, those trembling arms wrapped around her waist and brought her with him. She could feel the sweat on his forehead, the hot breath pressing in and out of his mouth. She exhaled, exhausted yet still full of life.
She swept an arm around her head and dragged her hair until it spilled out behind her. Bolin had moved down, resting his face against her chest, still holding her close. She kissed the crown of his head and began to play with his hair.
Suddenly something furry came crashing down on her face. Asami jumped, and Bolin twisted so quickly that he fell off the bed and onto the floor with a solid thunk. Pabu, who felt as though he had waited long enough, curled back onto his pillow and, giving Asami and Bolin a quick glare each, closed his eyes.
Bolin's face appeared at his bedside as he sat up off the floor.
"Ow!" he said, rubbing his head. But he soon broke into a smile, then an outright laugh as the ridiculous situation hit him. Asami soon joined him, both in his laughter and on the floor, taking one of the blankets with her.