"Korra, breakfast is waiting for you."
Rolling away from the voice, Korra fights waking up this early with as much strength as she can muster, but the effort to keep sleeping is too much and her clenched eyes open to see her guardian standing patiently in the doorway. The sun beats down on her room, casting a glow and energizing the lump of a woman still debating sleep.
"Gimme some time to get ready, Pema." Her voice is slurred and husky, the lingering effects of sleep clear in her lazy speech. Tan hands come up to rub away at the sleeping her shocking blue eyes.
"I tried to make food from your home. I didn't have some of the ingredients so I improvised, I hope you enjoy it." With a warm smile and a kind look, Pema disappears from the doorway with a hand on her pregnant belly leaving Korra to collect herself.
The young woman allows a small smile to ghost across her lips before the inexplicable pain of homesickness makes it way to her core and twists around for a bit. Sliding her legs over the edge of her small bed, Korra falls to the floor catching herself with her hands at the last second and begins doing push ups. She likes to pretend that physical activity like her MMA training and surfing make her forget about how much she misses her parents that live in a remote, provincial village in the South Pole. Other than the original nomads that had separated from the Northern Water Tribe (who, according to legend, created a bridge of solid ice from the ocean and used it to cross the sea and settle at the frozen end of the earth thousands of years ago), no one had ever be brave or tough enough to survive the biting cold that Korra and her people had stubbornly lived with for years and years.
Until, people from the Nations came and began to set-up drilling stations for petroleum and taking the young children from the Tribe.
When "relief" organizations came to help young Korra's people (help with what, she had no idea), she was forced to move away from her parents and land and to the States: She remembers them telling her something about her destiny was greater than what this simple lifestyle could offer her and she was shipped away from her parents with some men from the White Lotus (whatever that was) and sent to the States to learn.
Tears patter the wood floor and Korra's arms strain to complete her sixty-fourth push-up as she recalls the memory of her being taken on a boat with pale people who didn't even speak the same language while her parents watched, unable to stop them. With an angry huff, she leans back on her knees and wipes the water from her cheeks viciously. No, she's cried enough, she thinks.
Looking outside her window, she smiles and scrubs her cheeks dry at the blissful sight; the sun is shining and she can see the ocean just on the horizon. The bright ball in the sky glints off of the glass like water, reflecting off of the individual droplets and creating a sea of diamonds. She dresses for another day spent at the beach.
After running a sea-leopard bone brush (from her tribe) through her brown strands, her calloused fingers quickly wrap the majority of her hair back into a high wolftail with a deep blue leather cord. Bangs frame both sides of her face and scrape at her defined collarbone and she takes care threading two ornate clay beads with decorative marking- each about an inch long-into the hair that brushes the sides of her face.
Touching the tribal engravings affectionately, Korra looks at herself in the mirror: She stands, navy bathing suit top tying around her neck above the V of her powder blue t-shirt. Her arms, tan and muscular are banded with jewelry from her tribe that will never come from her arms. Jean short clad hips meet the t-shirt that hides a defined torso and show off her mile long legs.
If she as a child saw herself as she is now, she wouldn't see any resemblance. The thought makes her hang her head and she turns from her reflection, her cerulean orbs darkening.
Tenzin smiles at Korra when she enters the large kitchen, watching as she sets her long, azure surfboard against the wall by her chair. The symbol from the Southern Water Tribe (as the natives like to call themselves) is etched meticulously into the fiber. About the size of a large skillet, the symbol is religious and the reverence the indigenous people of the Water Tribe has for the sea and the moon is exemplified in the crashing waves and the crescent moon carved into the circular frame.
For a moment, Tenzin's admiration of the Tribe's spirituality prohibited him from welcoming his guest of ten years and he shakes his bald, tattooed head with a smile thrown in the direction of the tan woman.
"Good morning, Korra. I trust you slept well?"
Korra frowns, touching a wrist band for comfort, "No, Master Tenzin, I didn't."
"Have you been meditating-"
Interrupting Tenzin's sentence, Korra stands abruptly. Her chair scrapes loudly against the wood flooring causing Pema and Tenzin to cringe.
"Meditating doesn't help me," Korra snaps with flashing eyes. The children at the table jump at her biting tone and Korra sighs, "I'm sorry, Tenzin. I just need to get out of the house for a while. It's ten years today since I left my parents and I'm a little on edge."
A sympathetic look molds Tenzin's face and he bows to her respectfully, "Of course, Korra. You may have the day off today. Training can wait."
"Thanks, Tenzin. Naga, come." She whistles sharply and her ivory furred companion joins her side.
Smiling, Korra grabs her board and jogs out of the large house. The sun rains down on her, warming her dark caramel skin and she immediately feels… better. For some reason unknown to her, Korra has always felt invigorated and strong with sun bearing down on her, burning her skin. Underneath the full moon, she feels as if her blood pumps accordingly with the push and pull of the moon and she feels a certainty in her that is inexplicable, a certainty the goes hand in with the promise the tides will rise and ebb with the gravitational force of the moon. Wind tugs gently at her loose shirt and Korra breathes it in and her icy-blue eyes close in a small flutter; the warm air fills her lungs and she's aware of every part of her body, her chakra flow, herself. Korra's feet meet the ground firmly, the vibrations from the hard earth reverberating over her skin and through her bones and it's like she's aware of the intricacies of the world around her.
It's crazy, she knows. Ridiculous, even. When she's surrounded by these… these… elements, she just feels at one with herself and everything around her. She asks Tenzin about it occasionally, as he is a spiritual guru, but he always tells her about some legends about an Avatar that supposedly has dominion over the elements and whose duty it is to bring balance to the world.
These legends were written a few millennia ago; Korra cannot help but lean a little closer to the skeptical side than truly believe that she of all the people in the world (around seven billion) is some sort of powerful being that is supposed to be some sort of peacekeeper for all nations to complain to.
And even if she was, Bending has been lost to humanity for some time now and every hunt for an Avatar has been met with failure.
Whatever, she just wants to go surf and be alone with her best friend for a little while.
Every time she lifts a foot and sets it down during her trek to the coast, she feels a little vibration and her skepticism crumbles just like the earth beneath her feet.
"Excuse me, Miss Sato; your father will be expecting you very soon."
"How soon?" The young woman replies smoothly, her oil darkened hand grabs a wrench from the bag at her slender waist and she proceeds to tighten a bolt attached to her Satocycle's powerful engine.
"Around forty-five minutes, Miss." The butler looks uncomfortable out of the corner of the young woman's eye; he looks as if he's fighting to keep his hands to himself. She doesn't blame him for being curious, as her private garage is very impressive and would have any car fanatic going crazy.
Three more cranks later, she faces the butler and sighs, "Wipe this down with a rag and have it ready for me," she gestures to the grease covered bike, "And please tell my father that I'm not some dog to be whistled at and I'll get there when I get there."
Paling, the man's face becomes fear stricken as he thinks about Mr. Sato's response to his daughter's rebellion, "Yes, ma'am."
She smiles at him as she hands him the rag, "Thank you."
Her shower lasts longer than she intends; really, it wasn't to spite her father at all. Towel drying her raven locks, she sighs, maybe she should go easier on him. They have only had each other since her mother's death and while she loves him, he just isn't the same person.
His love is forced onto her like a torrential wind by a corrupt, power-hungry mind rather warm, loving heart and he is overwhelming, suffocating her with his so called affection. Her father, the president and founder of Future Industries, is molding her to succeed him and he attempts to force his beliefs onto her. He wants discrimination and disdain to be the backbone of the company, to hold it together like some sort of poisonous adhesive.
She refuses to be influenced by someone who is fueled by such negativity and who is prejudiced against an entire people because of one man's senseless violence towards her mother. She used to be proud to have common characteristics with her father, but now she feels the opposite.
Benders are non-existent now, but Asami's father holds contempt for descendants of people of the former bending nations. It's childish and morally wrong, but the more Asami tries to save him the more her father sinks into a pit of hate and prejudice.
Dressing smartly for the Satocycle, the young heiress dons a pair of black leather pants that hug her supple, strong legs tightly and stuffs her feet in riding boots of the same color. A white V-neck is followed by a leather jacket and she grabs her helmet as she walks out the door and onto the drive way where her butler waits beside her shining bike.
Swinging her leg over the seat, she sees her reflection in the surface of the chrome accents. Every characteristic she shares with her father is plain on her face; the strong curve of her jaw, the narrowed shape of her jade eyes, and the intensity in her stare.
But his jaw is always set stubbornly, his narrowed eyes always hold contempt, and the intensity in his gaze is always crazed and angry.
Putting her helmet on, Asami is proud that she shares absolutely nothing in common with the man who used to be her father.
Republic City is a glorified melting pot, where people of all ethnicities and heritages mix and mingle like swirling watercolors on a blank canvas. Everyone complements each other and, while every person is different, that fact is their greatest similarity. The mesh together and create something quite beautiful, each seemingly random stroke of color on the canvas flowing and fusing seamlessly into the bigger picture.
Still, Korra feels like a giant, sore, bleeding, red thumb in this supposedly diverse community.
Her dark complexion and her icy eyes cause fleeting glances in her direction, but she looks straight ahead ignoring the stares.
Heaven forbid there is someone with pure lineage in this city. Eyes fall on Korra again, sizing up her exotic appearance, and her pace speeds up, she jogs to the next intersection where busy cars prevent the people on the sidewalk from crossing.
Spirits, if she could get to the beach soon that would be great. To be away from these curious eyes would be heaven and the beach is just a bonus at this point.
The fat, glaring, red hand indicates to pedestrians that the road is unsafe to cross at the moment, but Korra has always been a rule breaker. Holding her board securely with Naga following loyally behind her, the Southern girl breaks through the throng of people towards the front of the mass waiting to cross.
Red hand still firm, Korra ignores it and begins to walk through the road in what she thinks is a lapse in traffic.
The Satocycle's muffler-less engine proves Korra very wrong.
Asami is almost thirty minutes late to her father's board meeting when she gets a call on her cell phone from the man himself. Her phone is synchronized with her helmet and the device rings clearly in her ears.
The wind whips angrily at dark waves as she answers the phone, turning around the bend in the street sharply.
"Asami, where the in hell are you? We have an important decision to make and my successor is not even in the building." He snarls at her, feral and crazed.
"I'll get there when I get there, father." She breaks at a light and sets her boot clad feet down on either side of her, supporting the weight between her legs.
"I'm getting sick of your insolence, Asami. I've given you everything you could possibly ask for and still you shove it back in my face. We're going to have a serious talk about your needed attitude adjustment after the board meeting."
Red changes quickly to green and Asami accelerates forward, listening as her father says with disappointment dripping like thick venom from his voice, "If your mother saw you now…"
Braking sharply, Asami snarls through the microphone piece in her helmet, "How dare you bring my mother into this conversation! You haven't been my father since her death. And you know what, I'm driving and angry and if you want to have this conversation now you're just going to jeopardize my safety."
With a violent twist of her shoulders, Asami speeds down the next street and rocks spin up underneath the tires. The light about two hundred feet ahead of her is a vibrant green and she guns the clutch, the engine purring in ascent and pitching the woman forward.
"Asami Sato, you will not hang up on me!"
Her finger lets off of the brake long enough to end the call; she takes a moment to look to her right and let the sun flashing off of the ocean to calm her.
Sighing, she turns back to the road and her eyes widen. She's twenty feet away from running directly into a pedestrian (and her abnormally large dog), the woman walking is looking at the heiress with a look of shock, but also with a look of determination and strength as she begins to dig her shoeless heels into the ground and lowers her center of gravity.
Time slows down and Asami's fingers grasp tightly at the brakes, the smell of burning rubber fills the air with its sickly stench as the tires work to retain their sliding grip on the ground. Slender arms turn the handles of the bike ninety degrees and, in turn, the Satocycle slides forward horizontally, its speed decreasing marginally with the effort. In another desperate attempt to stop the piece of machinery from colliding with the young woman (and her companion), Asami's expensive leather boot meets the pavement and slides against the ground.
The people around them must be screaming, but Asami can't hear a thing other than the sound of screeching tires and she and the other woman's breathe mingling together- they're that close to each other.
It wasn't enough, Asami was going way to fast to stop in time and this girl is going to be spread out like a pancake in the middle of this bustling street. All of Asami's efforts feel as if they were in vain as the out of control hunk of metal barrels toward the teenager with eyes so blue Asami can look into their depths as she speeds wildly towards her.
Asami's jade eyes close at the last second- the moment of impact, but it never comes.
Korra saves what she can.
Her hands shoot out bravely to stop the advance of the vehicle; and, though she is able to catch the two ends of the cycle and lessen the blow, the broad side of the vehicle slams relentlessly into her legs and she is pitched forward and then tossed roughly onto the black road. The asphalt scrapes her skin through the flimsy material of her t-shirt and scuffs the smooth skin of her back.
Metal crashes loudly against the ground and the sound of footsteps echoes as Korra's savior/attacker approaches her. Naga growls dangerously at the woman, but once she notices that the large metal thing on the ground was the cause of her master's injuries she begins to growl at that.
Asami's knees hit the ground beside Korra's head and the woman tosses her helmet to the side –she's vaguely aware that her phone is ringing again- searching the beautiful woman's face for signs of life.
"Uh…" Korra groans quietly as soft leather touches her face, "Spirits, that hurt."
A stroke of the glove runs across the smooth and unmarred skin of her face, "Are you alright?"
Korra laughs, her blue orbs rolling behind the protection of her eyelids, "Is it sad to say I've felt worse?"
Asami helps the woman rise to a sitting position, her hand adjusted at Korra's lower back for support, but when the Water Tribe Woman tries to stand Asami places a firm hand on her shoulder, "Not so fast. You could be really hurt… Just give yourself some time."
The younger woman sits back on the ground, pain winding up the tender flesh of her back and legs. Her shoulders and legs ache from the impact of the vehicle and Korra's is glad of Asami's concern.
Korra's ears are ringing with the shock of the blow, but she smiles and opens her eyes, "Thank you. I'm Korra."
Black, deftly plucked brows pucker from concern to amusement, "I'm Asami.
"Funny running into you here."
Laughter bubbles from the heiress, light and airy, and she shakes her head, her black tresses swinging, "I think I'm the one who ran into you."
Asami frowns, glancing up and down the athlete's body, checking for obvious signs of damage, "I'm really sorry, Korra. I was going way too fast."
Waving a cut-up and bruised hand, Korra dismisses her apology with a carefree smile, "It's no big deal. I'm the one who was walking in the middle of the road when the big, red hand told me not to."
"I still feel bad. And I won't feel any better until I get you some medical attention." Asami begins to take out her cell phone. Korra's calloused fingers close over the device.
"No, don't call the ambulance. I'll be fine; plus, I kinda just want to get away from all of these prying eyes. Do you think you can take me somewhere?" Korra's eyes shine up at Asami, blue and bold and somehow the heiress can't find it in herself to deny Korra.
"Sure." Asami smiles softly at the grin breaking across Korra's face. It's big and infectious and makes her feel like she's seeing something truly special.
"Where do you want to go?"
After Korra dumps three tubes of Neosporin on the scrapes on her back and gets Asami to help her wrap the abrasions in gauze, the pair arrive at the restaurant of Korra's choice.
"No, Asami, I don't need to go to the hospital," She says with a sigh as they stand in line at the convenience store with the Neosporin and the gauze. With a laugh and a rumble of her stomach Korra says, "Just get me some food; I'm absolutely starved."
So, Asami does and they're sitting at a shack-like restaurant across from the ocean with two bags of ice resting on Korra's banged up legs and chips and salsa sitting between them.
"Asami, if you say you're sorry again, I'm gonna throttle you." Crunching a chip between her rows of bright, white teeth, Korra shakes her head in annoyance.
"I know… I just feel bad."
The native wipes her mouth with a napkin and scoffs at the woman across from her, "I know it was an accident: I'm not too injured, Naga is fine, my surf board is undamage. Look, if it makes you feel any better I can let you pay for my leopard-tuna tacos. I'd rather have those than medical treatment anyway."
Laughing Asami is caught off-guard when her cell-phone rings again, her father's number sending the screen blinking and flashing. Korra raises her brows as Asami denies the call and shoves another chip into her mouth as she asks, "Anyone important?"
A frown flashes across the ebony haired woman's beautiful features and she sighs sadly, "No. Not anymore."
A silence falls over the table and Korra doesn't like it, "Do you want to talk about it?" Her warm hand stretches across the table and strokes Asami's gently.
"No." The Water Tribe girl begins to pull away, her stunning blue eyes looking at the table in a dejected manner. Asami catches her hand, curling their fingers together, "What I meant was I don't want to talk about it right now. Definitely later."
Bronzed fingers squeeze her affectionately and Korra beams, "Later? Tomorrow? Like as a date?"
"Of course, Korra."
Asami has absolutely no idea what makes her do it, but she brings the caramel hand to her lips and presses a soft kiss against the skin. Korra blushes and Asami's questionable stunt of bravery is totally worth it.
Sometimes, when she feels especially homesick, Korra wears traditional clothes from the Southern Water Tribe around the city. Of course, she has to make some alterations due to the difference in climate, but she's proud of where she's from so she wears furs and the blues of the South like a badge of honor.
And that's how she arrives at Asami's mansion, her nicest tribal garb (a swim suit underneath) with her surf board and an extra strapped to the roof Tenzin's car that he allowed her to borrow with Naga forever following by her hand.
Stepping up to the front door she lets out a nervous huff and twists the knob (Asami told her the day before to come straight inside). Korra looks at Naga with a knowing look and the dog grasps a bouquet of flowers between her jaws, walking forward as her master enters the overwhelming mansion.
Yelling, angry voices echo through the enormous house and Korra's face shifts mechanically from excitement to concern. She can recognize Asami's voice, but the gruff, masculine voice is unfamiliar to her.
Running down the large staircase parallel to the front door, Asami runs to Korra tears streaming down her face. The young heiress envelopes the Water Tribe girl in a desperate embrace, her wet face burying into Korra's tank-top. A powerful looking man with salt and pepper hair charges behind Asami, his face becoming beet red with rage as his daughter hangs around Korra's neck.
It's well-orchestrated screaming match between a father and daughter and though Korra's timing is extremely inappropriate, as Asami is sobbing into the skin of her shoulder, her blue eyes just can't help but appreciate just how stunning Asami looks.
Her red dress is casual and short, stopping at her mid thighs, but not trashy and it ties behind Asami's neck just like the heiress' black bathing suit top underneath the smooth fabric. Honestly, Korra's a little resentful in regard to the black high heels that the elder woman sports; she's already a few inches taller than Korra, but now, the height difference is just ridiculous.
Even as Asami's shining, black tresses hide her classically beautiful face when Korra brushes the hair away from the taller woman's crying eyes she still sees Asami's resolute affection for her through the pools of tears and layers of hurt.
It's selfish of Korra, but she feels reassured and she holds onto Asami a little tighter.
"Asami Sato, you get off of the savage this moment."
Wait, "savage"? Korra knows she's not the bring-home-to-parents type of girlfriend, but "savage" is a little over the top. Granted, her hide and fur clothing with her tribal hair beads don't support her "not a savage" cause, but she really didn't expect to have to defend the fact that she is a civilized human being. And who says that any way? She opens her mouth to reply, embarrassed flush creeps across her darkened cheeks, but she's cut off by Asami shaky, but passionate response.
"Don't call her that! She's the one acting like a civil human being while you're acting like petulant child calling my girlfriend names. Just because she's a direct descendant of an ancient Bending Tribe you immediately label her in the same category as the man who killed my mother."
Korra's blood runs cold at the new found information, she had no idea… But then again, she's only known Asami for a couple of days. Now that she thinks about it, large bruises are forming on her legs where the Satocycle hit her. In her opinion, getting hit by a ton of metal was worth it since she had the opportunity to meet Asami in the process.
"I loved your mother, Asami! Everything I did after her death was for her! Everything! Every time I was hateful towards someone of bender descent was to honor her memory! They don't deserve a place in this world."
Asami stands fully; rising from Korra's comforting form and glaring fully at her father, "Do you even hear yourself? You discriminate to honor mom? Mom would never hate just because of one person's actions."
Asami's father, glaring behind his glasses says with hate spilling out of his mouth, "So what? All of them are just horrible and violent and ignorant. They think they're better than those who never had bending as a part of their heritage. When was the last time they contributed anything to society other than violence?"
She glares back, "You're making generalizations about an entire population dad. And even if they were all bad, Korra isn't and you should respect my decision to be with her. I mean, I ran her over with the bike and she didn't even get upset or sue. People who are 'horrible and violent and ignorant' don't tell someone their alright when they've been run over."
It's difficult for Korra to watch this. Her own family was torn apart for a different reason, but watching as this unfolds before her, she knows she is lucky that at least her parents still alive and love her, even if she doesn't see them as often as she would like at least she has them in her life.
Asami begins shaking her head, her soft fingers brushing away the tears that had spilled onto her pale cheeks. Her free hand grabs Korra's and she calmly says to her, "Come on, Korra. I'm not going to let you be subjected to my father's insult any longer."
As Korra is pulled away from the man by Asami, she whistles sharply through her teeth and whispers, "Naga, come."
Mr. Sato turns his back to them as Asami and Korra walk out the front door of the mansion.
Asami drives them to the beach, the moon hanging high overhead and the stars lighting up the night as the couple ride to a hidden spot that Korra found when she first came to Republic City. The tires of Tenzin's borrowed vehicle spin up sand behind them and Asami's expertise prevents them from getting stuck.
Korra's glad, driving is a skill she has trouble grasping and having the opportunity to watch Asami is something that Korra always appreciates.
Blue eyes search Asami's face and Korra can see that though she appears calm on the outside, her emerald irises still reflect with the sheen of unshed tears and her smiling mouth seems a little less sincere than Korra prefers.
Her hands shake slightly on the steering wheel as the pair parks at the entrance of a small cove, away from prying eyes.
Leaning over, Korra's bangs brush Asami's bare shoulder as she places her lips right next to Asami's ear. She licks her lips and it sends a flush across Asami's pale skin, "It's alright, Asami. Your dad won't scare me away." She presses her lips against the elder woman's cheek and it lingers behind, burning Asami's flesh pleasantly.
Korra sheds her shirt and pants, muscles flexing deliciously as Asami watches the beginnings of a true smile manifesting itself on her façade. Korra grins up at the heiress and asks with a smooth arch of her eyebrow, "Swim with me?"
The water is warm and it tastes salty on Korra's lips. The mixture of Korra's sweetness and the brine of the water is addictive and Asami can't get enough. Their lips meet again and Asami's arms coil around Korra's waist as their lips embraced in a passionate kiss.
Asami breaks away, pulling Korra towards the shore where a bed of white sand and Naga waits patiently for the pair. Relaxing on the ground first, Asami giggles when Korra follows her down, resting lazily on top of her. Their legs tangle together, sand clinging to their wet skin.
Asami touches Korra's clay hair ornament fondly, pressing a kiss to her lips, "Absolutely." A pause. "I'm sorry about my dad."
Rolling off of Asami, Korra sighs, "Asami, in this day and age, I've learned that you have to take what you want and not worry about other people and how they feel about it. And right now, I want you and, if you'll have me, I'm going to date you regardless of what your father thinks."
Beaming Asami replies, "In this day and age? What are you? Seventy?"
Korra laughs, "No, but I do have a feeling that a lot of people over the years have lost their chance worrying about all the negatives instead of the one positive that would have made all the cons worth it."
"You're right," Asami stands, the moon behind her head, making her black locks shine and she holds her hand out to Korra, "Are you going to teach me how to surf or what?"
Laughing and reaching for her well-manicured hand, Korra can't help but think that being hit with Asami's bike was the best thing that ever happened to her.
Even if she's sore as hell.
This collection of alternate universe one-shots was inspired by Amiphobic's Moirai. It's a good read.
Hint for next chapter: Country.