Borra – Masquerade
Korra fidgeted in the wooden chair, looking straight ahead where strangers danced. The beautiful dresses adorned with opulent designs, sparkled in the dim light, and cast beams of light dancing across the beautiful tiled floor of Republic City's main ballroom. This was, in fact, the same room in which Councilman Tarrlok had held a party in her favor; with the same staircase he had tricked her into telling the press she'd be fighting with him to defeat Amon. That was so long ago that it didn't bother her much to remember it.
It was not even a day or so ago that Korra had decided to attend this event. The poster had finally irritated her enough, what with its happy masked figures embraced and frozen in time as they danced, with large red letters telling of a Masquerade ball to be held. The purpose was obviously to get the young people of the city together for something fun, but at first, Korra pretended not to be interested.
"You should go," urged Tenzin when Korra complained about it. "It would give you some time off from your training and duties to the city."
Korra huffed at the thought, then. What business did she have to have fun when there was so much to do? Korra wasn't one to abandon her responsibilities. However, upon visiting her best female friend, she found Asami thought differently of the situation, and Korra eventually found out it was her very company holding the event.
"We'll go together, if you want," Asami offered. "It'll be the best thing for you, believe me. You'll love it."
Korra wouldn't back down that easily. In the back of her mind, she knew this whole party-thing and dancing with strangers was not her idea of fun. But on the other hand, she knew just as well as anyone else that it would do her a lot of good.
"I don't have a fancy dress or anything, though," Korra had made her best excuse. "I mean, the only dress I own is obviously Water Tribe. People will know who I am instantly."
This was very true. Asami had made the posters, and explicitly asked attendees to come alone, so as to make sure this was a true masquerade. No one was to know anyone there – that was the fun in it. But she would have broken any of her own rules to get Korra to go. Like Tenzin, Asami knew this would be the best thing for Korra.
She could see the girl was stressed. Korra had a lot on her plate. It had been so rough, actually, that it had strained her relationship with Mako. The two of them had found love after Amon was defeated, but it didn't take long for it to deteriorate under the pressure of her Avatar duties and his late nights on police work. Though Korra's relationship with the firebender ended on a better note than Asami's experience, it still caused Korra to go into a sort of sad patch. Korra, though knowing of her responsibilities, lagged behind her perfecting her airbending, barely paid attention at council meetings, and was often missing in action for even the smallest favors, like brushing Naga's coat. Asami was quick to counter her excuse.
"Well, that's no problem, because you can borrow a dress from me," Asami offered. "We're about the same height, and I'm sure if you can't find anything you like in my closet, you will find something at the store."
Asami put her hands on her hips, thinking she had completely disarmed the Avatar.
"You just really want me to go," Korra stated, seeing right through her friends counters.
Honestly certainly was the best remedy, and Asami sighed. "Yes, I do. I think it's the best thing for you. Don't mope around about what's in the past – you can find someone better."
Korra looked up at Asami and gave a weak smile. She had wanted to go all along.
But now she was sitting on the sidelines, bored and, though she hated to admit it, upset. When they had entered the room, everyone had been staring, and Asami whispered promising words of many callers tonight for them both. Both girls' dresses were long gowns with corset-like tops, showing a lot of bust. They were adorned with very fine details, lace, and sequins. Asami in red, Korra in blue, each with matching feathered masks. Asami had her hair up in a fancy up do while Korra let hers down in order to hide their identities even more. However, though Asami had gotten a dance partner immediately, Korra had not gotten one all night. She was not used to people ignoring her. If they knew she was the Avatar, she figured she'd have gotten at least twice as many partners as her equally beautiful friend by now.
Asami had come over many times during the night, but each time Korra shooed her back onto the dance floor where many suitors awaited her. Korra knew she could have easily joined Asami, taking up the hand of a random guy and just winged it, but this was not her natural atmosphere. Unfortunately, though, Korra found herself too shy to even stand up and Asami was not about to force the Avatar to do something so uncomfortable for her. The longer this lasted, the more hope she lost.
"I really am un-date-able," Korra muttered under her breath.
Korra found herself entranced by the colors of her dress in her boredom, at one point during the event, watching the lights flicker off the satin of her dress. So distracted was she that she did not even realize a hand was held out to her. Korra gasped, surprised that anyone had been standing there, and looked up quickly. The man before her chuckled, though his voice was muffled by the loud band playing nearby.
"Would you like to dance?" Korra could read his lips.
She nodded and stood up quickly, almost bumping heads with him in her desperation and excitement. The man smirked as he took her by the hand and led her into the dancing crowd. Like waves, the couples swayed by them, and for a moment, it felt like a dream, as if she was a princess following a prince. Though his face was covered by a mask, and the dim lights gave nothing away, she could make out the shape of a strongly built man, clad in a brown tux with dark green accents on his inner attire, complete with a matching brown fedora. His hair was dark and his smile was soft. Of all the men there that night, Korra was happy this one in particular had come up to her.
Once he had found a relatively clear spot, he turned around and expertly held her close to him, his hand still clasped in hers, his other hand finding its way around her waist. Korra was shaking. This man…he was so smooth…and daring! Though she feared her dance skills were inadequate, he seemed to move her along with him, tempting her to let go and be free to move. Wherever his feet moved, she quickly followed. Soon Korra could feel her nervousness melt away, her mind becoming numb as she stared into his strikingly green eyes.
Moving together, the pair became one, as if they had practiced this for many days and soon the other couples gave them space. It was not too long after, that Korra and her mystery suitor found a pattern. Like a river moving past its banks, she twirled and shifted as he stayed solidly moving with her, always there to hold her steady. The room seemed to spike to an extreme degree, causing the two entangled strangers to sweat, but the music coaxed them to continue. He was now following her, bending to her will as she controlled their direction, but always waiting for him, always looking for his eyes and his confident smile that urged her to do more.
When the music came to an end, she found herself pressed up against him, her hands resting on his chest, the two breathing with exhaustion and exhilaration. The crowd of strangers clapped and cheered for such a good show, but all Korra could do was stare at the man that made her truly feel fluid, like her native element.
The crowd soon dispersed, leaving Korra and her mysterious suitor standing motionless among them. The man bent down slightly; bringing her hand to his mouth, and planting a sweet kiss there before departing. He left so quickly that Korra stood in place, dumbfounded, staring after him as he disappeared among the other moving figures.
Asami came up behind her and said, "Damn, girl, those were some amazing moves!"
Korra sheepishly smiled at her.
"I had no idea you could move like that!" Asami stroked Korra's ego again.
Korra giggled. "Yeah, I know. But…now I don't know where he's run off, too."
Asami put her hand on her hip. "Probably to find another girl to dance with. That's normal after the band changes tunes."
Looking around, Korra sifted through the figures looking for her mystery man. Spotting him sitting among other tired men, she rushed towards him, leaving Asami, smirking, in the crowd.
Korra approached him cautiously, unaware if this was customary for a masquerade. All she wanted to do was talk to him, for he truly had her interest. Upon seeing her advance, the man smiled widely at her as if happy she had the courage to follow him. He stood up, still slightly winded from their dance floor endeavors. He held his hand up, signaling for her to follow him to a more secluded place.
Korra followed him to the edge of the ballroom, opposite the loud band.
"So, uh," Korra began, but found she had not thought about what she would say to this man once she was able to speak with him. "I really liked that dance."
"Yeah, it was really nice," he agreed, but his voice was still muffled out by the sound of the band and the chatter amongst the night's guests. "You know, I danced with a lot of girls tonight, but none were like you. You're really something else."
His words were sweet and his expression soft. Korra had almost expected an immediate advance on his part towards a date, but this was a surprise. She sighed, having untied her own leash the moment he took her hand into his, and Korra felt her body move itself closer to him, desiring the heat and energy of him once again. Her brain kicked in before it could go any further. Was this really her? Was she really falling for a guy this fast? After just one dance?
She pulled away. This wasn't right; she didn't even know his name. Perhaps it was the late hour, or perhaps it was the part of her that wanted the affection – so badly did it want to fill the void Mako had left. Whatever it was, Korra felt herself try again to close the gap between them. No words were spoken, but nervous smiles were exchanged as they slowly moved in. Despite her first impressions of him, he seemed to be just as shy as she was, and it was this time that she took his hand, their fingers interlocking. Perhaps unable to wait any longer or feeling as though the moment had presented itself, he raised his hand and gently placed it on her cheek. Korra felt a jolt race through her heart as he coaxed her closer, his eyes wide with desire, pulling her face gently towards his until their lips pressed against one another. Korra felt herself melt into the pleasant pressure of his lips like waves against the sand. Again, he began the experience, but eventually allowed her to take control as she leaned into the kiss, and the many others that followed.
When they parted, Korra was only confused. Her blue eyes met his wide happy ones. The way his green eyes bore into her with adoration, accompanied by such an affable smile, made it seem as if he had already fallen in love with her.
"Who are you?" Korra asked, though it was much more direct than she had intended.
His smile became wider, and his shoulders bounced twice in a light-hearted chuckle. "You really don't know, Korra?"
She was still standing so close to him when her heart skipped a beat. She lifted her hand and gently removed his dark green mask to reveal that her mystery suitor really was no mystery at all.
Bolin smiled down at her, having known her true identity the moment he spotted her sitting all alone. The opportunity had presented itself and he had gladly taken it, no matter what happened afterward. However, he didn't count on her following him afterward. He also did not count on her pulling him back for a second helping of affection, ending the night in a more fantastic way than he could have ever imagined.
Asami sat at a table, observing them from afar. Taking a cherry from her martini, she popped it into her mouth, and smiled. Mission accomplished.