Asami pulled her hair into a low ponytail and started to pull on her leather gloves. She flexed her fingers in the soft material before she snapped the buttons down. One of the other drivers held out her helmet, which she slid on. With the visor flipped up she smiled at her girlfriend, even if Korra couldn’t see it fully, she’d hopefully see it in her eyes. Asami took a breath and started the engine.
The motorcycle roared to life below her. She marveled at the machine, this dream finally a reality. At least, for now. This prototype needed a road test, and she didn’t want anyone else to experience the first ride but her.
Asami gave Korra a thumbs up and saw her girlfriend return the gesture. She flipped the visor down and took a deep breath. With steady hands she started her ride, easing into the acceleration.
It felt good to cruise down the racetrack. She kept going through her routine tests keeping her pace more casual than she preferred. Two and a half proper oval laps and Asami reached the straightaway section before she could move to the other routes of the track. She lowered herself closer to the body of the bike and let loose on the throttle. The bike handled the change with ease, hurtling down the track. Asami leaned into the first turn, deciding to finally see what all her research and hard work accomplished.
Each turn Asami leaned into, she found herself more and more satisfied with her work, and those of the others on the project. She grinned, increasing her speed in a long stretch before the final turn. Asami leaned again and she felt it before it happened. The bike slipped away and she found herself sliding on the racetrack. She braced herself and slid to a stop a short distance from her bike.
Asami waited a moment, taking stock of how she felt. She sat up and looked at the bike, scraped up with some of its pieces littering the track. The pace car that followed her brought her back to the start of the race track while the technicians picked up the bike and cleaned the road of debris.
“Have you lost your mind?”
Two strong arms pulled Asami into a hug only a moment after she stepped from the pace car. Asami winced into the contact, already feeling sore and knowing how much worse it would be the following day. She looked to Korra who seemed to be checking her racing leathers for tears or damage that would indicate injury. “All things considered, that went pretty well.”
“Well? Asami. You crashed. What were you thinking?” Korra held Asami at arm’s length.
Asami stared at Korra, noticing how tense the athlete’s shoulders were. “I was thinking how this happened. Which might be the design or user error. I’ll have to analyze the footage.” She waited a moment, still studying Korra before she continued. “I also thought how worried you’d be, but I’m fine, I promise. This kind of stuff happens sometimes in testing a new prototype.”
“It’s reckless. You’re the CEO and can pay someone to do this, Asami. You can’t run the company and be splattered on the road.”
“Kor. I won’t have someone else do something I’m unwilling to do just ‘cause I’m the CEO.” Asami moved her hands to Korra’s biceps. “This is my project, and the division I fought for. I need to see this through.”
“You can see it through from the sidelines, Asami. You don’t need to be an adrenaline junkie chasing some high.” Korra pulled away and started walking to the exit.
Asami watched Korra before she headed to the locker room to change. Her chest felt tight as she hung up the racing leathers and tugged on her business attire. She double checked that the footage got uploaded to the Sato servers before she headed out to the parking lot. Korra leaned against the car, arms crossed as her eyes seemed to be looking out across the landscape. Asami slowed her pace, taking in her girlfriend with the serene backdrop before them. She worried that Korra wouldn’t be out here, that her girlfriend fled the track and returned home without her.
Seeing the athlete like that reminded Asami of the last six months since the accident. They recuperated together, falling into a sense of normalcy that felt unbelievably right. Things improved, even more, when Asami suggested that Korra move in. She reasoned to the athlete over dinner that they were always together, and Korra spent most of her time at the apartment anyway. It all made sense. Asami looked to Korra, ready to counter any of her girlfriend’s points. Korra’s bright eyes were focused on Asami, as it seemed the athlete was biting her lip to hide a grin.
“What?” Asami blinked at Korra.
Korra shook her head, a small smile slipped across her features. “You look like you’re ready for a debate.”
Asami’s felt her face grow warm. “I want this, and I have all the evidence to prove this is good for us.”
The smile on Korra’s face grew that proper lopsided grin that still made Asami’s knees weak even sitting in a chair. “You don’t have to convince me, Asami. I want it too.” She reached over and ran her hand over Asami’s arm, feeling the skin that used to be hidden under a cast. Korra stood and pressed her lips to Asami’s before she walked across the apartment. “But if you want to share your evidence, I’ll be in our room.”
Asami remembered that night, and every one after that once they moved Korra’s things in. She recalled the nightmares when Korra would wake up in a cold sweat next to her. Those nights when she’d stir from Korra attempting to stifle her sobs into her hands, Asami would sit up and hold Korra for as long as she needed. She knew Korra would take the accident harder than her. Asami stayed up with her girlfriend through the bad nights and played hooky during the day to sleep with Korra in her arms.
“I can drop you off at the field on the way back if you want.” Asami reached the car and stopped by Korra to lean against the hood too. She kept her focus on the athlete.
“That would be best. Gotta start the pre-game rituals.” Korra pushed herself off from the car and climbed in.
Asami followed suit and got them headed back to the city. She glanced at Korra, noting her girlfriend’s fingers were making quick work of the skin on the inside of her right thumb. Without a second thought, Asami reached over and took Korra’s left hand. She squeezed it and kept her focus on the road.
They reached campus and Korra hesitated before getting out of the car.
“Have a good day at work.” Korra disembarked and headed toward the stadium without looking back.
Asami watched the athlete walk away, wishing to feel Korra’s lips on hers in a goodbye kiss, or at least to see those beautiful blues. Releasing a deep sigh, Asami sped off to Future Industries. She made it there in record time and up to her office.
“Miss Sato, your messages from this morning are on your desk. The track techs called and said that they’ll have the bike delivered to the workshop by this afternoon. And the meeting rooms are set up for the necessary appointments.” The secretary, formerly her father’s and now hers, smiled at Asami from behind her desk.
“Thank you, Tenni.” Asami headed for her office, her eyes pausing on the door to her father’s former space. For as long as she could remember, they shared this floor with only the foyer and waiting area between them with the secretary. She pushed open the wood door and left it ajar as she walked to her desk. Asami skimmed the messages and sat in her chair.
Her mind wandered to the racetrack, the crash, the accident six months ago, and the worry in Korra’s blue eyes. Asami slouched in her seat. Korra’s words rang through her head, her girlfriend’s behavior justified given her experiences, even if Asami felt the overall anger and concern was irrational. She looked at the picture of them on her desk. The image of the two of them dressed for the gala with Asami pressing a kiss to Korra’s cheek. Kya gave her the photo in a beautiful engraved wood frame that represented the Southern Water Tribe. Asami kept it as the only personal effect in her office of significant importance.
Asami looked up at the voice, seeing her secretary stand in the doorway. “Sorry, Tenni. What is it?”
The woman cleared her throat. “The contractors are here to talk about the remodel of this floor.”
“Right. Send them in.” Asami sat up, straightening her blouse and blazer. The men entered and laid out their plans, letting her keep a roll of the schematics to examine and return with her changes and notes. As present, as she was physically at the meeting, her mind was elsewhere. She moved between her different appointments and engaged when she felt like it. Her eyes kept returning to the planner on her desk when she wasn’t talking. The handwriting wasn’t hers, but she recognized the shape of the letters. Korra’s note and accompanying stick figure doodle brought a smile to Asami’s face.
Someone cleared their throat, which made Asami look up.
“Gentlemen. As much as I would like to continue this conversation, I, unfortunately, need to cut our appointment short.” Asami got up as she looked at the clock on the corner of her computer screen. She calculated how long it would take for her to drive to the field, estimating traffic and routes to take. “You can reschedule with Tenni. I promise you’ll have my undivided attention.”
“Miss Sato, we need your approval on this project if we’re going to--”
“You can do a proper presentation to me on a different day. My girlfriend has a big match today, and I don’t intend on missing it.” Asami nodded to them both and walked from her office. She collected her purse and keys from Tenni, who dutifully stood with them at the ready.
Asami made it to the university in no time with how skillful she weaved her car around slow drivers and down streets. She didn’t want to think about the tickets she should have collected given her driving habits. Finding a parking spot, she showed her season pass and headed for the seats she occupied with Korra’s family. Asami stopped at the railing, taking a look down at the field as the athletes warmed up. Her eyes found Korra jogging with her teammates as they completed passes and stretched.
Korra must have felt Asami’s gaze on her because suddenly their eyes met. They stared and the athlete grinned and waved.
Asami smiled back and blew a kiss. She watched as Korra pretended to catch it and finally succeeded. The gesture made Asami giggle before she turned and headed for Korra’s family.
“There she is. Korra said you might not make it.” Kya smiled at Asami, giving her a hug, as they all settled into the stadium seats.
“Sorry. I overbooked my schedule.” Asami sat next to the older woman, her usual place to cheer for her girlfriend. She felt like the oddball out in her business clothes and not in some form of RCU attire.
“Hey, egghead! Forget something?”
Asami turned at the nickname only to catch a shirt to her face. She pulled the item down to see it was Korra’s away game jersey.
Opal slid in next to Asami with Bolin hot on her heels. “Korra figured since you were coming from the office you wouldn’t have time.”
“Thanks, Op.” Asami pulled off her blazer and tugged the jersey on over her blouse. She sat back into her seat as the players started the usual opening proceedings.
Everyone stood during the kickoff. The whole game was the RCU crowd screaming. Asami knew her voice would be hoarse, and she didn’t care. Each time Korra got a pass, Asami got louder with Korra’s family. She cheered as the RCU Rebels scored a goal in the second half, joining the stadium in celebration. Korra and the team kept up their momentum, managing to defend their goal and keep the Black Quarry University Boars at bay. The final minutes of stoppage time ticked down and everyone on and off the field celebrated.
Asami stood with Korra’s family, watching the team celebrate together by their bench. She could see Korra hugging her teammates and giving high-fives. And then the athlete turned, and their eyes locked through the crowd. Asami smiled at Korra, and she watched her girlfriend grin, lopsided and full at her. Korra started to pull away from the team and ran over to where Asami stood at the railing.
It took the athlete no time to climb up and hop over so that she stood in front of Asami.
“You made it.” Korra grinned at her.
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Asami smiled and pulled Korra into a kiss and then a hug. She held Korra at arm’s length and Korra mirrored her.
“Asami, listen. I’m sorry.”
Asami blinked, not expecting the apology.
Korra took a breath as she kept her focus on her girlfriend. “I’m sorry for this morning, and freaking out. You know what you’re doing better than anyone. And I trust you. I trust you to be safe to see this through, and be the amazing CEO that I know you are.” The athlete reached over and put a hand on Asami’s cheek. “I might not like that you drive fast, and like all these adrenaline heavy things. But it’s who you are, and I wouldn’t ask for you to change.” She leaned in and Asami felt Korra’s lips on her own in a gentle kiss.
Asami smiled at Korra when they separated. “I want to apologize too. I should have--”
“Keep it in the bedroom you Southie fucking fa-” A man passed by them, grumbling.
Asami and Korra both stared after him for a moment. She recognized him as the same one that always shouted racist comments whenever Korra got the ball, despite her being on the team he rooted for.
“Excuse you!” Asami started to walk after him. “Hey! I’m talking to you.” She grabbed his shoulder to turn him around, which he did at her aggressive tug. “Do you have a problem with me?”
The man glared at Asami. “Just ‘cause you like Southie doesn’t mean the rest of us have to. And no one wants to see you being a slut out here.”
Asami’s eyes narrowed. She took a step forward when two strong arms wrapped around her and put her over a shoulder.
“Thank you for watching the game, sir. Have a good rest of your night.” Korra started walking with Asami being carried like a sack of potatoes.
“Korra. Put me down!” Asami struggled to get free, but only got a light smack on the back of her thigh.
“Not yet, babe.” Korra reached the lockers and set Asami down.
Asami glared at Korra. “What’re you doing? I need to go beat that guy’s face in.” She moved to step past her girlfriend but got blocked by Korra’s arm.
“Babe. It’s okay.” Korra grabbed Asami’s shoulders. “You don’t need to go defend my honor.” Her thumbs rubbed in slow circles as the two stared at each other. “Actually, you shouldn’t. ‘Cause the CEO of Future Industries throwing punches will be bad no matter your intentions.”
“Korra. He’s been awful all season calling you every name imaginable. And now he has the audacity to say it to your face.” Asami pouted and crossed her arms. “Plus my lawyer could probably bury him if I did throw a punch.”
Korra chuckled. “That’s not the point, babe.” The athlete moved her hands down to Asami’s elbows. “I appreciate that you want to defend me against racist assholes like that guy. I’d love to see you do it. But we both know that’s not going to solve the problem.”
Asami shrugged, pout still on her face. “I think it would solve things.”
“I’ve dealt with racists for most of my life here. And you know what I realized?” Korra paused as if waiting for Asami’s response.
Asami nodded for Korra to continue.
“That they’re miserable, terrible people. And they don’t deserve an ounce of my time or a thought in my mind.” Korra shifted her hands to Asami’s shoulders. “They will live a miserable life and blame me and anyone different from them for their own life’s shortcomings.” Korra shrugged and put her hands on Asami’s cheeks. “I could spend my whole life fighting these assholes, but it won’t change their bigoted thoughts. So I’m going to live my life the way I want because they don’t matter to me.” She squeezed Asami’s cheeks, making her have a fishy face. Korra pecked Asami’s lips and the two laughed as they separated.
“We should do something to make it better for everyone.” Asami smiled at her girlfriend.
“We’ll figure it out.” Korra took Asami’s hand and squeezed. “Can we go home now?”
Asami frowned. “No offense, babe. But you need to shower before I’ll let you in my car.”
Korra gasped and put a hand on her chest. “Excuse you! You won’t let sweaty me in your car, but you’ll let me with a bloody uniform in there. After all, we’ve been through, too.”
Asami rolled her eyes. She grabbed the front of Korra’s jersey and dragged her into a deep kiss. The athlete groaned against her and Asami released Korra’s lips to chuckle. “That sure shut you up.”
“That’s cheating.” Korra pecked Asami’s nose and then stepped back. “Fine. I’ll go shower and meet you outside.” The athlete put her hand on the locker room door behind her. “Try not to punch anyone while I’m gone.”
“No promises.” Asami grinned and watched Korra disappear into the locker room.
Asami lay back and felt the bed dip as Korra settled next to her. Her legs still felt shaky and her breathing came out ragged. She took a few deep breaths to calm her racing heart.
“Better?” Korra covered them both with the duvet and put an arm over Asami.
“That’s one way to distract me.” Asami sighed and felt Korra trace circles over her stomach.
Korra propped herself up with her other arm. “Do I need to keep going?”
Asami laughed. “No. It’s a bit too soon for round four or whatever we’re on.”
“We’re only on round three, but thank you for the extra credit.” Korra chuckled as she settled her hand next to Asami’s navel.
Asami could feel Korra’s eyes on her as she continued to stare at the ceiling of their bedroom. She kept dissecting every piece of conversation with her father from dinner. He wasn’t trying hard enough to accept her or Korra, the subtle comments proof of that.
“Hey, nerd. What’s going on up here?” Korra nodded in the direction of Asami’s head. “Talk to me, babe.”
Asami sighed and turned on her side to face Korra. “I can’t believe he’d come in here after the last six months, and continue to dismiss us. He kept acting like you were a college roommate, not my girlfriend.”
Korra snickered. “College roommates would not do what we just did.”
Asami smiled and looked at her girlfriend. “You’re right.”
“So then why are you letting him get to you, babe?”
“He lost everything , Korra. And he’s going to act like the board didn’t vote him out and make me CEO. Make me, his twenty-two-year-old daughter, CEO of a multi-billion yuan company and its employees.” Asami shifted and put her face into the pillow and muffled her groan into it.
“‘Sami. Listen.” Korra ran her fingers through Asami’s hair.
Asami extended her groaning.
“Okay, miss drama queen. Listen.” Korra laughed and pressed her lips against Asami’s neck as she started to move her fingers to all the spots that made Asami squirm.
“Don’t you dare, Kor.” Asami caught Korra’s hands in her own as she turned to keep her girlfriend at bay.
“Then listen to me, you goober.” Korra smiled as Asami settled down and propped herself up on one elbow. “Four months ago you became CEO. Your dad was disgraced. You don’t hear from him because you’re too busy running a company, graduating, and being a badass.”
Asami smiled at the list of accomplishments. A lot happened since the accident, and she knew she should count her good fortune.
“And then a month ago he comes groveling to you from whatever rock he crawled out from to apologize.”
“He doesn’t deserve my forgiveness, my time, our hospitality, nothing.” Asami jumped in before Korra could continue, and saw her girlfriend sigh. “Sorry.”
“Babe. Your dad might be an asshole, and he might always be that. But he’s still your dad .”
Asami looked at Korra, studying the athlete’s face. “He’s been horrible to us, Korra. I don’t want to give him the time of day.”
Korra kept her gaze on Asami. “He’s all the family you have left. And I know you miss him. Even if you hate him right now, you miss tinkering with him, or pouring over an engineering problem.” The athlete fell silent for a moment as if letting her words sink in.
Asami sighed, reached over and put a hand on Korra’s cheek, tracing the scar with her thumb. “Why do you have to be right?”
Korra chuckled, giving Asami a small lopsided grin. “Because I’m looking at all this from the outside.”
Asami stared at Korra, thinking about how far they came since they first collided on campus. How those eyes that were bluer than blue and the person they belonged to became her everything. “Marry me.”
The athlete blinked, her eyes wide. “What?”
“Marry me, Korra.” Asami turned on her side so she was facing her girlfriend.
“Are you serious?”
Asami laughed. “Yes.”
Korra’s grin spread across her face. She closed the space between them and kissed Asami. “Of course.”