The door flew open with a bang and suddenly the room was full of light and noise as the three still-uniformed benders poured in, laughing and shouting as they pulled off their helmets and reached for their lockers and street clothes.
"Guys…wait a second, something's not-"
It was Korra who broke the congratulatory feedback loop, drawing both of the boys up short as they looked around.
"Huh?" Bolin was already half-out of his uniform.
"Asami's missing," Mako noted quietly, as he always did when the topic of his ex- (and Korra's current) girlfriend came up. With that, he turned back to his locker.
Suddenly feeling awkward - the situation was entirely too similar to one in the past - the Avatar grabbed her clothes and changed as quickly as possible, bolting out the door as soon as her boots were tied.
"I'm gonna go check on her," she shouted before the door closed behind her.
"C'mon, bro," Bolin tried with as much cheerfulness as he could muster, "Let's go have a bros only celebration! Good food, cute girls…what do you say?"
Korra bounded up the wide staircase, taking every other step in her rush to get to the second floor. When she got there, though, she drew up and deliberately softened her usually brash, stomping steps, practically sliding her feet across the floor in her caution. After the butler had so officiously announced that "Mistress Asami is not well," the young Avatar was doing her best to be quiet.
Slowly, wincing at the faint creaking noise, she pushed open Asami's bedroom door, blue eyes luminous in the dark as she sought her lover in the silent room. Slipping inside, she shut the door behind her - it let in light from the hall - and shuffled over to the large, unmoving lump under the covers of Asami's bed.
Afraid to wake the girl if she were sleeping, Korra opted to crouch on the floor next to her bed and address the back of Asami's head, where her tousled dark hair rioted across the plump white pillow.
"Asami," she murmured as softly as she could, "Are you awake?"
A slight nod was the response, and Korra breathed a sigh of relief, reaching out to play with the hair she could never keep her hands out of.
"Are you okay?"
Asami groaned, and finally rolled over.
"No," she grumbled, and Korra clapped one hand over her own mouth to hold back a laugh. Asami looked miserable, her green eyes bloodshot, her nose red and running, and her mouth hanging open so she could breathe. She narrowed her eyes at Korra and threw a wadded-up tissue in her direction.
Korra ducked and waved her hands in front of her, a small laugh escaping before she found her words.
"Sorry! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to laugh, but you…you always look so refined and collected and perfect! It's just…it's different!"
"Shut up, you jerk," Asami scowled, pulling her blankets up so that only her eyes showed above it, "I have a cold."
"I can tell," Korra responded, managing not to laugh this time, "And I'm sorry for laughing. You just look so cute!"
She tugged on the blankets a bit and kissed the tip of the nose that appeared from under them. Asami's response was to fumble around under her blanket and then, after locating one, to throw another used tissue.
"I'm not cute! I'm diseased. Leave me alone." This time she hid her entire head, even her hair.
Smiling, Korra moved to sit on the edge of the bed, poking the blanket-covered form until it squirmed enough for her to find a good seat. Rubbing what she thought was Asami's back, she waited a minute before speaking again.
"You're beautiful," she murmured, "Even when you don't think so."
Asami's head popped out of the covers once more, her eyes lasering across the space between them to find Korra's, and she flushed a little. The Avatar's words were deliberately reminiscent of the last time Asami had been missing from the locker room after a match - except that time, so soon after the re-opening of the arena, Asami had been at home, weeping helplessly for her father.
Korra had come to see her, had comforted her, and in the end had kissed her. She didn't regret it - neither of them did - but it had thrown their foursome into another tailspin. Broken trust, lost matches, and finally a knock-down, drag-out fight between Korra and Mako - after which Asami had verbally flayed the both of them - had ended in a sometimes uneasy peace.
"Whatever you say," the heiress mumbled, squirming uncomfortably as she tried to sit up, then sighing happily when Korra leaned over to snag the unused pillow from the other side of the bed, tucking it behind her back.
"You remember, huh?"
"Who wouldn't? Sometimes I still feel bad for Mako. You know, if he weren't a jerk."
"I'm a jerk too, if we're going by what you say." Korra's voice held a gentle amusement as she reached out to smooth Asami's hair out of her face. "But when you think about it, I kind of ruined two of Mako's relationships. I kissed him and broke you two up, then I kissed you and broke him and me up."
"Clearly," Asami sniffled and dabbed at her nose with a fresh tissue, "You need to stop going around kissing people."
"Oh no," Korra laughed, "But don't you know, that's where Avatar powers come from! I'm supposed to roam the countryside, kissing random people!"
"Oh shut up," laughed the sick girl, pausing to cough into a tissue before laying back with a tired sigh. "I'm sleepy but I can't sleep. Tell me about your match today…did you win?"
"Did we!" Korra shifted in the bed, pumping one fist victoriously, "We beat them into next week! We were a little shaky in the first round, and I got a penalty 'cause one of the new moves I wanted to try out takes some running space, but there's not enough in the first zone, so I accidentally stepped into the Badgermoles' first zone and man they're picky about that…"
Reclining on her pillows, Asami settled in to listen to Korra's enthusiastic description of the match she'd missed. Like that, in the peace and darkness of her own space, the curtains closed and the Avatar's happy rambling the only sound, green eyes slowly closed and she drifted off to sleep.
"And then bam, Bolin knocked him right back out of the ring! You should have seen his face, Asami! …Asami? Oh…well, sleep well, 'Sami…feel better soon."
Glad for the upper-body strength that a lifetime of training provides, Korra carefully rearranged her lover on the big bed, lifting her to remove the extra pillow and then gently laying her down. She tugged the covers up once again, and kissed the pale forehead softly.
"I love you," she murmured against Asami's skin before pulling away and slipping quietly from the room.