|By Lady Lostris||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|Meeting the Avatar|
Meeting the Avatar Edit
A sleek, black, roofless, sporty-looking Satomobile was cleanly parked between two of the more bulky family-style models. The tires had barely come to a stop and the whine of the engine was still audible when a young, elegant woman darted out of the vehicle and rushed over to the edge of the pier, taking in the sight of the magnificent building that was the Pro-bending Arena. Her enthusiastic actions elicited a sigh from the middle-aged man clad in a butler's attire, who crawled out of the passenger's seat of the car. Dee sighed upon looking at Asami. How was he ever supposed to do his job as Miss Sato's butler if the young girl would never let him? She had already cajoled him into letting her drive the car as opposed to be driven, and now, she had jumped out before he had had a chance to open the door for her. He would never understand her fascination with the bending sport. To him, there was nothing interesting about it; it were just a bunch of jocks throwing projectiles at each other. There was nothing elegant about being hit in the stomach by an earth disk, nor was it pleasant to hit by a fire blast. Now figure skating, that was more his thing. And if anyone would ask him, that was a sport worth watching, and it was much more suitable to be attended by someone of Miss Sato's standing. But no one asked him. No one ever asked the butler. He was to go where he was told, and Mister Sato had ordered him to keep an eye on his daughter. So there he was, yet again, accompanying Asami to the arena. He sighed once more.
"Miss Sato, I would hate to rush you, but if we are to catch the start of the match, we better get going. The lines are starting to grow longer, as many people seem to be interested in the finale of these preliminary rounds." Dee did not entirely manage to keep his tone of voice neutral, as he could not help but wonder why so many people enjoyed watching six benders beat each other up. Asami turned to him, a brilliant smile lighting up her lovely features.
"Oh lighten up, Dee. Pro-bending is supposed to be fun."
"Of course it is, Miss." Dee made a slight courtesy, indicating he would go with whatever Asami would say about the sport, earning himself an amused roll of emerald eyes.
"I'll tell you what, why don't you take the car and go see the production of the Peacockswan Lake you've been dying to see, and I'll stay here for the pro-bending match?" Asami stretched out her right arm, offering the keys to the butler.
Dee was frozen in the moment, conflicted about what to do. Asami's offer sounded much more appealing than having to sit through another match, but it was his duty to accompany the young Sato heiress, to make sure nothing happened to her. Mister Sato would fire him instantly if something happened to his baby. The shame that would bring to his family was even unthinkable, as he was the seventh generation of Ba Kees to serve the Satos.
Asami easily picked up on Dee's conflicted emotions, and moved closer to her servant, placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "Dee, I promise that I will not go anywhere. I will commit myself straight to my seat, and afterwards, I will return here, where you can pick me up. Nothing will happen to me, I can handle myself." She jingled the keys in a tempting invitation for Dee to take them. "So what do you say, Dee? You know you want to, you hate pro-bending. This way, we both get what we want, and Dad will never have to find out."
Dee's dark eyes snapped up, staring straight into Asami's. Her last words had hit home. His biggest fear was to get caught by Mister Sato, but his daughter had spoken with reason. They both knew she could handle any possible threat way better than he could ever protect her, and accepting her offer, they would indeed both get what they wanted: a relaxing evening. Before his mind had definitely formed the conclusion that he would take Asami up on her offer, his left hand had already enclosed itself around the jingling keys.
"Very well, Miss Sato," The relief of having escaped the pro-bending boredom was clear in his voice, eliciting an excited laugh from Asami, who promptly hugged him.
"Thank you, Dee! You won't regret doing this!"
"Please, Miss Sato, compose yourself, hugging the staff is not how a Sato behaves," the butler awkwardly freed himself from the hug.
Asami smiled apologetically, though could not contain her excitement of being allowed to attend a match on her own. She liked Dee, even though he could be a true stick-in-the-mud sometimes, but during a pro-bending match, he was just a killjoy, preventing her from losing herself in the game. And losing herself in the game, keeping her mind from overthinking things, was definitely what she needed that evening.
Although Dee tried his best to maintain a serious and professional composure, he could not help but smile faintly at the heiress. "I may trust that you will keep your word and will be waiting for me here in two and a half hours?"
"Of course. I promise that in two and a half hours, I will be right here, safe and sound, waiting for you to take me home as would have been the case if you would have attended the match with me."
The butler eyed Asami warily for a last second, before he turned to open the door to the driver's seat. "Very well, Miss Sato, I will leave you to your... entertainment, and will be back here in exactly two hours to pick you up."
He got into the car and started its engines; the sound nearly drowned out Asami's reassuring promising statement that she would be waiting for him. He backed out of the parking lot, being waved off by an overly excited Asami.
As soon as Dee was out of sight, Asami could not contain herself any longer and jumped in the air, squealing of joy. "Yes! Finally some alone time!" Giggling, she pivoted on her heels, her skirt swirling around her legs, and quickly made her way to the golden building to join the ever growing mass of people.
Korra was simply in awe of the building before her. Sure, she had seen it in from her window at Air Temple Island, but this was the first time she saw it up close, and it was clear that the distance –or the view from inside the bay– did not do it any justice. The structure was simply amazing. For starters, it did not melt as the majority of buildings at the Southern Water Tribe tended to do, but most mesmerizingly, the building was simply radiant, almost literally, as the light of the many spots bounded of the thin, golden layer covering the bricks. Though it was not only the facility that had her toes curling with pleasure, it was everything about the pro-bending craze. The excitement that emanated from the gathered crowd was nearly palpable, and the many vendors were only strengthening that feeling with their many pro-bending memorabilia on sale. She made her way to a bobblehead cart, as she had spotted the most adorable Bolin-bobblehead she had ever seen, ignoring the fact that it was the only Bolin-bobblehead she had ever seen. If she had any money, she would have instantly bought the entire stock, but the truth was that she was as broke as Gommu, even more so, as she did not even own a bush. The only reason she was now standing on the pier before the arena, as opposed to being in the water next to it, was because Bolin had provided her with a ticket, as apparently Toza had come down on the brothers, complaining about having to clean up water trails in the hallway.
Korra tossed a last longing look at a cute Mako-bobblehead and moved on, passing the many food stands, to get in the every growing line. She gladly took in the sight of the many fans falling in around her. The people amazed her. They were so different from the Southern Water Tribesmen. At home, everyone regarded her with some sort of reverence, being the Avatar and all, as well as the daughter of the tribe's ruler, and the niece of the Chief of the entire Water Tribe. While she did enjoy the attention most of the time, it was refreshing to be regarded as just a normal person for once, as just another fan, someone who could make her own decisions. It was interesting to see how a bending sport could gather so many different people in one place. The assembled crowd was made up of people in all forms and sizes, from all ages, from every level of the social ladder. And now, they just all stood in line, side by side, equally excited to see the finale of the preliminary rounds. Perhaps she really should try again to get Tenzin to come watch a match with her, so he could see that not all balance in the city was lost; there was still harmony to be found.
Taking in the colored sea of people, Korra's attention was drawn to a young woman standing four people in line before her. Her attire showed that she was clearly of good standings. The elegant leather jacket that appeared from underneath a curtain of long, raven-black, wavy hair was obviously tailor-made, as it hugged her form and accentuated her female curves perfectly. Her nervous shifting from one leg to the other made her loose skirt dance around her legs, and the fact that she kept brushing her already perfect hairdo with one of her neatly-manicured hands brought a smile to Korra's lips. How amazing was this sport that even a refined débutante like her could be reduced to a trembling bundle of excitement? Tenzin was clearly wrong about pro-bending.
Although she was making good time, the line moved excruciatingly slow for Korra's ever impatient temper, and if it would not have been for that girl, she would have opted for a window-entrance a long time ago. Without doing anything in particular, the young woman had managed to draw the attention of a lot of young, eligible gentlemen, and was now tied up in what seemed to be an entertaining discussion with a Platypus Bear fan; judging by the red and white colored banner that she had purchased, she was rooting for the Fire Ferrets. The young woman just intrigued her. Korra loved being the Avatar, the master of all elements, but she would be lying if she said that she had never wondered before what her life would be like as a normal person, as a girl who had been allowed to have friends, allowed to date. Training was her life, and the Order of the White Lotus had made sure that it was all there was to her life. She was good at what she did, and she loved fighting, but sometimes, she wished she would have had someone her own age to talk to; that would have been nice. Sure, she had Naga, and she loved her big, white fluffball, but the animal did not talk. And even being allowed to keep her had been a battle, as the White Lotus considered the polar bear dog to be an irrelevant distraction. It had only been due to her mother's intervention that she had been allowed to keep what was now her best friend, as the elders had caved for the argument that the animal would teach Korra how to care for another living being, how to be compassionate and responsible.
Korra shook her head at the memory, well aware that as such, she had never really learned how to interact with people her own age, let alone boys. She glanced up at the young woman. Now she, she was clearly well-versed in what was proper social protocol, so Korra eyed her carefully, taking in her every move as if she were studying an opponent, trying to decipher their fighting style. However, the more she observed the elegant woman, the more she realized that she could never pull off what the girl did so effortlessly. The soft sound of the girl's laughter caused the Avatar to smile. Oh no, she could not imagine herself being that composed under a boy's attention. She was no stranger to it, as she was well aware of how appealing her body was to the people of the other sex, but it seemed that every time she attempted to strike up a conversation with a guy she liked –or at least found appealing– she ended up drifting into more rough conversation about bending and fighting. This, so it turned out, was not exactly the kind of talk the boys at the Southern Water Tribe wanted to hear. It was just something about strong women being intimidating to men; she shrugged, rolling her eyes. But who knew, perhaps Republic City could surprise her even more than it already had. As the line pulled up at the ticket booths, she looked at the girl again, who casually flipped her hair into perfection and smiled in delight at the guy who checked her ticket, and chuckled. Perhaps she could pick up more skills in the city than just the art of airbending; it would most definitely be nice to have social skills that were more refined than those of a sea prune.
"Oh wow, access to the players' locker room! You're one lucky gal. I hear the view from there is amazin'." The thick city accent of the guy who had just checked her own ticket for its authenticity made Korra turn to him and smile.
"Yeah, it sure it!"
"Well, have fun at the game, miss." He handed her back the ticket and let her pass.
If the atmosphere outside of the arena had already been loaded with excitement, then it was simply contagious inside the building. Enthusiastic cries and supportive chants for the two teams could be heard from every direction, as the majority of fans made their way to the large double doors, directly opposing the main entrance. Korra, however, weaved her way through the mass to get to a much smaller door at the left, the words "players only" carved neatly into the wood. As she showed her ticket to yet another doorman, she glanced over her shoulder at the other fans, and smiled as she suddenly spotted the tall young woman she had been observing before; she was just granted access to the V.I.P. lounge, making Korra wonder who she was. As the woman took back her ticket from the bouncer, she inclined her head to match the gesture of the man, who was clearly pleasantly surprised to receive such a sign of respect from an obviously high-standing member of society. He gladly stepped aside and opened the heavy, ornate, mahogany doors for her, and the woman vanished from Korra's view behind them.
"Everything seems to be in order, miss." The gruff voice of her own doorman made Korra focus again on her own actions, and it spoke directly to her excitement as she realized fully well that in mere seconds, she would be emerged in pro-bending again. The man inclined his head to her after returning her ticked and moved to let her pass. Korra eagerly bounced passed him, though remembering the actions of the young débutante, she suddenly stopped in her tracks and turned to the man. Folding her hands in a traditional Water Tribe sign of respect, she bowed to him.
"Thank you very much, good sir, have a pleasant evening yourself." She gave the man a last brilliant smile, pleased with herself that she could at least copy that part of that young woman's behavior, and darted out of there, nearly running down the hall in unconstrained excitement.
Dumbfounded, the man stared after her, mimicking the words "sir?" in wonder. However, by the time the door clicked shut behind him, a smug smile took over, and he felt good about himself.
The V.I.P. loges were positioned perfectly in the middle of the stadium, providing the best seats of the house to those capable of paying for it. The private rooms were oozing luxury, catering to every need the high-class could have. However, all Asami ever wanted was for her to catch a game from the stands, wedged between the other fans, having her senses assailed with the smell of popcorn while holding a greasy corndog in one hand and a cup of cheap beer in the other. She wanted to participate in a wave, shout profanities at the other team with her fellow fans, and shove back the burly guy taking advantage of the closeness to feel her up. She wanted to breathe the game, rather than just spectate it from the confined solitude of the V.I.P. loge.
If there ever was the need for her to be swept of her feet in crazy excitement, it was that night. The relative silence in her private quarters unnerved her. She did not want to be alone with just her thoughts, as they were what got her in this mess in the first place. She sighed, desperately trying to keep her memories from bubbling to the surface. She tapped impatiently with one of her leather boots, the rhythmic thumping resonating loud through the deserted room. She combed her long hair to fall over her right shoulder and leaned forward on the balustrade. Propping her head up lazily on her left arm, she ruffled her fingers on the railing in mild irritation. Urch, come on already, start! We came here to see pro-bending. I don’t want to see half-naked girls prance around the stage doing flips and turns. The wolf whistles that floated in through the open balcony, indicating not everyone shared her thought, made her roll her eyes and groan. The wait was excruciatingly long, and the normally very composed Sato heiress felt herself slip to another time and place as the rhythmic twirling of the cheerleaders’ ribbons slowly shifted to the colorful banners that were hung before city hall.
As the sole heir to a multi-million yuan company, Asami Sato was used to all the glitter and glamour that the city had to offer. The attention from paparazzi and reporters just came with the territory. She had learned from a young age that the trick was to throw the press a bone in order to prevent them from digging through your garden for the entire carcass. She barely even noticed the flashes of the cameras these days; they had become part of her everyday life whenever she went out. She gave a generic answer to a journalist of the Republic City Times and made her way to the front of the crowd that had gathered before City Hall. Her father smiled heartily at the bouncer and they were both allowed access to the privileged area before the masses, from where they had an excellent view of the entire stage. She did not particularly like coming to these formal press-covered occasions, preferring the solitude of her garage with her favorite car and the comforting weight of a wrench in her hand, but her father had made it very clear that it was their duty as Satos to be present at the Avatar’s introduction to the city. Awaiting the officials’ arrival –and partially to fight the boredom– Asami smoothed out her already perfect dress, the soft fabric flowing like silky water underneath her manicured hands. The fashion magazines would report the next day that Asami Sato had dressed for the occasion in her trademark stunningly elegant manner. Her long, semi-waving hair was partially pulled up, being kept in place by a golden clip with the Future Industries logo embedded in it. The black dress was embroidered with subtle, yet perfectly detailed flower patterns in red.
Asami’s attention was drawn to the speaker on stage by a soft cough in the microphones, which screeched in response. The girl on stage was obviously not used to all the media attention that she was receiving, as her voice trembled nervously when she introduced herself as Korra, the new Avatar. However, her shaky tone was nothing compared to the overwhelmed attitude she projected when she let her gaze drift over the crowd.
The Sato heiress found herself frozen at the sight. She could not help but think that those brilliant azure eyes were the most beautiful she had ever seen; the way they contrasted with the permanently tanned skin was mesmerizing. The feeling was only strengthened when the Avatar flashed the gathered citizen’s an awkward, yet honest smile as she admitted to the reporters that she did not exactly had a plan for the city yet. The heiress thought Korra to be simply stunning; that cheeky grin, those big blue eyes, the honest expression. Asami’s eyes traveled down Korra’s elegant neck to her body-hugging top. The contrast between the Avatar’s outfit and her own could not have been greater, but she could not imagine the girl to wear anything else than the loose, casual clothes; they fit her in more ways than one. Her eyes trailed further over the well-trained body of the young woman, and she felt something stir inside her. As she looked back at Korra’s moving mouth, deaf to what the girl was actually saying, she felt something flitter through her chest.
The clapping and howling of the crowd shocked Asami back to the present, cutting short the memory of when she had first laid eyes on Korra. Just like that day, she had been completely oblivious to the events occurring before her, her mind too occupied with thoughts about the Water Tribe girl. She chided herself for having drifted off towards images of Korra. She could not, should not be thinking like that, that was simply not who she was. She was Asami Sato: rich, famous, and one of the most eligible bachelorettes in the city. She was not Asami Sato: rich, famous, and gay. She rubbed her temples in an attempt to sweep away the images of the Avatar, reasoning with herself that she had just admiring the Korra’s outfit and fit physique, nothing more.
The referee’s whistle, signaling a fault, chirped as a welcomed distractor, helping her to silence the small voice that kept chiming she was lying to herself. Confused and annoyed about where her thoughts were leading her, Asami erected her slumped form and focused her attention on the reason she had come to the arena that night: Mako. She let herself be enthralled by the firebender’s bobbing and weaving as he avoided the barrage of attacks thrown at him in his trademark cool under fire pro-bending style. She had to admit that the young man looked handsome out there on the field. Even in the red and white uniform, his trained muscles were apparent. As she watched him flex through his knees and snap up his left leg in a powerful spinning kick, she felt her lips curl into a delightful smile. There was just no way she could fancy Mako and be into the Avatar at the same time . . . right? The thought crept into her mind as her eyes kept shifting from the firebender’s lean and appealing form to that of Hasook’s replacement; it was like her body knew something that her mind had yet to grasp. Asami gave up her futile attempts to refocus on Mako and just intently looked at the stumbling newbie. She could no longer honestly deny that she was not drawn to the strength that emanated from the waterbender with every move. Although every action was fueled with power, there was a certain elegance to it that made Hasook’s replacement so interesting.
Asami’s eyes grew wide when the waterbender moved two earth discs as protection for an incoming triple-elemental attack from the Platypus Bears. She gasped for air in unison with the rest of the stadium when Hasook’s replacement revealed herself to be Korra.
The Sato heiress reeled back, her mind whirling in confusion and fear. This was not good. Korra was exactly the person she wanted to forget about. Her mind froze over and an iron grip tightened itself around her heart. Time passed her by unnoticed, as it took the buzzer of the start of the third round to snap her back to the present. Her mind thawed as a raging panic swamped over her. She had been eying Korra that entire evening; even without meaning to, even without knowing so, her unconscious self was drawn to Korra. The exact meaning of that realization scared her. Her heartbeat ruffled through every fiber of her being. She needed to go, and she needed to go now. Kick-started by fear, Asami jumped up and hurried toward the door. With her hand already on the doorknob, she heard the crowd gasp again. As fast as her panic-induced fear had been to get her to move, so fast were her heart-induced feelings to get her to stop and retrace her steps. She felt something change inside her upon consciously seeing Korra again; if someone would ever ask her what the moment was that changed it all, that would be it.
With the bending brothers tied down in a corner, Korra had been pushed back to the third zone where she was exposed to the relentless assaults of fire and earth. However, unlike before, none of them seemed to faze her; they all whizzed past her. The Avatar had evolved from an immobile caterpillar slug to a graceful butterfly swan, now moving over the arena with the elegance of a prima ballerina.
Mesmerized, Asami could not look away. In her eyes, Korra was no longer walking; she was just floating, weaving herself between the attacks like a leaf in the wind. Though as with everything, appearance can be deceiving, and the moment the opportunity presented itself, Korra’s smooth, evasive movements changed to strong, aggressive counterattacks. Asami had never seen such a marvelous turn of events and, in that single moment, the Sato heiress could not remember why she had ever wanted to leave. With eyes overflowing with admiration, she watched Korra, how she knocked the last Platypus Bear player off the arena, how she jumped in celebration, and how she eventually left the playing field. However, moments never last, and reality came crashing through Asami’s bubble where only she and Korra existed. The heiress sighed as confusion reconquered her thoughts, spreading quickly through the rest of her being. Time crept by, though for Asami, it stood still, frozen on images of the Avatar. She sighed again and looked up. Realizing the entire stadium was deserted, her gaze traveled to clock on the wall of her V.I.P. loge, which alerted her that she had been standing there for well over half an hour and thus had only twenty minutes left to make her way back to the rendezvous-point where Dee would be awaiting her. Suddenly very tired, she moved slowly toward the exit, frustration over her own feelings wearing her down.
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|Another Heart Calls|