"Heeeeeey, this is some classy hooch, Asami," says Bolin, selecting a few bottles off the shelf.
"It should be. I pilfered it from the mansion." Dressed in what she calls "casual"—which still looks like haute couture—Asami enters the living room and sets four glasses on the floor.
Korra takes an open bottle out of Bolin's hands, sniffs, and makes a face. "How do you even know if it's good?"
"The price tag," says Asami.
Korra shrugs and passes it to Mako, who fills all four glasses halfway. "How do you play this again?" she asks.
Asami sits cross-legged on the floor, her back up against her plush new sofa. They are breaking in her new apartment tonight, a necessary relocation since her childhood home is still a crime scene and Air Temple Island was getting, well, crowded.
"When it's your turn, you think of something you've never done before. Then you say, 'Never have I ever' and then the thing. Whoever's done the thing you say has to take a drink. If no one has done it, then you have to take a drink."
"Mmmkay. Sounds like this could be embarrassing."
"That's the point."
Bolin grins at her and wiggles eyebrows.
"And no lying. You guys are bad at it, and I'll be able to tell."
"Avatar's honor." Korra puts her hand over her heart and assumes a histrionic posture. Bolin is settling to her right with Mako sprawled out on her left.
"I'll go first," says Asami. "Never have I ever swum naked."
Mako and Korra try not to make eye contact as he sips from his glass. Korra, however, raises hers in a toast and says, "It's a Water Tribe tradition actually" and tosses it back…
…and then she coughs like she's dying and punches the floor hard enough to make the electric lamps vibrate. "Shit, that burns!"
"Yikes," Asami deadpans, whether at their transparent mutual embarassment or Korra's rookie drinking or the thought of plunging naked into arctic waters isn't clear. "Ok, Mako's turn."
Mako doesn't like this game, but he's been outvoted, so, "Never have I ever crashed a satomobile."
Korra groans as she and Asami both drink. This time, the former is prepared and the coughing is less dramatic.
"Fuck you guys." Korra sits up and quirks an eyebrow. "Since it looks like I won't be able to say this in a little while: never have I ever puked from drinking shaojiu."
All three of them toss sips back, and the Avatar is triumphant.
"Bo?" Asami smiles at him.
"Never have I ever had a real sifu," he says.
"Ok, REALLY?" says Korra, and another sip blazes down her throat. Bolin is grinning at her. "Are you guys just trying to get the girls fucked up or what?"
"Perhaps," says Mako, the corner of his mouth turning up.
"I'll throw you a bone, Korra." Asami sits up straight and tosses her hair dramatically. "Never have I ever shaved my head," and after a beat, "Past lives don't count."
Both boys glare at her, remembering the times the lice got too bad.
Mako decides to play the pity card, "Never have I ever had a birthday party."
Korra "awwwws" him a little too loud, losing control of her volume as the alcohol starts to work on her a little faster than it does the rest of them. "We'll have to fix that." She is at the end of her glass.
"Don't let him fool you, Korra," says Bolin, easily the soberest of the three. "He hates parties."
"How shocking." Asami, whose poise is starting to crumble a bit, gets the refills going.
Korra has to think a little while, her finger making circles around the rim of her glass. "Never have I ever had a manicure," she blurts out.
Asami drinks and so, to his girlfriend's shock, does Mako.
"Asami's fault," he says, and Korra is too delighted for words.
Bolin is suddenly in confessional mode. "Never have I ever dated someone more than a month."
Mako and Asami both have to drink. Korra claims she's four days in the clear.
"Well, the dates are a little … fuzzy there," Asami mutters, and Korra isn't sure because of the alcohol, but she thinks her feelings are a little hurt. She takes a long drink anyway, and Mako is peeved. "Never have I ever called someone while drunk."
Mako drinks, knowing it's directed at him, but so does his brother.
"Never have I ever," Mako glares at Asami, "had to hide a hickey."
Her lips are pressed in a line, and she holds his gaze through squinted eyes while she drinks.
"What's a..." starts Korra, listing a little to one side "…oh whatever." Bolin is picking up on the rising tension on one side of the room, but all of Korra's resources are directed at hammering a thought together.
"Never have I ever … played … strip … pai sho." They all look at each other for a long minute. "Fuck," says Korra. She hopes this isn't where she throws up.
Mako looks at his teetering girlfriend. "Asami, I told you this wasn't a great idea."
"Quit being so protective of her," she retorts, more than a little unsteady herself. "She wanted to play."
"Yeah … Maaaako, I'm not a … baayayby." Korra's mouth won't quite form around the words.
Bolin thinks Asami is kind of being a bitch, but he also kind of gets why, and he's less drunk than everyone else, which is rare, so this whole situation is making him nervous. Also, this might be his fault, so…
"Never have I ever stayed mad at anyone for more than 24 hours." They all look a little disbelieving, but it is Bolin, so they drink.
Asami takes her swig and is pretty much through with this shit. "Never have I ever kissed someone while dating someone else."
Korra isn't looking very good. Mako throws a blistering scowl in Asami's direction. Out of nerves or whatever, he's been taking sips even when he doesn't have to and has to unsteadily refill his glass for the third (fourth?) time in order to take the required hit. But then he puts down the drink, and the path of revenge becomes clear. "Never have I ever made out with someone the same gender as me."
Asami's turns bright red all the way up to her hairline. Bolin and Korra's mouths drop open, and Mako is grinning at her like the drunk idiot that he is. Regaining her poise, she raises her glass and declares, "It was at boarding school, and it was awesome."
Bolin and Korra are practically jumping with delight as they clap and howl. Korra gets a little too celebratory, and Mako has to catch her before she goes careening into an end table. She settles down, but the room won't stop spinning, so she leans with her back to her boyfriend, and he returns the pressure in order to keep her upright.
"Ummmm ... ok, I dunno … uhhhh…" Korra can no longer make her thoughts cohere. "Ne'er have I e'er… had more thhhhan … 50…yeah 50 yuans in my pocket." She is slurring like crazy.
Asami, of course, drinks, and so do the two boys who used to do runs for the triads. "Really?" says Bolin, incredulously.
"The Avatarthnot th'pposed to have a lot of earthly pothessss…pozzessuh."
"Possessions?" Mako finishes for her.
Bolin raises his eyebrows. "Wow. What did you do with all the swag Tarrlok gave you?"
"Sen' it back. I…I not take anyttthhhhing fro' that … jerk."
He is still trying to make peace. "Never have I ever seen ladies kick more ass than these two here."
"Pandering," says Asami, her eyes rolling back in her head.
"Play nice." Mako squints in her direction.
"Ok, truce," she says, angling her body toward Bolin, the alcohol and maybe a few tears blurring the edges of her vision. "Never have I ever saved somebody's life."
Bolin looks like he's about to cry as he throws back the rest of his drink. Korra halts a moment before sipping hers quietly. "You too," she says, nudging Mako's shoulder with her own. He stares into his glass like he's going to set it on fire, and he drinks once for the little boy he kept alive for ten years, again for the lightening he pulled out of nowhere when it looked like they were a goner, and again for a few memories he's never told her about.
"What about that time with your dad and the factory and the tanks and…"
"Oh, he wouldn't have killed you guys, Bo. Imprisoned you and tortured you and let Amon take your bending? Yes. Killed you? Probably not.
They are quiet, and Mako reaches out to take Asami's hand while Bolin scoots over and wraps an arm around her shoulders. Korra is staggering on the edges of consciousness, but she leans across the huddle to place a clumsy paw on Asami's knee and smiles stupidly out of her drunkenness.
Tomorrow they will wake up with stiff necks and blinding headaches—Korra draped awkwardly over Mako on the floor, Asami face down on the sofa, Bolin sprawled all over an easy chair and empty bottles of shaojiu all over the place. And Asami will brew the coffee while Korra puts her entire head under the running tap water and wants to die and Bolin helps Mako cook up his "special hangover breakfast."
But for now they are wrapped in the tender warmth of their buzz and their mutual joy, mutual pain, and they are glad for one another's presence.