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The Damnedest Thing

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"Bro! Over here!"

Bolin's familiar voice carried across the tavern to Korra's sensitive ears, and she jerked her face in the direction from which it came. She pulled her pack further up on her arm and started to make her way through the throng of people milling around the floor between her and her small group of friends waiting for her in their usual corner booth at the pub. She gave a merry smile and a tiny wave to the four people seated in the booth, three of her favorite people, and then Wu.

Wu, Mako's new boyfriend, was slightly annoying.

"Hey, how was this evening's class?" Her roommate, Opal Beifong, asked her sweetly as she slid into the booth next to her. Opal was Bolin's long time girlfriend, a sight to see with her short dark hair and tanned skin, with sparkling green eyes. Korra had wanted to get to know her back when they'd first met, but Bolin's puppy eyes broke her heart and she pushed her wants aside so Bolin could try his hand at romance with her. Four years later, Korra was really glad she had. They were perfect together, and Opal was the best roomie a bachelor could ask for.

"Long," Korra groaned back, letting her eyes scan the crowded room for an available server to order her tumbler of whiskey. "I swear, if I had to listen to Tenzin say 'focus' and 'breathing' one more time, I was going to shit a turtle-duck."

"Whoa, you signed up for the course, Korra," Mako reminded her from Bolin's other side in the semi-circle seat. "What else did you think you were going to get out of a yoga class?"

"I was drunk as fuck when he talked me into it," Korra argued, leaning forward against the table towards the smirking cop. "I'd only stopped back at the gym to pick up my house keys that I'd left, you know that: you drove me over there after Beifong called you to get me before I was found by another cop that wasn't either of you."

Her father's good friend Tenzin was a spiritualist that had the holdings of a gym as well as his center for spiritual healing. Korra used the workout equipment and the sparring ring regularly, and that day was no different. She hadn't noticed her house key falling out of her bag on her way out that day, however, and had hobbled back in the dark after almost an entire bottle of vodka later that night. A cop passing by was arresting her for public drunk when the Chief called him on his personal phone and suggested nicely that he take the cuffs back off and pass Korra over to Detective Mako. And by "suggested nicely", Korra meant she could hear every word Lin Beifong screamed at that poor rookie that night.

"Poor Jenkins," Mako said sadly, shaking his head at the name of the rookie from that night. "The guy had no idea his first beat would include death by Beifong."

"You work tonight, right?" Bolin asked to bring the subject back around to the present. He bounced his thick eyebrows at Korra teasingly, then tipped back the bottle of Yuengling's in his hand.

Korra didn't look at him as she replied, finally having caught the eye of the Fire Nation girl serving the tables closest to them. "Yeah, it's Friday night. Who else would be there? Billy? Kareem? Ha. Gunther wouldn't dare have another lead cook on the grill tonight, I'm the best he has. Those other guys are just my man servants."

"For Spirits' sake, Korra, I've already put your order in," the server sighed jokingly to Korra as she drew near. "Nate is a little overwhelmed, but I ordered a double because I figured you work tonight."

"Alaya, you're a woman after my own heart," Korra praised her, blowing a kiss to the young girl as she whisked away again to answer a drunken bellow from four tables away.

"I don't know if it's sad that she has you so pegged, or really impressive that she knows her regulars so well," Opal chuckled with a slight shake of her head, watching Alaya bustle about.

"Probably a bit of both," Korra answered with her trademark grin, tucking a lock of her short dark hair behind her ear with a copper-skinned hand. "I'd fuck the hell out of her, honestly. Not sure she's ready for a ride on the Korra Express, though. Might give her a complex that anyone else after me is a terrible lay. She's too young for me to ruin."

"Uh oh," Mako intoned with an exaggerated roll of his amber eyes. "Clear some room on the table; Korra's ego just arrived."

Korra reached for a napkin in the holder in the middle of the round table, crumbled it into a ball and flung it at one of her oldest friends, but he deflected it with a hand as he laughed with her. The jokes about her ego were a long standing section to the totem that built their friendship, just as essential as their mutual love for athletics and really bad martial arts films. You know, the type with the horrible voice-overs and ridiculous fighting noises. Mako was her first friend when she came to Republic City twelve years before, having moved from her home in the Southern Water Tribe when her father was named ambassador and transferred to serve in the Assembly in the city.

"Twenty-six, going on fourteen," Opal mumbled fondly, looking back and forth between Korra and Mako. "You're both ridiculous."

"We are a young twenty-six, fuck you very much," Korra responded immediately, perking up in her seat when she saw Alaya making her way back to the table with a tall tumbler with golden whiskey coloring it. "Alaya, when are you finally going to agree to run away and marry me?"

A light pink dusted the girl's pale skin, and she laughed at Korra's question as she placed the glass onto the table. "The day that I wake up and realize that all I've ever wanted in life was a woman that can cook fifty plates of food in less than half an hour and could most likely bench press me. You know, one that can drink a bottle of whiskey in ten seconds flat, and strip your damn clothes off with a single smile, I guess."

Korra lifted her ass up off the bench seat and dug in the back right pocket of her cargo shorts for her wallet. She fished a twenty out of it and handed it to Alaya with the most flirtatious grin she could muster, winking at the girl when she took it. "Sounds like tomorrow morning is going to be interesting," she told her, and Alaya rolled her golden eyes at Korra's persistence. "Keep the change, beautiful."

"Good night, Korra," Alaya answered pointedly, bowing away. "See you after my shift when I come in for my usual."

"Double patty melt, steak fries, and two pickles!" Korra called after her retreating figure, then looked back at her friends. "Totally meant to be, right?"

"Totally," Mako agreed, nodding his head as he slid his arm around an unusually quiet Wu. "Should really start planning the wedding."

"You can be our flower girl!" Korra squealed in mock happiness, clasping her fingers together and pulling them to her chest.

"The day Korra gets married, is the day I transform into a blooming azalea bush," Opal muttered, making Bolin chuckle.

"Then you'll have to be the flower girl," he pointed out, earning himself an elbow to the ribs from his girlfriend and a laugh from Korra, Mako, and Wu.

"Better a flower girl than a sound guy for Dark Star Adult Films," Opal shot back, making Bolin flush with embarrassment and glance around for anyone that might have heard his shame.

"It's an internship," he mumbled to himself consolingly, but Korra reached over to pat him on the arm.

"It's okay, buddy," she said supportively. "I'm still jealous that you get to watch women go at each other every day."

Opal scowled deeply, and Bolin started to sweat. "I d-don't really watch," he defended himself for the thousandth time. "I'm too busy holding a boom mic, looking at my shoes and blushing to watch the artists."

"Artists," Opal scoffed, folding her arms over her chest. "If that's what you want to call them."

"He gets to work with Jamie Chilling," Wu said longingly, the first words he'd uttered since Korra arrived ten minutes before. "I'm not even really into chicks, and I'd let her ream me."

"Who the fuck is that?" Opal and Korra asked in unison, slightly giggling at each other for the timing.

Mako gave a huge sigh, a dopey grin coming onto his face. "She's the best in the industry, that's who she is. No one has ever seen her face; she wears a rubber mask in all of her scenes and appearances. Completely obscures her features. But she has a banging body, and she specializes in strap porn. She's never the bottom; I read that it's in her contract that no one touches her without her personal approval, and she has final say about the scenes she does."

Leave it to Mako to be a walking porn encyclopedia. Korra covered her grin with her hand before he got defensive.

"She's really nice," Bolin said quietly, turning his bottle in his hands. "She's robed when she isn't in a scene, so it's easier to have small talk with her than other actresses. She was very supportive my first day on set, knew that I was a noob the moment I walked in."

"I'll just bet she's nice," Opal said acidly, her jealousy getting the better of her.

"She's a lesbian, Opal," Bolin sighed helplessly. He put his bottle on the table and looked at his girlfriend, reaching to pull one of her hands into his own, giving it a light squeeze. "And it doesn't matter. She hasn't got anything on what I come home to every day."

"Have you ever seen her face, Bolin?" Wu asked interestedly, ignoring the fact that the thread of conversation might end up with Bolin sleeping on the couch for a week.

But Bolin shook his head. "No. No one has, not even Varrick. Jamie Chilling isn't her real name, I know that much. Chilling is a Water Tribe name, and she's pale like a Fire Nation native. But her eyes are a really pretty green color, so I'd say she has Earth Kingdom blood, too. Like us, Mako."

"You know, you being so complimentary about a porn star isn't helping your case about working with Varrick on this particular business venture," Opal said loudly, making Korra flinch at the way Bolin seemed to shrink into himself.

"She's a person, too, Ope," he said softly, and Opal deflated a bit. "And Varrick helps me out. You know that."

"Yeah," she sighed, shaking her head at herself. "You're right, I'm sorry."

Korra took this moment of quiet reflection to down her tumbler in one go, licking her lips once she was done. "As much as I'd love to continue this conversation about hot masked lesbians wearing strap on cocks, I have to report to the battlefield otherwise known as the kitchen at Kincaid's. I'll see you guys later."

"Do you need a ride back to the West Side in the morning? I have the beat around Kincaid's first half of my shift tomorrow. I could get you home quicker than the 674," Mako offered as Korra stood up and pulled the straps of her pack over her shoulders.

"Nah, I'm off tomorrow night for Dad's birthday, so I'm taking the 345 to the North Side after work. I have to go, it's some big to-do for his fiftieth. You couldn't take me that far in the cruiser or you'd give Beifong a stroke."

Mako waved an indifferent hand. "Chief likes you, as much as it kills her. And it would still be quicker than the bus."

"Aunt Lin isn't as hard as everyone makes her out to be," Opal put in, stirring her Republic City Iced Tea. "She just does her job… a little too well, sometimes. She even arrested my mother when she was a teenager. Being sisters didn't even break Aunt Lin."

"Glad you take after your mom," Bolin laughed, leaning over to kiss Opal on the cheek.

"Keep slinging those sweet words, Bolin," Opal told him in a light tone with a tiny amused grin. "Every compliment can be one minute less that you sleep on the sofa when you stay over tonight."

Korra smiled and shook her head at them. They really were perfect together, and were Korra's personal relationship goal. If she could find a girl that made her twinkle the way Opal did Bo, then she would have no problem giving up her freedom. But thus far, none had come close to what Korra wanted in a life partner. By this point in her life, she figured that she was too picky, and that woman didn't exist. But she was okay with that, she had her flings and her casual dating, and came home to a beautiful –though a little… no, a lot furry– girl every morning, anyway.

It was five blocks from Break the Seal to Kincaid's, and Korra took the walk leisurely, hands in her pockets, whistling the theme song from some sitcom that Bolin made her watch on Netflix. The streets were bathed in a golden light from overarching bulbs above her, with flashes of white lights from the cars passing down Colquitt Avenue beside her. As always, she found herself looking up at the night sky, and being disappointed in the lack of stars scattered there. The dome of light from the city obscured them into barely visible pinpricks in the yellow glow of thousands of street lights like the ones she currently strolled beneath.

It had rained for a few hours that afternoon, and the gutters beside the sidewalk were still full of water, making puddles that Korra was careful to circumvent as she made her way towards work. So far the cars passing had been too far to touch the standing water, and she hadn't had to dodge anything. But the ever growing sound of a revved motorcycle engine had her stop and turn around slowly, getting a face full of dirty street puddle when she did. It drenched her entire front, slopping down into her shoes and soaking her socks, as well.

"You motherfucker!" she yelled at the rider, who kept going as if nothing had happened, taillight disappearing around the corner a half block away. She looked down at her ruined clothes and clicked her tongue in dismay. "Son of a bitch," she muttered angrily, kicking excess gutter slime from her shoes. "Well, there goes my good night. Fucking prick."

It was nearing ten by the time she made it to the diner, the glass windows revealing the packed house inside. Korra gave a sigh, and slowly made her way towards the front door, her feet squelching in her sneakers with every step she took. She luckily had the clothes she wore to the gym in her bag; even if they smelled a little sweaty, they were still drier than the ones she had intended to wear through her shift.

The dining room was only half packed, but the tables that were seated were large parties, and her six server floor was in full swing. They danced between tables, well practiced and all smiles for the public. Tenzin's youngest daughter worked the late shift with Korra, and was the bubbliest server anyone could ask for. Someone having a rotten day could come in and be seated in Ikki's section, and leave with a genuine smile despite themselves. The teen was currently bobbing around with a tray, serving a family of five with a big grin on her face as she talked with the kids.

"Korra!"

The sound of her name came from the window between the front and back of house, and she could see Gunther's grinning face peering out from under his ridiculous cook's hat he wore. She found herself thanking the spirits that he didn't force his staff into head gear like that. Most of them just wore a ball cap instead, Korra wearing hers backwards just like every other hat to touch her head since she was little. She gave a wave of her hand to Gunther and pointed towards the bathroom. He gave her a thumbs up, and she went on to change before she clocked in.

Business went on as usual, with only a small comment from Ikki when she passed her in the kitchen early on. "You smell like Dad," she said with her nose wrinkled. "You didn't change before your shift?"

"Yeah, I did. But some asshole on a crotch rocket decided I needed another shower on my walk here. My feet are still soaked."

"Poor baby," Ikki simpered jokingly. "Stuck in wet shoes for the next seven hours."

"Don't you have babies to kiss for tips or something?" She reached around Ikki to give a stir to the noodles boiling on the stove behind the girl. "Go on, get out of my kitchen."

"What if your girl comes in tonight? The one you're so terrified to talk to?"

Korra rolled her eyes. Ikki was talking about Asami Sato, the daughter of the owner of Future Industries and one of the richest men in the world, Hiroshi Sato. She'd met them both at some gala or another she'd attended with her parents some years back, an awkward societal scene that Korra had only wanted to run from. Even as barely more than children, Asami had been the most beautiful girl she had ever seen, with long raven hair and stunning eyes circled with the longest lashes. She was from another world that Korra didn't quite fit, so the interaction had been polite, but brief. Asami was a regular at Kincaid's on Saturday mornings, and it was an ongoing joke amongst the staff that she was Korra's one and only. She hadn't even had to say anything; they all read it on her face when the woman entered the door around three in the morning that first time. But Korra never spoke to her. She doubted the heiress even remembered her.

"Sometimes even I know when someone is out of my league," Korra sighed to Ikki now. "She's one of them."

"Hear, hear!" Another cook, Billy, shouted from the back sink, having heard everything they said. "You're good, but you're not Sato good!" He laughed at his own statement, something of quirk he had.

"Quit yapping your flap and get those chili pots washed," Korra called back, unaffected with his joking.

"You sell yourself short," Ikki shot back to Korra's original statement, ignoring Billy as was her custom. He was so obnoxious that even Ikki wouldn't acknowledge him. "I bet you could get a date, even if it's just one. You know she's into girls, remember that scandal a few years back when she was caught with the Fire Lord's daughter?"

"Yeah," Korra said dryly, flipping a few chicken breasts on the grill. "I remember how her father came out and said it was all lies, telling the world how unnatural he sees such things."

"Well, he's an asshat," Ikki said hotly, huffing as she crossed her arms over her chest.

"Ikki," Korra said conversationally, turning her spatula around in her hand.

"Yeah?"

"Get out of my kitchen."

Ikki stalked away with her lip poked out but she gave Korra a middle finger as she went out of the swinging door. The older girl just chuckled to herself and went about making plates for table seven. She was left alone to her work and her music through her earbuds for a few hours, only interrupted when calling for pick ups. But as expected, right around the end of her shift, Ikki appeared at her side again without Korra calling her to pick up her order.

The shorter girl tugged on Korra's apron, since the shirt she'd changed into was a sleeveless tank top, and Korra looked over her shoulder, pulling her earbuds free to hear. "What is it, Ikki?"

"That waitress from the bar wants her usual, she's really drunk and wants you to serve her instead of Ginger."

Korra gave a snort of amusement, immediately pulling two burgers free of the fridge and tossing them onto the flat top. "I can't blame her. That attitude is something else."

"So, you'll bring it out?"

Korra gave a nod. "Yeah, I'll bring it out. Tell Ginger the tip is hers if Alaya leaves one."

Alaya was indeed drunk. Korra had her plate done in ten minutes, and brought it out to the table as promised. The girl was with a few others that Korra recognized from Break the Seal, and their plates were on the tray Korra carried, as well. Alaya's head was down on the table as Korra approached, but one of the guys sitting across from her leaned over and gave the girl a poke in the arm. She sat up and saw Korra approaching, and a dopey grin lit up her face.

"Korra!" she slurred, waving a hand at the cook as she placed the tray on the table between them all.

Before Korra could greet her back, she heard Ikki's voice carry over from the far side of the room, near the door. "Hey, Asami!"

Korra shot a nervous look over her shoulder to see Sato making her way in, the usual briefcase tucked beneath her arm. The heiress was giving Ikki a smile that made Korra's knees weak, all white teeth and crimson lips. "Hello, Ikki!" she called back with a friendly wave.

A hand running up her forearm brought Korra's face back around to the table in front of her, to Alaya's golden eyes in particular. She was stroking up her arm to her bicep, and she gave the muscle a squeeze once she arrived there. There was a familiar look in her eyes, one that Korra had seen on numerous women's faces when they saw her arms for the first time. It would usually make Korra flex and preen, but she found herself all too aware of Asami Sato sitting down two tables away; the last thing she wanted to do was draw attention to herself.

"Wow," Alaya breathed, eyes drifting back to Korra's face. "Your baggy shirts hide a lot, huh?" Now her gaze had lowered to Korra's cleavage peeking out beneath the tank top.

Korra gave a nervous laugh, fighting the urge to look to see if Asami could hear anything that was being said between them. She was uncomfortable flirting with someone right in front of her, though she had no idea why. "Yeah, guess so," she chuckled back half-heartedly.

"Aw, what's wrong, Korra? Six hours ago you were proposing marriage; now I compliment your gorgeous arms and you're a blushing mess?"

Korra nearly keeled over on the spot. "I–uh, you know. Been a long night. Some dipshit splashed me with his bike earlier tonight, so I had to change back into my gym clothes. Been pretty steady since I got here, too, and we're short a cook tonight because he's sick, so I'm just kinda burnt out." She gestured to the plate of hot food on the table. "But I made your food perfectly. Enjoy. I'll see you around, Alaya."

"Morning comes quickly, Korra," Alaya reminded her of their exchange earlier in the bar. She paused and gave Korra a wink. "But I don't."

Korra's face got impossibly hot, and she choked on a breath of air. "I'll keep that in mind," she said hastily over the laughter from Alaya's coworkers. She bustled away from the table so quickly then that she busted her hip on the corner of another table as she passed, hearing a yelp from the occupant.

She flipped around with an apology on her lips, but the words froze in her throat when her eyes fell on the open-mouthed face of perfection itself. Asami was as frozen as Korra, staring at each other as black coffee dripped down the front of Asami's expensive white blouse. Wide-eyed and mouth opening and closing like a fish, Korra fought to find the words she'd lost, unable to suck in a breath, much less speak.

"We're so sorry," Ikki cut in, dashing over to rescue Korra. She took her by the elbow and steered the dumbstruck cook towards the kitchen, giving Asami the most apologetic look she could muster. "I'll be right back to clean this up. I'm so sorry, Asami."

Once she'd pushed Korra back through the swinging door, the Water Tribe native found her oxygen again, pulling in a deep breath through her nose. Ikki was standing there with her hands on her hips, eyebrows pulled down into the frown that her mouth wore. "Really, Korra?" she demanded flatly, pointing a finger at the door. "What the heck was that?"

"Comp her meal," Korra said, ignoring the question. She turned around and headed back towards the line, pulling tickets as she went. She was back in her element, in control again. "Ask her how much her shirt was worth. I'll pay her back. And tell her I'm sorry."

"Why couldn't you do that? Just now, when you were standing there with your jaw on the floor, drooling everywhere right in front of everyone?" The teasing tone was back, and the little hairs on the back of Korra's neck stood up when she heard it. Ikki was dangerous in this sort of mood. She'd threatened to tell Asami before that Korra had a crush, but had not made true on it, yet.

"Ikki, please. Don't make this more painful for me."

The younger girl rolled her eyes and sighed dramatically, turning and leaving back to the dining room without another word, as if Korra were hopeless. Korra shook her head, immediately setting to making Asami's sandwich, egg white on lightly toasted rye, dry. She was another that never deviated from her usual breakfast. After Ikki had retrieved the sandwich from her a few minutes later, Korra snuck a peek out of the window at the woman that caused her to be speechless mess. She was writing something, head bent with the curtain of her dark hair obscuring her face, hand moving smoothly across the pad. Her sandwich sat to the side, a few bites taken. A fresh cup of coffee was beside it. As Korra watched, Asami suddenly looked up. Their eyes met again, and Korra reflexively ducked out of sight, her heart beating slightly faster than normal.

Glancing at the clock on the wall above the swinging door, she sighed deeply. It was less than an hour before she was supposed to be off, and she hadn't started any of her side work. "Well, at least I know what to do to stay away from the window," she muttered to herself.

She was pulling meats from the walk-in cooler to restock the refrigerators for first shift about thirty minutes later when Ikki popped up again, a shit-eating grin on her face. She held out a folded piece of paper to Korra with a smugness that made her curious. "What's this?" she asked Ikki, taking the paper from her and unfolding it.

"A note from Asami," Ikki said a little too casually, telling Korra right away that Ikki had read whatever was written. "Please allow me to take a moment to say that I told you so."

"You are so nosy," Korra sighed, reading what Asami had written. She wondered if this was what she was writing when she was caught staring.

Hey, don't worry about the shirt. It was karma, apparently, since I was the "dipshit" that splashed you with my bike earlier. I was in a hurry, late for an appointment, and couldn't stop to apologize. So sorry for that. Thank you for the free sandwich. You should let me take you for a spin to make up for your soggy night.

Haha, just caught you looking. Call me, please?

P.S. You do have nice arms. I wonder what your stomach looks like?

There was a phone number penned beneath the message, and Korra felt her breath hitch in her throat. Asami wanted her to call her. Wanted to take her on a ride on her motorcycle. Asami thought she had nice arms! She wanted to see her stomach? Done. Who cares she got hit with a mud puddle? The thought of any scenario where Asami was looking at her stomach gave Korra the kind of shivers that made up for any sort of dirt shower.

Dirt shower… dirty shower. With Asami. Spirits, fuck, that's hot.

Images flashed through Korra's head that were definitely NSFW, pictures so vivid in her mind's theater that she could nearly taste the rivulets of water from a shower head on Asami's slender neck.

"Speechless again, I see. I hope you get that worked out before you call her," Ikki snickered, thankfully mistaking Korra's silence for shock.

That pulled Korra out of it. She gave a shrug and stuffed the paper in her front pocket, the naughty thoughts to the back of her mind, then resumed her meat count. "Who said I was going to call?" she asked rhetorically, but Ikki gave a snort of laughter.

"Yeah, right, you've only been crushing on her for forever. Here's your chance, Korra. Be the leaf, flow with the wind."

"Okay, Tenzin," Korra said sarcastically, rolling her eyes at the phrase Ikki's father was so prone to saying.

"Laugh if you will, it's still good advice," Ikki called out as she left Korra alone to finish up.

"Yeah, yeah," Korra mumbled noncommittally. "We'll see."

But for all her bravado for Ikki, that note was really heavy in her pocket.

Chapter Text

Asami's fingers were on the keyboard of her computer in her office at five sharp, the dawn not even lining the horizon through the window, yet. Her early mornings at F.I. were customary, as it fit her filming schedule perfectly to come in after wrapping. She would come in and work until around noon, then have the rest of Saturday afternoon to do as pleased, usually a long nap. She would be so exhausted from it all that she had no choice, really.

Like this morning. Her thighs were tight, her gluts stiff. She'd really gone out of her way to make that poor Amber girl squeal to high heaven, taking her boardroom frustrations out on the girl's vagina. Her father had gotten her so fired up that no amount of fucking knocked the ire out, but she still felt a vindictive pleasure in what she did behind his back.

If he only knew.

It was a mantra that she chanted internally when she had to deal with him ever since that night.

It was what drove her to don the mask the first time, wasn't it? When that paparazzi got the pictures of her and Yuli together by the pool at her father's estate, making out with their hands in each other's bathing suit bottoms? When he all but disowned her for being a freak and forbidding any child of his from acting in such a way? Asami's answer had been to not only go out and fuck as many girls as she could, but be paid for it, as well. Four years later, and no one knew she was the one behind the leather.

The decision had impacted her life in ways she couldn't imagine, however. It had mutilated her social life, so far as to be referred to as a reclusive celebrity, hiding in shame of the scandal with the Fire Princess.

It made Asami laugh.

The real scandal would have been before that, if she were honest. When she was seventeen, she attended a ball with her father for the opening of the new library in down town RC. Big names from all over were there, and it was there that she met the daughter of the ambassador from the Southern Water Tribe. The girl was dressed smartly in navy blue fitted suit, hair just above her collar and framing her face. But it was her eyes that made Asami never forget her, her eyes and the mellow tone of her voice once they were introduced.

Hiroshi had noticed the glazed look in Asami's eyes when they greeted the ambassador and his family, and knowing already of her preferences, pulled her out of sight to scold her for embarrassing him in public. She had avoided Korra for the rest of the night.

Then about two years ago, she wandered into a diner that was settled between the studio and the Future Industries building. And there behind the window, eight years later, was Korra. She would know those eyes anywhere, and there they were, looking at her as if they'd seen a ghost.

She had gone in regularly ever since, waiting to see if Korra would ever acknowledge her in more than the looks Asami always caught. But the girl hardly ever emerged from behind the door, and never spoke a word to Asami.

Seeing that random drunk girl flirt with Korra earlier had bothered Asami. She had been so patient in waiting to have that moment where she could act, and that drunk girl just brazenly started feeling her up right in front of her. And it was Korra she had soaked on accident on her way to the studio, just her luck. Then the coffee thing happened, and Korra was so adorable, standing there with that look on her face again, like there was a ghost in front of her. The light blue baggy gym shorts, the black tank top, the backwards cap…

Those eyes… spirits.

Asami was done waiting. She wrote the note after Ikki had shared what Korra said to her in the kitchen, making the first move in something she hoped Korra would move back.

That tank top… those arms really are impressive. I wouldn't tell her no if she offered to top me, that's for sure.

Her mind went into overdrive on the thought of feeling all of that power inside and out, and she bit her lip, crossing her legs at the sudden throb from between them. She tried to refocus on the screen in front of her, but all she could see was the defined collarbone hovering just above her face, and all she could feel was the weight of its owner atop her. Harsh, hot breath brushed her ear, colored with low moans and whispers of her name, while hips moved with rhythmic diligence between her thighs, thrusts confident and not too hurried.

Careful, don't set a standard for her before she even calls you, much less before you're in bed with her. You've ruined great potential by expecting more than they were.

Despite warning herself, she didn't put a stop to the vision in her head. Now her legs were around Korra's waist and her back was to a wall, trapped between it and a deliciously sweaty female form, her nails dragging slowly down a well-toned back as it flexed beneath her touch.

Asami glanced at the bottom corner of her screen for the time. 5:24.

She knew that if she gave in and did what she wanted to do, it would be risky. The office started filling up around six. She could lock the door, but if her father wanted to speak to her first thing about the tiff in the boardroom the day before, a locked door would just piss him off more because he would take it personally.

But the visions wouldn't stop, and the sensation under her skirt was only increasing in severity. She didn't think she would be able to concentrate all day without relieving the ache first. She looked around her office as if something would tell her if she'd be walked in on or not, tapping her nails on her desk impatiently. Her indecision was costing her time.

To hell with it, she thought to herself, reaching down and pulling her skirt just a bit higher. She opened her legs a bit more and practically shoved a hand under her panties. But now the fantasy had switched and she was on her knees for Korra, her mouth sealed tightly around her clit, her tongue giving teasing flickers. Fingers gripped her hair, pulling her further into undulating hips, rolling waves of moving abdominal muscle under her hands.

"Holy shit," she whispered, feeling her own hips jerk in real life. She slowed the movements of her fingers against her clit so she wouldn't come too quickly, a habit that she found hard to break. The outcome was always too beautiful to pass up, even in crunched situations like the one she found herself in this morning.

Korra's hips started to move faster in her head, however, so naturally her hand mimicked the speed without her permission. The pulse under her fingers was worked into a frenzy, and she was slick against her strokes, the kind of slick that was foretelling a whopper of an orgasm.

So close, so close, fuck…

A knock on her door jerked her right back into her chair and out of her fantasies, reality sobering her up for the most part but she knew she was flushed and ruffled. She straightened out her skirt quickly, grabbing a tissue to wipe her hands off, then another to dab at her eye makeup.

"Come in!" she called a second later. She was not surprised to see her father come through.

"Morning," he said gruffly, and Asami gave him a nod.

"Good morning, sir. To what do I owe the pleasure?" The forced politeness in her voice was palpable, but he imperiously ignored it.

"I am dropping off the file for the Gino Tools account. It has to be done before eleven." He paused, his eyes narrowing in that calculating way that he had when trying to solve a riddle. "You're flushed. You aren't getting sick, are you?"

Asami shook her head. "No, sir. Just allergies, if anything."

"Well, good. We have to be at that ambassador's birthday party at seven tonight. I'll expect you dressed and at the estate by six." He turned to go, but Asami's voice stopped him.

"Wait, what? What ambassador's birthday party? I thought the calendar was clear today?"

He gave her disparaging look. "Asami. We talked about this just yesterday. That Southern Water Tribe ambassador, Tonraq or whatever his name is. There is a party tonight and we were invited. We'll go so there's no whispers about why we did not show."

She couldn't hold back the loud scoff she gave or the way her eyes rolled on their own accord. "Of course, Father," she muttered, uploading the file onto her laptop. "I have just the thing to wear."

Korra's father, so she'll probably be there. I have to look good.

The expression in his eyes flashed with apprehension, and she fought back a grin. He knew her so well. "Don't do anything rash, Asami. I mean that."

She gave a dismissive wave of her hand. "Don't worry. I'll be on my best behavior."

He left without another word, but Asami waited for a few moments to make sure he was well and gone before she relaxed into her chair with a groan. She hadn't planned to do anything that night but soak in a tub and drink a beer. She sighed and focused on the reports in front of her from one of their subcontractors. The sooner she got through the day, the sooner she could catch a quick nap before she had to meet her father. But first, she needed to go to the bathroom and clean up.


"Korra! I'm not calling you again, next time I am dumping a bucket of water on you!"

Korra groaned in consternation, pulling the blankets over her head. "I'm up, Mom. Thanks."

"Finally!" Senna exclaimed, throwing her hands up. "It's almost six, you need to get moving. I put your suit on the back of your desk chair, you need to be ready as soon as possible. I cannot believe you slept all day."

"I worked last night," Korra grumbled, rolling over on her back and removing the blankets to look at her mother. Senna was already dressed and ready, a long light blue gown accented her eyes, the same shade of blue as her daughter's. Her long dark hair was piled on top of her head in an elegant bun, and her makeup was perfect.

"Yes, and you were in bed by sunrise. You should have been up hours ago. This twelve hour sleep schedule doesn't cut it anymore, Korra. You have to grow up sometime."

"I maintain pretty well on my own, you know," Korra yawned, stretching as she sat up in bed. Her hip gave a throb of dull pain with the motion, and the scene with Asami came back to her full force. Her eyes shot to the folded piece of paper on the nightstand beside her wallet.

Asami's number. Right there.

"All I know is we paid for a culinary degree that you're wasting in a damn diner," Senna griped on, picking up Korra's discarded clothes from after her shower that morning. Her mother's complaining was a nice anchor to reality.

"I'm paid for it. I like the atmosphere better at Kincaid's."

Senna sighed, turning to look at her daughter before she left the room with an armful of laundry. "Just get ready, dear. We need to go soon."

Korra gave her a salute, and Senna closed the door behind her quietly. She looked over at the suit her mother had picked for her to wear. It was black slacks with a silk shirt the same color as her mother's dress, a gray waistcoat, and a black blazer to go over it all. "At least she kept it simple," Korra sighed heavily, swinging her feet over the edge of the mattress. "Maybe I can get away with not wearing a tie."


"Korra, straighten your tie," Senna muttered to her an hour later as they entered the hotel lobby. "I swear, you're just like your father."

Tonraq gave a booming laugh from Senna's other side, smug that he had managed to get out of the house without one. "You're gonna have to learn to move faster to get past the Tie Patrol, kid," he advised her, earning a look from his wife.

"You're only getting away with it because it's your birthday, mister," Senna told him, poking him in the chest.

"Well, I'm not the eligible bachelor here," Tonraq said in his defense. "Ties are lady catchers. You could run into the girl of your dreams here tonight, Korra. All kinds of strangers are supposed to show up." The last line was said jokingly, but Korra knew her father half serious about the strangers thing. He missed his friends back home, and the gatherings there, even twelve years after moving to the city.

"Right," Korra drawled sarcastically, already wishing she were anywhere else but at this gathering of political figures. "Well, if I disappear tonight, you guys will know I've found her and I am off getting a head start on trying to make you grandparents."

Her father laughed at the joke, but her mother gave a helpless sigh. Korra leaned over and pressed a kiss to Senna's cheek, and that mollified the older woman, if only slightly. "You look very handsome tonight, Little Wave," her mother said warmly, smoothing her hands across Korra's shoulders and using a childhood nickname in her sentimentality.

Korra's face heated with the compliment, and she rubbed the back of her neck nervously. "Thanks, Mom. Open bar, right?" she asked, changing the subject. Her parents knew she was cocky, but she hadn't felt much that way since the incident with Sato last night. She didn't want them questioning the lack of "Uh, duh, Mom. I'm dead sexy."

She didn't give them a chance to answer, she made a beeline to the bar, hearing her father's booming laugh from behind her. "Whiskey on the rocks," she told the guy tending in a hurried tone. She didn't know why she was so nervous all of a sudden, she had been fine on the ride here and when they first walked in. Sure, more people were arriving and the room was filling up, but Korra had attended shit like this with her parents her whole life. And yeah, she hated it, but she had never been anxious during one, not… well, once, if she were honest with herself. The one where she was introduced to Asami.

Did the Satos get an invitation for tonight, too? Is that what's wrong with me? Is she coming? Is she already here?

As much as she wanted to, Korra did not turn and scan the room for a familiar cascade of black hair in the crowd slowly gathering around her. She instead watched her drink being made, the honor of being the first one passed across the bar that night. She sipped it immediately, fighting the urge to chug it in front of all these rich assholes. She did not dare move from her spot in front of the liquor, either, knowing that this one drink would not be enough liquid courage for her to mingle into the company. She would need at least two more.

"Hello, Korra," a woman's voice said from just behind her left elbow.

Korra's head turned on reflex, but she was relieved to see Suyin Beifong standing there. Su was Opal's mother, and the chief of police's sister. "Oh, hey, Su!" Korra set her drink down to hug the woman she considered a second mother, a much cooler one than her own. Korra loved her mother dearly, but Senna was worrisome and could be preachy; Su had raised five children without seemingly breaking a sweat because she was so laid back. Suyin was a liberal, an LGTBQ sympathizer and supporter, employed convicts through a program called Next Breath, and Korra and Opal both had a deep belief that Su smoked marijuana. She was a major inspiration for Korra to come out to her parents as when she was younger, having reacted so positively when Korra told her that she liked girls… even if she mistook it for Korra trying to tell her that she and Opal were a thing. If it had gone differently and she would have ended up with Opal instead of Bolin, Su would have been ecstatic.

"How are you, sweetheart?" Su asked her now, giving her a tight squeeze back before releasing her and looking her over critically. "I haven't seen you in almost three weeks. You're never there when I drop by the house to say hello to you girls. Are you avoiding me?" she teased. She pinched Korra's cheek before she let her hands drop to her hips, cocking them to one side while she waited for Korra to answer.

"Never," Korra declared with a grin. "I've picked up an extra night at Kincaid's to save up for our trip to Ember Island this summer, and I've started yoga classes with Tenzin." Her tone was noticeably less enthusiastic when she said that last part.

Suyin laughed. "Yes, Opal told me such. I can't get you into my dance classes, but Tenzin talked you into yoga and meditation? What's his secret?"

"He cornered me when I was so drunk that Mako had to take me home from the bar, and I'd left my keys at the gym."

"Where was Opal? She couldn't have let you in?"

Korra swallowed audibly, knowing the answer to the question but wanting evade it, all the same. Opal had been at Bolin's, and while she was twenty-five and didn't live at home, Su still didn't like the implications of Opal staying over at her boyfriend's. "Uh, you know, you're right. Don't know why I didn't think about it."

"She was at Bolin's, wasn't she." Su sighed and gave a wistful smile. "They grow up so quickly."

"So, uh, is Bataar with you?" Korra asked, reaching around to grab her glass and take a mouthful.

"Subtle, Korra," Su chuckled with a shake of her head. "Yes, he is. He's engaged in conversation with one of the buyers out of the Fire Nation about some blueprints for apartments or something like that. Junior is here, too, also talking business. It's rather sad that a celebration of life can turn into one big board meeting, with the right crowd for it." She paused, flagging down a waiter with a tray full of flutes of champagne, and taking one for herself. "Why don't we try to plan something else for your father sometime this week? Something smaller, with less… all of this?" She twirled her hand around to indicate the scene around them.

"More sweatpants, less ties," Korra agreed with a nod. "Yeah, just let me know a day, I work weekends so if you wanted to do it then, I'd have to work something out."

"Let me discuss it with Bataar and I'll get in touch with you. I need to get back to him, but I'll talk to you before the evening is over."

Korra raised her glass and Su raised her own in departure. Back to her own devices, she turned back around to the bartender and tapped the counter in front of her. So far, the waiters were busier than he was, and he was able to pour another for her quickly. "Make it two," she called out to him suddenly, and he gave her a questioning look.

"If you hate these parties so much, why come?" he asked her a second later when he brought two tumblers over.

"Didn't have a choice for this one. It's my old man's birthday. My mother would never forgive me if I weren't here." She finished the last of her first drink and slid the emptied glass back to him.

"Ah," he said knowingly, taking it to the sink. "There wasn't a friend you could have asked along? Boyfriend?"

Korra downed the next glass in one go, cringing internally at where this conversation was heading. She didn't want the only bartender in the place to start hitting on her, because then she would hesitate to come after drinks once she finally walked away. Where was Mako when she needed him? He was always game to be her pretend boyfriend, to walk up and say in his "tough cop" voice, "You messin' with my girl?"

The wavy haired bartender apparently thought the downing of the liquor and the subsequent silence meant something else, because he shook his head and poured her another without her asking for it. "I'm sorry," he said with too much concern, putting on airs. "I know it sucks, I just went through it, too. If you want to talk about it, I'm a good listener. I'm Tahno, by the way."

Spirits, help me.

Korra picked up the third glass just so she could have a second more to think about how she was going to let this guy down, but she needn't have bothered.

"She's taken," a new voice said from beside her, and Korra's eyes bulged out of her head when she looked over and saw Asami standing there. She was dressed in a low cut evening gown that was the same shade of red as her lips, and her hair tumbled over her shoulders in elegant waves. She was so close that Korra could smell lavender on her skin. The heiress reached over and took the glass that Tahno had brought last, draining it in one breath and putting it back down on the counter. She gave a wink to Korra, whose face flooded with blood. "Your mother asked me to tell you to not get drunk within the first hour."

I need to have a word with my mother about who she sends on errands. Asami? Really? What are you up to, Ma?

"U-uh, did she?" Korra found herself impressed that Asami had taken the burn of the whiskey without flinching. "I'm sorry she bothered you with something like that."

Asami made a gesture with a couple of fingers. "It's nothing, I was happy to do it. It gave me a perfect excuse to come say hello." She held out a slender white hand to Korra, who shook it absentmindedly, caught in the color of Asami's eyes. A light, cool green that reminded Korra of spring time, of fresh mornings. "So, hello."

"Hello," Korra replied easily with a crooked grin. She marveled at how different this time was, but then remembered she'd taken a fair amount of whiskey since she'd arrived. It had been just enough to give her some wits when standing next to this woman. Her hand wasn't soft like Korra had anticipated, but rather calloused and warm, like she had known work with her hands. It was a pleasant surprise.

"Did Ikki give you my note?" Asami's eyes drifted down the sleeve of Korra's jacket, and Korra felt her muscles contract on their own, even though it wasn't visible through the fabric. She knew what Asami was thinking, and it made her heart beat faster to be aware.

"Yeah, she did," Korra chuckled, shaking her head. "You picked the wrong one to pass it through. She read it before I could."

Asami laughed with her. "That doesn't really surprise me, actually. But you two seemed to get along, the way she always spoke about you."

"Oh, we totally do. Grew up with that kid, I've known her family my whole life. Her dad was the reason we moved to Republic City, really. He nominated my dad as ambassador." Her eyes fell down the form in front of her, and she bit her lip at the curves she found. Asami was dressed to kill, and Korra hoped with all her might that she'd dressed that way specifically for her. It was her dad's party, she had to know she would be there to see her in what she chose to wear.

"You look stunning, by the way. I love that color on you." She realized with a jolt that she was still holding Asami's hand in hers and jerked away suddenly. "Sorry about that, I was distracted by how beautiful you are."

Asami shook her head at Korra, smiling again. "Thank you for the compliment. You clean up well, too. And if you don't know by now that I don't mind you touching me, then I don't know how else to tell you."

"Spirits, you're so blunt." Korra sipped her last drink, slightly grinning back at Asami.

"Blunt?" Asami echoed, waving her hand to Tahno to catch his attention. She had scared him off earlier, and now he had other patrons he was tending to. She leaned slightly closer to Korra and lowered her voice. "No, blunt would be that I wish we were alone right now so we could really talk." She gave Korra a once over and bit her lip. "I want to get to know you."

"Why?" The word was out of her mouth before Korra could stop herself, blurted out in a surprised way.

Tahno interrupted them by coming to Asami's hail, and she ordered herself a beer, surprising Korra again by ordering her personal favorite, Mooney's. "Hey, make that two!" Korra called out to him as he walked away, and he waved his hand to show he'd heard her. "That's my favorite beer. If you ordered one, I had to, too," she explained to Asami, who nodded her approval.

"It's the only beer, honestly," Asami corrected her, and Korra gave a chuckle. She really liked how this one thought about brews.

"Do you remember meeting when we were teenagers?" Asami asked her suddenly, catching her off guard.

She remembers. I didn't think for a second she would.

"Yeah, I do," Korra answered. "You were just as beautiful then as you are now. And maybe I've just had too much alcohol, but–thanks, Tahno." The bartender had placed their beer in front of them and walked away without a word, his pride apparently wounded from being shot down so hard by none other than Asami Sato.

"But what?" Asami pressed when he was gone, glancing around them to see if there were ears too close.

"I never forgot your face. Not like, I know what you look like, but your face on that night. I know, weird." Korra finished her liquor, pushed the glass aside, and pulled her beer to herself.

"Not as weird as you may think," her companion muttered back. "You asked me why, and that's my answer. You said it, yourself. I never forgot your face that night, either." She paused, sipping her bottle. "How long do you have to be here before you can disappear?"

Korra grimaced. "I'm stuck, I'm afraid. They're my ride home, and this event doesn't end until eleven."

"Well, I promised you a ride, so I could take you home. We would have to go pick up my bike, but that's not an issue. I would need to change, anyway."

Korra looked down at herself critically, then back up at Asami with a faint grin. "I'm not exactly dressed for a ride tonight, unfortunately."

Asami gave her yet another once over, and nodded to herself. "I have things you could wear. It may be a little tight, but if we're just going to your place…."

Was this where Korra said something about a longer trip? Because she really wanted to volunteer her night to riding around the city with this intriguing woman. And that sounded like a trail off, like maybe she wanted to hear another suggestion. Korra took a deep breath, and decided to go for it.

"If you're not busy, maybe we could ride around a while?" She licked her lips nervously when she asked, but there was no hesitation in Asami's answer.

"I was hoping you'd say that," she admitted with a tinkling laugh. "I have the perfect destination in mind."

You picked up a signal. Good job. Progress already.

Asami took a step closer to Korra, leaned her mouth over to ear. "So, just some mingling and then we disappear?" she whispered into it, and chills shot through Korra's body.

But when she saw the glare she was receiving from across the room, centered on a chubby, slightly wrinkled face, Korra gulped. Hiroshi was watching them, and he seemed to know exactly what was being planned between them.

"Er," she said awkwardly, still staring at Hiroshi, who wasn't looking away. "What about your dad?"

Asami took a small glance over to where he father stood, shooting steam out of his ears as some guy in a dark green suit yakked on beside him, unaware that the mogul heard nothing being said. Korra could swear she saw a slight smile and wink sent across the room from daughter to father, and when he clenched his jaw tightly and turned his eyes back onto the talkative man, she knew she had.

"What about him?" Asami asked carelessly with a shrug. "He can speculate all he wants, but what he doesn't know won't hurt him." She gave Korra a pointed look, a smile pulling up on one side of her mouth. "Besides, I don't care what he thinks. I never have. And I have wanted to have this conversation with you for a very long time."

"You've been coming into Kincaid's for almost two years," Korra noted, sipping her beer. "Why wait so long to say something to me?"

A light blush rose on Asami's face, and Korra couldn't help but grin a little at the sight. She liked it. "Honestly?" Asami asked, chuckling at herself. She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "I was hoping you'd make the first move."

Korra's own face heated up, and she suddenly found the label around her bottle to be the most interesting thing she'd ever read. "I kind of did," she mumbled. "If I hadn't been so clumsy when I was running away from Alaya, and slammed my hip into the corner of your table, would you still have written that note?" She looked back up to see Asami was also interested in her own label.

Asami pondered the question for a moment, her peridot eyes thoughtful. "Well," she said slowly after a moment. "It wasn't exactly the coffee down my shirt that made me write it. It was watching that kid flirt with you." Those eyes looked up from beneath their lashes, and Korra felt a swoop in her lower belly when Asami's teeth caught her bottom lip. "I didn't want to lose my chance, I guess."

Korra gave a dry chuckle at that, shooting an involuntary glance at Hiroshi again, only to see that he seemed more involved with Green Suit Guy this time around. "Alaya is an acquaintance. She's a server in the bar that my friends and I hang around. The marriage thing is an inside joke."

The heiress held up a slender hand, and Korra could see the calluses on her fingertips, her palm. It made her wonder what sort of work could give her hands like that in an office. "None of my business," she said, referring to Alaya. "But I admit that I was a tad jealous with how easy it was for her to flirt with you. Brazen little thing."

"You haven't been subtle," Korra remarked wryly, and Asami laughed.

"No, I guess I haven't," she agreed, taking another drink of her beer. "Have I been too forward?" There was a slightly nervous tone to this question, and Korra shook her head immediately to nip any uncertainty attempting to bloom.

"Not at all," she promised. "If you hadn't spelled it out for me, I'd still be telling myself I was crazy, seeing signs that weren't there."

Asami held up her half empty bottle to Korra with a small grin. "To the beginning of a good night?" she asked, making a gesture to her raised bottle.

"A good night," Korra agreed, tapping hers against it.

Chapter Text

Asami found it difficult to part from Korra once they began talking, even if it was to hurry things along and speak to the chumps her father wanted her to speak with. She knew that if she met his expectations on the business end, that he wouldn't give her too much trouble about leaving with Korra. He'd make snide remarks in private, treat her coolly but politely in public, but he wouldn't start a huge argument about it. It would be one less headache to deal with, and spirits knew she already had a bit of a pressure between her eyes from having such a light nap.

But once she finally found the strength to walk away and head towards Gerald Fitcher to strike up talks about the quarterly like her father suggested, she found herself too distracted to absorb the things the man was saying. She found herself playing a game of the "uh-huhs" and "of courses", hoping that looking at his face every so often would at least convince him she was fully invested in the numbers he was bleating at her in such a smug tone. He was always so full of himself that Asami had found herself here with him before, even without the gorgeous distraction across the room.

She also saw that she wasn't the only woman in the building that had her intentions set on the cinnamon-skinned beauty in the well-tailored suit. An older woman, around 40 or so with coiffed bottle-blonde hair, was laughing loudly at something Korra said, hand on the sleeve of Korra's jacket. Korra just smiled back, but her blue eyes flickered over to Asami, shooting a wink to her when she caught Asami looking. Asami made a face back to her to show how bored she was, and Korra's faint grin for the middle-aged woman turned into a full blown, knee-weakening smile for Asami.

Spirits… that smile. I'd quit porn if I could have that every day.

"But surely your father has all of this in his report from close today? Maybe we could just have a dance, instead of all of this business?" Fitcher's deep voice penetrated the visual conversation she was having across the room, and Asami turned her gaze back to him.

She finished her flute of champagne, placing the empty glass on a nearby table. "It would be my honor to have that dance before the night is gone," she lied smoothly, giving him the Sato grin, the one she inherited honestly. "But I have a few people I should also greet. It was a pleasure to have the chance to say hello, Mr. Fitcher."

"The pleasure is always mine, Miss Sato," he returned with an inclination of his head. Asami didn't miss the way that his eyes traveled her body, but she was used to that from nearly everyone. And hell, he'd probably seen her naked before, anyway, and had no idea because of the mask.

She ended up mingling her way back over to Korra's mother entirely by accident, having spoken to her as soon as she and Hiroshi arrived an hour before. The woman received her warmly, her handshake somehow reminding Asami of hugging her mother as a child. But instead of making her sad, it made her smile. She had liked Korra's mother immediately.

But it was like she steered me directly to Korra. Did she tell her mother about the note? Asami's brain was speculating as she said hello for the second time.

"Thank you for slowing that arm of hers down," Senna said lowly, giving a look across the room to an now alcohol-free Korra. "She drinks heavier when she's nervous." She paused and gave Asami a sideways look. "I haven't the slightest clue what she could be nervous about."

Yes, she told her mother about the note. She had to, she knows something.

"Hmm," Asami hummed, deciding to play stupid on the subject. "She didn't mention being nervous when we were talking. She didn't seem nervous, either."

That was true; Korra had enough of a buzz going on that she was more relaxed around her than she thought she would be. She had frozen up that morning, and that sweet girl Ikki had swooped in and saved her the embarrassment of not being able to speak to her. But she felt like the talk at the bar had crossed that line; she hoped Korra would be comfortable enough to function around her now.

"You guys talked for a while," Senna pressed lightly, raising an eyebrow.

Asami fought the urge to glance at Korra, and merely gave a single nod. She felt like a teenager all of sudden, being critically observed by a prospective date's parent. But… this was exactly that, wasn't it? Even though she was twenty-seven years old with a career and reputation, this mama bear was eyeing her in favor of her cub.

"Korra is an interesting character," she told the girl's mother. She was still mindfully ignoring the pull to look to her right, where their subject stood with that same woman tittering over her.

Senna gave a dry laugh, sipping the champagne in her hand. "You're telling me. I raised her." It was said fondly, and when Senna looked over at her daughter, Asami felt it appropriate to follow her gaze.

"Stop talking about me," Korra clearly mouthed to them, and both of them laughed at her even as she gave them an exaggerated eye roll.

"Observant," Asami noted, and Senna gave a light scoff.

"Hardly," she corrected her. "It's just that she hasn't taken her eyes off you since you walked up to her." She said it nonchalantly, but Asami knew what she meant, especially when eyes the same sapphire color as Korra's leveled at her.

"The attention isn't unwanted," Asami heard herself say very quietly, but she knew Senna could hear it. Her eyes flickered away for a fraction of a second towards Korra once more, and she continued. "And the interest is mutual."

I just have to be discreet with my father for now.

"Oh, I know," Senna said with a small smile. "Korra sleeps like the dead, and she left a piece of paper on the bed. I picked it up to fold it back up and put it on her nightstand, but I am a nosy mom, I guess."

The admittance made Asami blush, which wasn't exactly an easy feat; thinking about the post script to the note she'd written Korra, and knowing her mother knew exactly what she meant by it. And the note was obviously from her, as she'd written it on her stationary that was inscribed with her name and office number. "That's why you sent me over there earlier, right?" she asked after a moment of recovery.

"Whatever do you mean?" Senna asked innocently, serious faced.

Asami sighed and allowed herself a silent chuckle. "So," she ventured, "you wouldn't mind if I stole your daughter for the rest of the evening, then?" It was asked jokingly, a little hopefully, and it made Senna laugh.

"She's probably dying to get out of here. Go on, but don't tell her that I know."

"It would suck half the fun out of it for her, huh?"

"Exactly. Have a good night."

Asami made to walk away, but then she stopped and turned to touch Senna's elbow, making her to turn to look at her once more. "Thank you," Asami said with as much sincerity as she could muster.

"Don't make me regret it," she said back, and Asami gave her another single nod.

What would she think about my side job? she thought to herself as she slowly made her way through the crowded room. Knowing I'm filmed while fucking other girls? That would probably make her regret it. What would Korra think, if she knew?

She frowned at the thought of her alter-ego, as she liked to call Jamie. Asami didn't personify the identity as separate from herself, but she literally felt like she was someone else while in a mask. She remembered that reflexive thought that shot through her mind earlier when Korra smiled at her, and sighed a little. Reflexive thought, yes, but she feared it could be true. But if she quit, and got serious with Korra, it could complicate things further with her father, something she did not want.

I don't know. I think she could be worth Hiroshi's wrath.

Korra was detaching herself from the woman she'd been talking to, trying to meet Asami in the middle of the room as discussed before they parted ways. Since it was taking her a moment to extract herself, Asami paused and fished her cell out of her handbag. She needed a cab, she couldn't take the personal car. Hiroshi would blow a head gasket. A few quick finger taps on her touch screen, and a public car was on the way to pick them up. She glanced back up just Korra finally broke free and headed towards her. Asami felt her mouth quirk up into a half grin, and she sent a wink to her before turning and walking towards the exit.

She could feel eyes on her, instinctively knowing that it was her father watching her leave the room with Korra trailing after her. A smug feeling bloomed, her mouth tightening in a private smirk. Let him watch and make his assumptions, because none of them would be true, she thought to herself. She didn't plan to fuck Korra that night. She meant what she said when she told her that she wanted to get to know her. She really had waited years for this. But she knew Hiroshi just thought she was a lewd tramp, despite what he did and didn't know about her. He certainly thought she was off for a romp.

Once they'd made their way outside and onto the sidewalk out front, Korra let loose a full throated laugh that made the fine hairs on the back of Asami's neck stand up in a very good way. "I'd be dead if looks could kill right now," she laughed, holding her middle. "Spirits, he isn't going to send a hitman after me or something, is he?"

Asami gave a snort and rolled her eyes, but she was smiling. "Nooo," she said with a laugh of her own, nudging Korra in the ribs when she was beside her on the curb. "He'd do it himself to save money," she went on, teasing the girl, whose grin dropped off her face immediately. Asami couldn't keep a straight face when she saw how wide those blue eyes became when she said that.

"You're not– are you—?" she stammered brokenly, making Asami laugh harder.

"Calm down, Korra. All of my past remains intact," she assured her a moment later when she could catch her breath. "His bark is worse than his bite, I promise."

Korra gave a one shouldered shrug, indeed relaxing with the reassurance. "Honestly?" she said almost sheepishly, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. "I think it would be worth it. Just a little, though." There was levity to the statement that Asami easily caught, recalling her own thoughts earlier.

"Just a little?" Asami echoed, nudging her again, basking in that grin as much as she could. "Not even a little bit lot?" She leaned into Korra's side, and the shorter girl allowed it, even putting her arm around Asami's waist as they stood waiting.

This feels… normal. Like I've done it a thousand times. What is it about her?

Korra looked up towards the sky, oblivious to Asami's internal questions, tapping her chin in thought. "Hmm," she hummed to herself. She looked back down at Asami and tilted her free hand back and forth, struggling to hold back her grin to maintain a somewhat serious countenance. "Maybe a little bit lot." She gave Asami's waist a light squeeze.

She knew they were only joking around, but something about hearing Korra say that satisfied Asami. It reassured her that maybe her feelings for this girl weren't completely insane and one-sided. Because if she were honest with herself, Asami cared for Korra, and she barely knew her. It was a mystery exactly what it was about the girl that drew her in so strongly. But whatever it was, it was there and it was real, and it made Asami want to kiss the smile she was staring at now.

Her lips. They aren't perfect or plump, but Spirits… I want to feel what they'd feel like on mine.

While her eyes were trained on Korra's mouth, she didn't see that Korra's were locked on hers, too. But when she did notice, she realized their faces were closer somehow, and she sighed internally at how easy it would be just to lean forward a bit more…

HONK!

Asami jumped out of her skin at the loud noise the yellow cab made as it pulled up to the curb, and scowled over her shoulder at the driver for interrupting her almost-kiss. "There's our chariot," she said to Korra, sliding her fingers through the Water Tribe girl's to pull her along gently.

"So, what's the plan?" Korra asked as they slid into the backseat.

"Eighth and Park, please," Asami said to the driver, and she caught a glimpse of Korra's confusion before the interior lights cut out when the back door shut behind her. "What's that face about?" she asked Korra, who gave a single-shouldered shrug.

"I don't know, I thought you'd live at the mansion outside of the city."

Asami smiled thinly. "I did. Not anymore." She did not elaborate, and Korra didn't push her to. Asami gave the fingers still interlocked with hers a light squeeze as a silent thank you. Korra's hand was warm, really warm, and with the cool temperature outside in the October night, Asami was grateful for it. It was comfortable, and their hands fit nicely.

"So," Korra said again, bringing Asami out of her reflections about their hands. "What do you do at Future Industries?"

"I am my father's under. I guess that makes me something of a junior chief executive officer. I deal with clients, subcontractors, and I barter for deals in the boardroom."

She felt a single, inquisitive finger rub along the inside of her palm, over one the calluses left there from years of metal, grease, and flame. "Paperwork and arguing." Asami laughed at the summary Korra gave, because it was very spot on. "How do you have such impressive hands with that kind of work?"

"I build cars and bikes for fun," Asami said honestly, and Korra paused.

"Build cars… for fun?" It was said slowly and enunciated emphatically, as if Korra thought she'd heard wrong, and wanted to repeat it back to Asami for clarification that her (rather adorable) ears were not playing tricks on her.

Asami chuckled at the common reaction to the fact that she was a gear head underneath all the polish. "Of course. It's therapeutic for me after a long day in the office. What about you? What does Korra do when she's not slinging plates at Kincaid's?"

Korra rubbed the back of her neck, and Asami saw her blush in the light of a street lamp they were passing. "Nothing as cool as that," she said nervously with a dry chuckle. "I'm more into videogames, Dungeons and Dragons, comic books, and anime. My mother likes to call me a professional underachiever."

Asami frowned a little. That seemed rather harsh, but Korra didn't seemed bothered by her mother's opinion, so Asami didn't comment. Instead, she latched on to the things Korra listed. "I like videogames and anime. I like RPGs, it's also a nice escape when I can't get to my garage," she said. "Ever play Final Fantasy?"

Korra's eyes got really wide, and she sat up straighter in the seat. "Did ever play Final Fantasy? Um yes! Tifa Lockhart was my first love. I've played them all. Don't really care for the MMO aspect of XIV, but XV turned out good."

"I completely agree about the MMO thing. I've never been keen on online multiplayer. Too many assholes out there to ruin what should be a good experience."

"Well…." Korra trailed off guiltily, looking away. "I play Neverwinter. It's a D&D MMO, so I can't hop on that particular hate train. I'd be a hypocrite."

Asami laughed out loud, her head falling back against the seat. "I'm not going to judge you for enjoying MMOs. It's just not my thing. Tell me about Dungeons and Dragons."

And so she did. Korra talked about her current character and campaign, explaining the formula and game play. Asami watched her as she explained in childlike glee about group dynamics, and how she wished that her group had the dynamic of something called Vox Machina. The ride to her apartment building felt like a blink because she was so wrapped up in what Korra was saying, finding herself curious about playing the game, herself.

I role play twice a week as Jamie. Surely I could play an elf or something with ease.

"Here we are," the driver said, getting their attention. Asami bit back a grin at the way Korra's face fell when he interrupted her just as she was going on about the disagreement her character had with her friend Jinora's character. It was too adorable. She made a mental note to ask Korra to pick up the story later when they got to the observation deck.

Asami paid the man and they climbed out onto the sidewalk in front of the massive tower that housed her penthouse suite at the very top. Korra was standing there with her mouth open, gazing up the skyscraper with her eyebrows knitted together. She gave a low whistle and looked back down at Asami as they approached the revolving door into the lobby. "This place is huge."

"It makes for quite the elevator ride up to my floor, that's for sure. Come on."


The apartment wasn't the fanciest thing Korra had ever entered, but it was damn close. Everything was perfectly placed to enhance the size of the suite, and Korra couldn't help but be drawn to the wide expanse of glass that made up the far wall. She could see clear across Republic City from this height. She would say it was the prettiest thing she'd seen all night; but when she turned around and saw Asami come out of what she supposed was her bedroom wearing a tight pair of black jeans and a crimson hoodie, she recanted the mental statement immediately. Asami in a deep red evening gown was stunning; Asami dressed down was just fucking arousing. The color red was certainly created solely for this ethereal being crossing the room towards her.

She didn't notice the bundle of cloth in Asami's hands until she had tossed them at her, and Korra caught them by reflex. Grey sweat pants, a baggy black t-shirt, and a dark blue hoodie with RCU printed in white across the front.

"I don't have much that would fit you, unfortunately. But these will be better to wear on the bike than your suit," Asami explained with a small shrug. Then she grinned suggestively. "Although, I did contemplate giving you one of my smaller shirts just to see those arms outlined."

Korra felt her face heat up, and she dropped her eyes to the loaned garments. "I–uh–where can I change?" she asked, clearing her throat and finding herself nervous again. She worked on her body for people to notice, and usually loved the looks she received. But when this woman made comments about her physique, she felt her IQ drop fifty points, kidnapping her ability to speak.

"There's the bathroom, to the right," she told her, pointing towards a closed door across from the room she'd disappeared into when they'd arrived.

Once she was in the bathroom with the door closed behind her, she took a deep breath and chuckled at herself for the flock of birds partying in her gut. She had no idea why she was such a wreck around Asami. Usually those nerves were saved for when Korra wasn't sure if a girl was into her, and Asami had made it very clear that she was interested. Stripping her suit, she began to change into the borrowed clothes, catching a whiff of a pleasant scent as she pulled the hooded sweatshirt over her head a minute later. She lifted her arm to her nose and took another sniff at the fabric, smiling at the sweet scent that clung to the fibers. Taking a glance in the mirror, she laughed again; not even a single date, and Asami already had Korra in her pants.

Judging by the way Asami's eyes took her in from head to toe when she emerged with her own clothes draped over her arm and the almost smug smile that followed, Korra got the feeling she wasn't the only one that liked her wearing Asami's clothes. She felt her face heat up under the look, and made a gesture with her free hand at the pile of clothes on her arm. "What should I do with these?" she asked.

"Just leave them here. It gives me a reason to see you again."

"You don't need a reason." The words were out of Korra's mouth before she really thought about it, and she bit the tip of her tongue and turned her face quickly, busying herself by arranging her discarded garments as neatly as she could across the top of Asami's sofa. The soft snicker that sounded off out of her view made her heart stutter a little in her chest.

"That's good to know. Ready?"

Twenty minutes later, Korra found herself on the back of the very motorcycle that had splashed her the night before, arms locked tight around it's driver this time instead of screaming obscenities at her as she went around the corner. She would be lying if she said she didn't like the way Asami felt against her front, so snug and warm. She also liked how it seemed like the woman was fearless, pushing throttle harder around turns, instead of releasing it and gearing down. The vibration of the seat between her legs coupled with the daring moves and body contact was starting to make Korra sweat under the helmet she wore; and since the wind was cold as it rushed past, she knew it had little to do with the temperature outside.

They were outside the city before Korra knew it, so wrapped up in enjoying the ride… and the company, of course. The narrow road that wound up the mountain leading out of the Republic and into Earth Kingdom territory was reputed to be a dangerous one, the edge blocked only by a single metal rail. Asami flew up it like she'd done it every day of her life, the throttle still revving, the brakes only slightly applied as they tilted back and forth around the deep curves. It was almost as if the driver wanted the passenger to hold on for dear life, and if that were the case, then Korra was giving Asami the squeeze she wanted. She wasn't scared, exactly, but goddamn… it was a long way down, and it wasn't something she missed because her eyes were glued to the horizon, lit up with the lights of the city. If Asami only slightly miscalculated a turn, then they'd be splatters on the side of the mountain and front page news for two or three days.

But the mistake never came, and Korra couldn't even say she was surprised. Of course the girl would be a perfect driver. After finding out that she literally pieced them together, she figured Asami knew motors inside and out, and why wouldn't she drive something she'd built? She'd probably been driving most of her life, regardless of permit and legal age.

They pulled into a parking space in an empty lot, and when the engine of the bike was cut, Korra heard a deafening silence from the isolation of the area. She'd been up there before, the observation deck that overlooked the city from the higher altitude, but she'd never been up there at night. When she pulled the borrowed helmet from her shoulders and shook out her hair, she wondered why she never did. The stars out here were far more visible than inside the city, even if it wasn't the sight above Harbour City in her native home.

"Wow," she breathed, eyes inclined upwards to the diamond scattered sky. "This is fantastic."

"It's been one of my favorite spots since I was sixteen. I only come up here at night, when the sky is clear." Asami dismounted the bike first, stepping back and shaking out her own hair as Korra followed suit.

The helmets were left on the bike, and Korra found her fingers intertwined again with Asami's as the taller girl led her across the lot and towards a bench seat near the lip of the deck. The overlook was even more impressive in the darkness, as if the city lights were reflecting the spattering of stars above it. This was an even better view than the one in Asami's apartment.

"I didn't know the stars could be so bright here," Korra said quietly, gazing upwards now. The light pollution didn't reach this high, so the twinkling pinpricks were there, winking at her as if they were in on the secret the whole time.

"This is the only place, unfortunately," Asami agreed, also tilting her face to look up to the sky. She was silent for a minute, then she asked curiously, "How old were you when you really looked at the stars?"

Korra gave a dry laugh. "Always, as far back as I can remember. The sky is different where I'm from."

"Tell me about it?"

The innocent request made the fine hairs on Korra's body stand up in a good way, and she didn't know why. Maybe because the girl of her dreams seemed like she wanted to know things about her? That was a very good thing, because Korra felt much the same. She wanted to know Asami so badly it hurt.

"It's like there's no amount of space between you and the sky. The stars are bigger, brighter, and it's like if you reach up with your hand, you'd touch one. And shooting stars are a nightly show. I haven't seen one in years, much less an entire group of them."

"Sounds beautiful," Asami murmured dreamily. Korra took the tone as one to mean Asami was imagining the sky in the South, but when she looked down at her, she saw Asami's eyes were on her again. She couldn't stop the grin it gave her, and she didn't try. The heiress wordlessly smiled back, and a squeeze on her hand reminded Korra they were still holding hands. She gave a squeeze back, utterly under Asami's spell.

"What about you?" Korra asked, giving Asami a nod. "When did you really see the stars?"

Asami's grin faded from her face, and she looked away from Korra and back up. "When I was seven. I was born here, and didn't ever leave the city until… until some things happened, and my father decided we needed a change of scenery." She cleared her throat and looked back at Korra, her eyes noticeably shinier than they were a minute ago in the moonlight. "He bought a bungalow on Ember Island, and on our first night there, he took me out to teach me the constellations." She pointed up at the familiar sight of the Big Dipper. "That one was my first."

"Mine was Cerberus," Korra offered, getting a sense that the subject was tough for her new friend to talk about. "Also shown to me by my father, because I have always been obsessed with dogs."

"Dogs, huh? I wish I had grown up with a pet. But my dad is allergic to pet dander of all kinds, apparently."

Korra felt a trickle of fear, thinking about Naga and her carpets of shedded fur. "You're not allergic, are you?" she asked quickly, exhaling thankfully when Asami shook her head.

"You have a dog, I take it?" Asami chuckled, perceiving the reactions correctly.

"A big, shedding, slobbering one," Korra agreed, nodding her head. "She weighs about a hundred and thirty pounds and think she's a lap dog."

"Good thing I don't live at the mansion, anymore," Asami said thoughtfully. "If I end up spending the amounts of time with you that I'd like."

"You can spend all the time you want. I'm always free. Well, except work. And Wednesdays, because that's when we play D and D."

"Could I watch a game? Just to see how it works? I find myself curious about it. I like to role play." A slight change in inflection on the last part made Korra's ears heat up, but if Asami was going to be this forward, she was going to play that route, too. Or at least attempt to. Probably poorly.

"I like to role play, too. In and out of game," she added pointedly, watching Asami's eyebrow raise with the information. "And, yes, if I run it past the group to see if they would mind. We meet at mine and Opal's place."

"That's fair. I wouldn't want to upset anyone. Oh, did you want to finish your story about Jinora?"

I can't believe she remembered that the cabbie cut me off. Holy shit, she's good.

"If you really want to hear it," she replied shyly.

"Of course I do. She was yelling at your character for pick pocketing the monks."

"She kind of has to, in character. She's a cleric that's alignment is LG."

"LG?"

Korra shook her head at herself. "Sorry, lawful good."

And with that, they were distracted from the original line of conversation, with Korra explaining the alignments and what it meant for the character's personality and actions. Of course, the topic strayed several times between them, laughing into the night for hours until Asami noticed how low the moon had fallen.

"It's getting late," she said regretfully to Korra when the talking and laughing had lulled for a few minutes of silence between them. "I have to go into the office for a few hours in the morning to tie up some loose ends, and I didn't get very much sleep today. Where is your place?"

"On the West Side, a neighborhood called Bell Garden."

Asami gave a nod, pulling her cell phone from her pocket and opening her Google Maps. She studied the map for a minute, and then closed the app and put the phone away. "I got it. As much as I hate to do this… are you ready?"

Korra groaned, leaning into Asami pitifully. "No," she answered honestly, "but I can't have you running Future Industries as a zombie tomorrow. Come on, let's go." She made to pull away, but Asami tightened her grip on Korra's hand to make her pause and stay there, cuddled into her side.

"I've wanted you to be this close all night," the heiress whispered in explanation when Korra turned inquisitive blue eyes towards her. "Now that you finally came over here, I don't want to leave, anymore."

Such a feeling flooded through Korra with the words that she reflexively melted further into the woman, feeling Asami lean back just as fully. They were quiet for a few more minutes, but it was a comfortable silence, one in which Korra noticed her thumb rubbing circles on the back of Asami's hand. She was so close, she smelled so good, and if she just lifted her face a little bit, she could… No, not tonight. Not the first date. Wait. Is this even a date? She didn't say it was.

"Asami?" she whispered, not wanting to shatter the moment they were having. "Does this count as a date?"

"If you want it to," Asami whispered back, nuzzling the top of Korra's head on her shoulder.

"Yeah," Korra said with a soft smile. "I do, because I want to be able to kiss you on the next one."

Fingers touched beneath her chin, and Korra looked up and directly into Asami's amused gaze. "You don't kiss on the first date?"

Korra couldn't answer her aloud, only shaking her head as she was caught in the swirling of stars playing in the liquid of Asami's eyes. The heiress gave an airy chuckle, leaning forward and simply pressing her lips to Korra's, as if she had done it every day for years. The unexpected move caught Korra off guard and she gave a whimper in the very back of her throat as their lips moved together slowly, testing one another. Korra pulled her hand free from Asami's to reach up and cup it to her perfect jaw instead, head spinning and heart slamming in her chest. Kissing Asami was like having a first kiss, an illumination of something that Korra couldn't place, and like coming home all at once.

Asami pulled back a few seconds later, but leaned her forehead against Korra's. "I do," she stated plainly, making Korra give a strange sort of whisper laugh. "With you, at least," she added under a breath as an afterthought. She brushed her nose against Korra's affectionately, then kissed her again. "I've wanted to know what it was like to kiss you since I was seventeen."

The reminder that Asami had carried the torch for her for as long she'd carried hers for Asami made chills run through her again, and she visibly shivered. Arms came up and wrapped around her. "Are you cold?" A concerned Asami pulled back slightly to look at her, but Korra shook her head.

Far from cold right now, thanks, Asami.

"I'm fine. Just… you."

"Me?" Asami laughed, making that melty feeling inside Korra intensify tenfold.

"Yeah." Korra took the initiative this time, locking lips with the gorgeous woman. "You," she said with a satisfied smirk when she pulled back.

"Well, if it gets me all these kisses, I'm not going to contest your statement." Another kiss followed, then another, and another….

Hours later, Korra watched the taillight of Asami's bike disappear around the corner of her street in the grey light just before dawn. She made her way to her front door in a daze, not realizing until she was right in front of it that her key was at her parents' house in her bag. "Well, fuck."

She banged on the door as loudly as she could, hearing Naga's deep bark echoing through the front foyer, and hoping it would be enough to wake Opal or Bolin, assuming he had stayed the night as he often did. But it wasn't a sleepy Bolin that answered five minutes later, it was a messy-haired Opal rubbing her eyes and Naga bouncing in place behind her.

"What the fuck, Korra? Did you lose your key again?" Opal yawned, stretching her arms above her head.

"No," Korra said defensively, moving past her friend as she stepped to the side. "It's in my bag at my parents'. I didn't go back there after the party." She stopped to love on her dog, careful not to let the massive animal knock her off her feet. She was tired.

Opal's eyebrows knitted together, then her eyes focused on Korra's face and neck. "Whose lipstick is that?"

Oh, fuck. Busted.

"Someone I met at the party. No big deal," she lied, trying to play it off nonchalantly as possible. She was too tired to sit up and play Twenty Questions with Opal at 6 a.m. She could feel the pink tint in her cheeks, so she tried to keep her face hidden as she turned to head towards the bathroom to wash up.

"Then why won't you make eye contact with me? Ooh, is it someone I know? Did I introduce you? It was Nola, wasn't it? She's hot, right?"

Korra rolled her eyes. "Yup," she said sarcastically. "You got me, Ope. Totally was Nola."

"No, it wasn't! Tell me who, Korra!"

"Goodnight, Opal. Stop hanging out at Tenzin's so much. You're starting to sound like Ikki."

"Oh, fuck you. Goodnight, Casanova."