"How are you feeling today?" Asami asks as she enters the room, finding Korra sitting cross-legged on her bed and staring out the window. It's been almost two months since the battle with Zaheer and Korra was still recovering. Since their return to Air Temple Island Asami has barely left the Avatar's side. She takes care of everything Future Industries related late at night while Korra sleeps and usually has Ikki or Bolin deliver the paperwork if need be. In all honesty, Asami could hardly compare the company to her injured friend. If it hadn't been something Korra had encouraged her to continue, Asami figured she'd of given it up by now. At least her worry for Korra's health lessened with each passing day, especially now that the girl has started to walk again; even if only for a short time.
"Could we..." Korra stops herself and shakes her head, reconsidering her thoughts. "Never mind."
"What is it, Korra?" Asami asks gently, grabbing some clothes from Korra's dresser.
"I just... well it's been a while since..." The young Avatar picks at the hem of her blanket and Asami can't help but smile. The old Korra was peeking her way through, slowly but surely. "Do you think we could go for a ride on Naga? Even if it's just around the Island; doing nothing is really starting to drive me crazy and I know Naga would like a good run."
"I'm sure we could arrange for a small ride, maybe even a picnic?"Asami suggests, and Korra smiles faintly, answering with a nod. "Here, let's get you dressed first."
It takes an effort before Korra sits in the saddle comfortably, but they manage. And then it's Asami's turn to climb on. As she settles behind Korra, memories of their escape from the Red Lotus at Misty Palms Oasis floods Asami's mind. Her hesitation is brief, and she hopes it was subtle enough that Korra didn't notice. The last thing Asami wanted was for Korra to have that weigh on her mind.
Asami wraps her arms around Korra's waist and signals her ready. Naga takes off at a steady pace, wary of her two riders. The polar bear dog is almost contemplative in her jog, gauging the reaction of her weakened owner. Like the others, the large animal was constantly worried for the health of the young avatar. Understandable considering the bond the two shared. One that made Asasmi slightly jealous. She'd never hope to have a place in Korra's heart like the girl's oldest and dearest friend.
The three make their way around the women's dormitory and around the back of the temple. As they move Asami feels Korra begin to loosen up, though just a bit. As Korra gets better adjusted they begin to pick up pace, the wind blowing through their hair and whipping at their clothes, and are soon joined by two rambunctious Airbender children riding air spheres. Korra laughs as Meelo circles them and makes a face, the sound is the most beautiful thing Asami has heard in the past two months. Oh how she missed that laugh.
The two children follow them around the island, shouting words of encouragement as Korra leans forward, becoming more focused as they race around the island, weaving the grounds tactfully in order to make up for the island's small size. White Lotus guards smile and wave as the group rushes by them. An excited Rohan squeals when he sees them, reaching away from his mother as if trying to join in. Kya nods to the two women as the polar bear dog bounds passed them, and laughs as the children's spheres stirs the wind, whisking an exasperated Pema's hair into the woman's face, causing the tired mother to sigh. This is how it should always be. Asami thinks, tightening her arms around the younger girl's waist. No Red Lotus, no power hungry uncles and fathers, no Equalists, no worries about being good enough; just laughter, a loving family, peace. It's what Korra deserves.
Korra leads them down the path towards the beach. Naga hits the water and it splashes as the run through, following the coastline. Salty water soaks the group's clothing and again Korra is laughing, enjoying the freedom she's been granted. Asami smiles into the Avatar's back. As they reach the small lake just off the coast, Naga slows to a walk and eventually stops at the water's edge. Asami slides off first, then assists Korra.
"Would you two get the basket and lay out the blanket?" She asks the children.
"Sure thing, Pretty Lady!" Meelo shouts and jumps towards Naga, Ikki follows excitedly.
Asami and Korra face the water, Korra's arm slung around Asami's shoulders for support. The engineer notices the Avatar's gaze focused on the sparkling water and nudges her slightly with her shoulder to gain her attention. "You feeling okay?"
"Uh, yeah definitely. It was nice to ride Naga again," she looks towards the polar bear dog. "And I know she's happy about it. Thanks, Asami."
"Of course, Korra. It's nice seeing you happy again -"
"Sit next to me Pretty Lady!" Meelo interrupts, the two women look over at the children who already had the picnic set up. Naga already eating the fish prepared for her.
"Korra next to me!" Ikki patted her seat. Asami smiles at her friend and the two join the Airbending children.
Three hours later the ride back to the dormitories is quiet. The children had rushed off to find their mother shortly after eating, and Naga walks calmly to their destination. Asami notices that Korra has gone solemn, the excitement and happiness gone from her demeanor. She wants to ask, but is well accustomed to Korra's moments of silence. Asami attempts to assist Korra once they reach the building, but the girl shrugs her off and moves to walk in on her own. Feeling dejected, Asami follows silently and wonders if there's something she should say.
"I'm tired," Korra says. Asami looks up to see Korra looking back at her as they walk. "Its been a while since I've been so busy, you know? A nap sounds good right now."
"Of course, Ms. Avatar." Asami comments with a smile. Korra turns away and continues on until they reach her room. As the young Avatar gets herself situated, Asami watches from the doorway, still uncertain.
"You don't have to keep doing this, you know?" Korra says once she's seated in her bed. Her tone causes Asami to look up at her and suddenly Korra's heart is pounding and her throat is closing. She's scared of what's going to be said, terrified that her thoughts might be true. "I felt you hesitate on Naga earlier. You don't have to keep forcing yourself to be around me. You can go back to your work if you'd rather do that.
"Why would you say that?" Asami realizes that this is probably something that has been weighing on the other girl's mind for some time now.
"Come on Asami, I'm not needed anymore, there's no more reason for you to babysit me." Tears threaten Korra's eyes as she speaks. It's too late to take her words back now, but she truly doesn't want Asami to leave, any more than she wants to be a burden.
"Who says you're not needed?"
"Of course I'm not needed!" Korra didn't get it. Why was Asami asking such stupid questions? Why couldn't she just get up and leave and stop making it so hard on her? "I’m too weak to be the Avatar, Tenzin and the other Airbenders are bringing harmony to the nations now, Mako's doing his police thing, and Bolin is back in the Movers. I’m not needed anymore so why haven't you gone back to your life yet? Everyone else has. There's nothing I can give you now.
Tears flow from Korra's eyes and Asami feels a deep anger building up in her along side sorrow for her friend. "Do you really think that's why I've been helping you? Because you're the Avatar?" Asami is back on her feet, trying and mostly failing to hold back the large chaos of emotions flowing through her. How could you think that Korra? "Are you kidding me? Korra, I don't care whether you're the Avatar or not, I don't care about what you have to offer me. I'm here because I care about you. I care about Korra, the sheltered girl from the Water Tribe, and I care about who she is as a person. Not the Avatar. I'm here because we're friends. At least that's what you said all those months ago when I was teaching you to drive. Or where you just saying that?"
Asami's tears fall and now both of them are crying. And Korra struggles to get the words out but she has to. Things can't be like this. "Of course I wasn't just saying that, Asami. We are friends and I care about you too, I just thought... I don't know... That maybe you were sick of me."
Asami climbs onto Korra's bed and takes the other's girls hands in her. "Korra, I could never be sick of you. Okay?" Korra nods and the heiress continues, "There's always going to be another Avatar, someone else to save the world and that's great. But there's only every going to be one Korra and I'm never going to leave your side? Especially just because you're hurt. You're my best friend Korra, and I love you. And Avatar or not, no matter what the rest of the world says or thinks, I need you.
Korra collaps into Asami's chest, soaking the older woman's clothes with her sobs, but Asami doesn't care as she holds Korra tight. They'll make it through this. Together.