Korra exhaled in a short huff and put more weight into her arm, bracing herself against the table. Ming did the same across from her, his eyes deceptively calm and steady, and when his grip tightened on her hand, vying to tilt her wrist over, she responded by flexing and grasping tighter herself.
“So,” Ming started, and Korra let her focus shift from their arms to his face for a brief second. “Whoever... wins. What do you think they should get?”
“A prize?” Korra asked sarcastically, and Ming chuckled at her tone.
“A prize,” he agreed.
“I thought a fine and upstanding sportsman would be in it, you know... for the sport.”
“A prize makes things... interesting.”
Korra snorted. “‘Interesting’.”
Ming nodded, and tilted his elbow a bit more, causing her arm to dip ever so slightly closer to the table. “Winner gets... a favour.”
“A favour,” Korra repeated, letting out another low breath.
“A favour,” Ming agreed.
“I,” Korra grit out, flexing her arm and pushing back until their arms were perfectly vertical again, “already restored your bending.” She jerked her chin to Shaozu and Tahno. “All three of you.”
“A different favour,” Ming said.
Korra watched him, his face; the quirk of his lips in a smirk, the one errant strand of hair that hung loose across his left eye, the only sign of dishevelment or strain. She glanced briefly at Shaozu and Tahno, silence watching their wrestling match in silence, at Bolin whining and biting his nails, then back to Ming, still waiting for an answer. “All right,” she said. “Winner gets a favour.”
Ming chuckled. “I would say let’s shake on it, but—”
Korra squeezed her hand as hard as she could and, with all her weight, all the force she could muster and had held at bay until now, slammed Ming's hand down into the table.
Bolin let out an excited whoop and lunged at her in a hug. “You did it!”
“Hey, I told you,” Korra said, laughing. “No one beats me at arm wrestling. Well... except maybe Beifong. Sometimes. But other than that, no one.”
She caught Tahno laughing under his breath as Ming hissed through his teeth and slowly, gingerly shook out his hand. He flexed and clenched his fingers, circling his wrist, and said, “Remind me to ask for a rematch some time.”
Korra grinned. “If I feel like it.”
Ming shook his head. “All right. What do you want?”
“Tell me...” She thought for a moment, sitting up in the chair, then said, “What the best tea shop in the city is.”
Ming blinked and stopped circling his hand back and forth. “Really?”
“The very best,” Korra said.
The room was silent, even Bolin, as Ming watched her. He narrowed his eyes thoughtfully then motioned to Shaozu and Tahno and said, “Get me some paper and a pen.”
Shaozu was the one to dash off first, returning with what was definitely expensive paper and a very expensive, very fancy, jade encrusted pen. Ming wrote an address on it, then briefly outlined what Korra assumed were directions, and handed her the sheet. “Here. They're a direct supplier, not a merchant shop, but they will do custom orders... if you know who to ask for.”
Korra looked at the address, not far from Kwong's Cuisine, and raised an eyebrow. “So who do I ask for?”
“Jia Lam. She’s the head of the company.” Ming levelled her with a curious look. “They can get the best tea in the United Republic and the Earth Kingdom.”
“That’ll be perfect,” Korra said, smiling.
“If I might ask...” Ming stood, pushing back his chair, and Korra stood with him, folding the paper carefully and tucking it into a pocket. “What do you want it for?”
“Ohh...” Korra said, glancing at him out of the corner of her eye. “I need a gift for Asami's birthday.”