The Springs
Chapter information

She's a Pirate



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Release date

September 1st, 2016

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The Chase

The Springs

It was a week of hard work, that much was certain. Keeling and careening the ship took a toll on the men, even if it was all for the greater good. Korra had ensured that there was always plenty of rum, food, and whores, trying to keep the crew as happy as possible.

Still, long hours in the burning sun meant that the crew was spent. She'd decided to take a few days off now that the ship was back in the water and the cargo and guns were back on board. Swimming, relaxing on the ship, the men were free to do as they pleased. Even going into town was allowed, just not all at once. They were split up into two shifts, making sure that there were always enough men on board to sail her if necessary.

Asami was completely through. Her hands were raw, every inch of skin that had been exposed was sunburned, and she smelled... well, like someone who hadn't had a proper bath in a week. Sure, she had dipped in the sea, far away from the crew, but still. The sea wasn't exactly a nice bath with lovely scented oils.

-"Sato," Korra said, drawing her attention from lounging on deck. Contrary to popular belief though, that didn't necessarily mean it was bad.

Asami looked up, a worried frown on her face. "Captain?"

Korra took a good sniff of her when she was close enough, and in spite of her graceful appearance, Asami smelled just as bad as the rest of the crew. "Walk with me," she said. They walked a bit inland, and when the captain was certain they were out of earshot of the crew, she turned around. "What you said yesterday, you still feel that way?"

The heiress quickly raked her mind before the light went on. "You mean about taking a proper bath? Absolutely."

Korra smiled. "Good. Given that you haven't complained at all over the past week, I think I should compensate slightly. I've worked you pretty hard, especially for someone who doesn't want to be here. So here's my proposition: there is a natural spring about two miles inland from here. Fresh water, very secluded. What do you say you join me there?"

"Count me in," Asami said without a second thought.

-"Good. Now don't worry, I've already been through your stuff and packed you clean clothes and such." Even though Asami was displeased, it did mean they could get underway sooner. The captain hadn't been kidding, it really was two miles to the springs. Once they got there though, it was stunning. They had to work their way through some thick underbrushes, and Korra was reluctant to draw her sword and cut them down, giving others the chance to disturb their peaceful moment.

-"Not bad, ey?" Korra said, a smug self-satisfaction in her voice.

It took a while before Asami found her voice again. "It... it's beautiful," she softly spoke, unable to make anything else of it.

The captain gingerly set on unpacking her backpack. "I brought us a few things, soap, clean undies, and of course, a bottle of rum." This was the first item she used, popping the cork and taking a gulp straight from the bottle. "Want some?" she asked, holding out the bottle.

"No, thanks," Asami said, throwing a dirty look at the bottle. Drinking rum from a small glass was one thing, but the way Korra was trying to kill that bottle in record time didn't even come close to that. Instead, she turned around, trying to enjoy the scenery a little bit more.

The springs themselves were walled on all sides by natural cliffs, save for one side that had been overgrown. There was a somewhat larger lake, as well as several smaller pools. On all sides though, there were all sorts of plants growing, ranging from fruiting bushes growing on the ground to the most stunning orchids lining the cliff faces.

When she turned around though, she got a big shock.

Korra had just finished undressing herself entirely, as she was dropping her bindings on her pile of discarded clothes. This sight was both endlessly appealing and frighteningly disturbing. Even though she had seen her captain plenty of times in just her bindings and a pair of pants, this was taking everything to a whole new level. Her breasts were firm and slightly larger than Asami had expected. There was a scar running from the top of the right one running down to a dark nipple, which wasn't really surprising, and neither was the half cog branded on her left pec. Unable to tear her gaze away, she followed the line down the middle of her abs over a scar at a slight angle reaching down to a roughly trimmed patch of black hair between her fantastically defined legs, both of which had scars on them.

-"Enjoying the show?" Korra's snide voice cut through the air, snapping Asami out of her daze and turning her bright red. "What's the matter, Sato?"

"I-I..." Asami stammered, unable to form a coherent thought. Most of her was too distracted to think about the implications this had. To be more precise, the wave of arousal washing over her as the result of seeing a woman so beautiful and yet so damaged. "Sorry," she ultimately muttered, turning around in embarrassment.

-"Fire Nation folk..." Korra muttered in a disappointing scowl before she got in the water. "Aaaaahhhh, that's more like it," she contently sighed. Asami turned around again, glad to see that the water was at least covering her captain up somewhat. "Are you just gonna stand there all day, or are you going to join me?"

This had her doubting. On the one hand, that pool looked amazing, and Asami was in desperate need of a wash. Not only did she smell horrible, but she couldn't remember the last time actually feeling this dirty. Back on Ember Island, she bathed every day, but out here, it was already down to once every three days, not counting the times she dipped in the sea.

On the other hand, she would have to take off all of her dirty clothes and get into the same spring as her captain. The choice between personal hygiene and shame was definitely a difficult one.

-"Sato, if you don't get in quick, I'm gonna be done soon, and then you either come back with me dirty or try to find your way back alone."

Asami took a deep breath. "Fine, but could you... turn around?" Stripping naked was one thing, but while someone was staring at her was a whole other thing.

-"Sure." Korra rolled over, leaning over the spring. "Though I don't know what you're concerned about, you don't have anything I do, outside of a few scars. Plus, I think you look good, you shouldn't be ashamed of your own body."

The heiress just let her talk, seeing how it would probably be easier than if she was interrupting. She quickly undressed herself, before dunking into the spring as well.

Unlike Korra though, her pale skin shone through the water, so she did use her hands to cover up her own modesty.

That being said, the spring was glorious. Asami now saw why Korra liked this place, because this water was the perfect temperature, and judging by its clarity, it was clean. On top of all that, at just the right depth, there was a ridge that functioned as a bench, letting her sink into the water to her collarbones.

Korra turned around again, smiling at the blush on Asami's face. "See, that wasn't so bad," she smirked and took another gulp from the bottle of rum. She held the bottle out to the heiress again, who realized it might be a good way to dull her sense of shame. Asami took a big gulp, the alcohol burning all the way as it sent down her throat. A couple of gulps later though, she was feeling a touch light-headed and didn't feel as awkward as she did before that she was naked in the pool with someone else.

Asami let herself sink into the pool, trying to rinse her hair out as well, but that was going to be more difficult.

-"Need some help there?" the captain asked, though without her trademark sarcastic sneer.

"You'd do that?"

Korra chuckled. "Sure, why not? You deserve a little compensation." She took the block of soap from beside the pool and motioned her to turn around, which Asami did.

Far more gentle than she had been expecting, Korra started washing her hair, very, very thoroughly. After a deep breath and another gulp of rum, Asami had built up enough courage to sate her curiosity. "Captain?"


"Can I ask you something personal?"

Korra chuckled again. "Now seems like an appropriate time for that, wouldn't you say?"

"Does it ever bother you, living this life?"

-"You mean being free, not being dependent on everyone, going and doing as I please? No, it doesn't bother me."

Asami sighed. "No, I mean... the killing, the bloodshed, the thievery, the fact that you're probably not going to live to see thirty, or ever have a marriage or children. Doesn't that bother you?"

The captain stopped brushing her hair. "Sato, I was a slave before all this. If you give me the choice to die a free woman at 30, or die in chains at 60, I'll always choose the former. You don't know what it's like to have your freedom taken like that. To be used and sold, as easily as one would a cow or a horse."

"Don't I? Then what am I doing here on your ship?"

Korra laughed. "You think this is slavery, because you have to work? Let me tell you, this is nothing like that. I have always given you three meals a day, proper shelter, protected you from my men and everyone else. If you were a slave, that little stunt you pulled in Omashu, you'd have been flogged for that. No way would you get to sleep in my cabin, you'd get the shittiest hammock in the bow of the ship, and you'd be eating the scraps. Most importantly, you know my endgame. You know that this is two, maybe three months at most, and do you know what happens then?"

"I get my life back."

-"A life where you're going to be sold off into a loveless marriage with a man twice your age, who you're going to despise. After he fucks you painfully in your bone-dry pussy, because you're gayer than me, he won't get you nice and wet, then you shit out a couple of kids. You'll spend the next 30 years of your life raising them, and finally, when you're old and wrinkled, sitting on a porch, having spent the last ten years trying to convince yourself it was worth it, you might just think back to that crazy pirate captain who had been on to something. That this life, hard and risky as it may be, offers the one thing that you can never have in your world: freedom. You can have sex with women and no one will care, get a tattoo and you'll be cheered on, drink and eat what you want and when you want it. Put it like that, and I'd choose that over your life any day."

The captain sat back on her own ridge and started washing her own hair. "You can wash it out."

Asami complied without speaking, because she was too busy mulling over what Korra had said. There was no way she could know about her father trying to marry her off to Iroh, even though it was extremely likely something like that was going to happen.

Even though she and Iroh got along fine in terms of making polite conversation, marrying him was an entirely different deal. It was possible, maybe even likely, that Korra was right and that it would end in a loveless marriage. Birthing lots of children also wasn't very appealing, given that her mother had died trying to give birth to her stillborn little brother, something that neither she nor her father ever entirely got over.

Then there was the issue of Asami's orientation. Iroh was fairly handsome, but Asami wasn't attracted to him in any way, given how that was mostly reserved for women on her end. Hell, just being in this spring with Korra had her wet in more ways than one, while even imagining Iroh with the best body ever left her dry. No way was that going to play out in her favor if she went back to the Fire Nation. Maybe this wasn't so bad after all.

This thought had her so surprised that she dunked under, accidentally breathing in a large gulp of water. It hurt badly to have it in her lungs and led to another unpleasant (or maybe pleasant) outcome.

-"Sato!" Korra yelled out, pulling her back above the water under her arms. "You okay there?"

Asami tried to speak but was coughing so badly that she couldn't. In response, Korra wrapped her arms around Asami's midsection, squeezing her stomach in tightly. The heiress coughed up most of the water she had breathed in but could still feel some left in there. "I'm okay," she wheezed, even though Korra wasn't the least bit convinced. The fact that she partially said this to get away from her captain's grasp and the very nice sensation of her firm breasts pressing into Asami's back was best left unsaid.

Even though Korra let her go and Asami went back to her shoulders into the water, she continued coughing, and Korra wasn't pleased. "There's still some water left in your lungs. Get out of the water."

The captain had already stood up again and pulled Asami out of the pool as well. She was too focused on the pain and what felt like coughing up her lungs to think about covering her modesty with her arms. The fact that this made Korra briefly raise two appreciative eyebrows, she missed as well.

Asami was laid down on her belly, and Korra pushed down on her back to squeeze the last of the water out. This worked, even though it was painful.

Once Asami stopped coughing, Korra finally got off her back again (literally) and wrapped herself in a towel, handing one to the heiress as well. "Thanks," she said.

-"You gonna be okay there?"

Asami sighed. "I think so. You really knew what to do."

-"I've had my experience with people breathing in water," she bitterly remarked. The captain looked up at the sun, trying to estimate the time. "We should be heading back. The crew will start wondering where we've been."

The heiress quietly nodded and started dressing herself again, this time simply turning her back to the captain. It could be a lot worse, and the fact that she had more rum than was good for her probably also had a lot to do with it.

The long walk back gave Asami the time she needed to think about the implication that had caused her to startle herself so badly that she breathed in the water in the first place: did she really want to go back?

Something people often forget, but throughout history, the most common cause of death among women was giving birth, especially the first few times they did so. This didn't really change until the Industrial Revolution when medicine became a real practice, leaving its more medieval techniques like bloodletting behind.

Also, and this might be more important to avoid flamewars in the comment section: I don't consider Asami's sexuality an 'issue'. In the context of the story and the homophobic worldviews of 17th century high-society however, it's only logical that she does. Like I said in previous chapters, the penalty for it in the Fire Nation here is death, which seems rather steep.

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