|More from AvatarAang7||Drama||M||Please do||Irregular|
February 20th, 2017
The journey back to Omashu started out quite calm, much to Asami's surprise. Some of the slaves were in bad shape, and Korra decided it was best to have them aboard the Aurora, where there were better facilities to help them recover. There were also a few that wanted off the Rhino, so Korra let them and took them in her own ship. To even it out, some of the pirates were tasked with teaching the former slaves how to sail, including Mako to serve as the slaver's captain for the time being.
Asami expected them to clash, but miraculously, nothing noteworthy really happened. There was a little bit of friction in the crew, but it was ironed out soon enough. Heck, there was some rotation in the crew anyway, so it didn't really matter that there were a few new members.
Over dinner, she watched as both the original crew and the former slaves laughed and drank together, almost like they'd known each other for years. They swapped stories of what had happened to them, fights they fought, women they bedded. That most of them were either lies or wildly exaggerated didn't really matter.
Then her eye fell on the captain again, who simply sat among the men, laughing and drinking with them. The longer she was here, the more she realized that her preconceived notion of pirates being blood-thirsty savages solely focused on gold was simply wrong. The way these men freed those slaves and cared for them, sometimes literally taking the clothes from their backs so they could be covered as well showed a display that made Asami question who the savages really were.
This extended even more to her captain, who was leading the whole operation in an effort to make it work. Of course, Korra was more invested in this than pretty much anyone aboard the ship, but she did risk it, and she didn't gain anything from it.
Then of course there was the matter of her father. What Korra had shown her Asami knew to just be the tip of the iceberg. She knew conditions aboard slave ships weren't brilliant, but this was far beyond anything she had imagined. The Rhino had set off from Senlin five days before she was seized, and in that time, 11 of 93 slaves aboard had already died. That's how poor living conditions were.
And what kept playing through her mind was that it was her father who was responsible for all this suffering. She'd hear him say over and over that the slaves were less than human, while she'd stared evidence to the contrary in the face, even before all of this. Being captured by Korra emphasized her earlier thoughts, because she'd been a slave and was probably more human than her father was.
-"You know, you're welcome to join her," Bolin remarked.
The heiress was startled by this. She hadn't realized she'd been lost in her own thoughts for so long. "I'm sorry, what was that?"
-"The captain, it's no secret that you're becoming closer. Even if you started out as a hostage... You became more than that a long time ago."
"You really think so?"
Bolin slowly nodded. "Aye. I haven't seen her let anyone get close to her like you are. Either that means you are getting under her skin, which is unlikely, or it means that she cares about you."
"Then what was that business with the slaves about? Taking me to the slave hold, which she knew would hit me hard."
-"I don't know. But I do know that Korra doesn't do things randomly. Of course, if you really want to find out, there's a very simple way to do that: ask her."
Asami chuckled, because that was true. "Alright, I'll ask her after dinner."
She did just that and resigned herself to do the washing up. After she was done and Bato finally said she could go, Asami found the captain standing on the quarterdeck, watching out over the ocean under a setting sun. "Hey, Captain," she started.
-"Sato," she smiled back. "Was a good dinner, by the way. Food's been better since you're here."
The heiress did feel a little flattered. "Thanks. Do you... have a minute? I kind of want to ask you something - alone."
Korra shared a knowing look with Hakoda, who nodded. It was kind of amazing to see the shorthand between those two unfold. "Alright, come on." She went all the way to the bow of the ship and leaned against the sprite. "I always love it here. You can see everything that's coming, and yet no one can sneak up on you here."
Asami chuckled. "Aye, I suppose that's true." It was amazing how easily she took that from the pirates, even though in fairness, the groundwork for that had already been laid on the journey from the Fire Nation to the Earth Kingdom.
-"So what's on your mind?"
The heiress sighed. "I was just wondering... Why bring me aboard the Rhino?"
Korra didn't answer immediately. She took of her hat and sat it down beside her, and adjusted her bandana. "Denial is part of human nature. Every single one of us will take comforting lies over unpleasant truths, even if we know we're being lied to. The only way to fix that is to make people see the truth. That's what I did."
"All of that might be true, but that still doesn't explain the 'why' of it all."
The captain smiled. "You've been fed lies your whole life, Asami. Now, you are smart enough to see that they were lies, but you didn't know what to replace them with. You wouldn't defend your father the way you did if you knew the truth about how slaves are being treated. I showed you his true colors. You might not like it, you might even hate me for it, but I think it's important that you know what's really going on."
This made Asami think. Korra was right, she'd never really got in-depth about figuring out what really went on aboard the slave ships, and that was in no small part because she didn't want to know. Her father told her conditions were fine, and that the slaves were used to walking around naked. This had always irked her, because weren't they from the South Pole, where it's really cold?
It was all just a lie, one more on the mountain that Asami had never really realized the size of, until Korra dragged her down to the bottom and showed her.
Her contemplating made her miss that the captain removed one of her boots to show her bare ankle. "This is what being bound in a ship will do to you," she said, drawing Asami's attention again. She looked down, surprised to see the scar all the way around her ankle. "Those people we rescued were lucky, because they were only shackled for five days. I was shackled for a month." She slipped her boot back on.
"I know it's bad, Korra, I've always known that. I just never knew it was this bad." Asami was surprised to hear herself say it this way. She almost never used the captain's name. What was even more surprising was that she liked the way it rolled off the tongue.
Her face remained remarkably neutral. "And that's why I showed you. Part of me wishes I hadn't, because I can hear what you're up to at night. You barely slept over the past two days, and when you did, you woke up again in a cold sweat. Yes, I heard that all."
The heiress sighed, because it was true. She hoped Korra wouldn't notice, but how could she not? There was only a few feet of space between their beds, of course she had. "What are you saying?"
Korra sighed as well. "I'm saying you shouldn't blame yourself. You may be a part of the system, but I have a sneaking suspicion you think I'm doing the right thing."
"The right thing, yes, but also the wrong way. What about the crew of the ship? They're in chains now."
At this, a slight smirk broke over the captain's face. "The crew has a choice: accept that there is no such thing as white supremacy, or spend the rest of their time aboard in chains. Easy one if you ask me."
"And the officers?"
-"Officers are the ones I really hold responsible. They are capable of things you couldn't even imagine." The way she said it made Asami realize that there was an undertone of bitterness in her voice, like she had experience with that. Would make sense, seeing how Korra had been a slave. It also made her get her defenses back up. "Was that it?"
Asami sighed. "Aye, that...that was it."
Korra nodded. "Fine. When you want to go to bed, come find me again, yes? I have something that might help you sleep."
The heiress nodded, which was good enough for Korra, who walked off again, back to the quarter deck.
Asami decided to stay behind for a little bit. She had the best view on the ship here, apart from maybe one the yardarm of the highest sail, but she'd pass for that.
This also gave her time to think. At first, Korra had been rather sarcastic about being Asami's new best friend, but the longer they sailed together, the more it was starting to feel like a reality. Sure, Korra was rude, loud, brash, and sometimes downright mean to her. But on the other hand, she was also caring, nurturing, and it felt more and more like she wouldn't let any harm befall her. There was an argument to be made that Korra deliberately made her uncomfortable, but on the other hand, she didn't do it just for the fun of it. Whether Asami wanted it or not, Korra was making her a better person.
But of course, there was the elephant in the room. When Asami first was brought aboard the Aurora, it didn't take her very long to see how attractive she physically was, but that attraction might have been extending beyond the physical. Korra was rough around the edges, sure, but deep down, she was a good person, who cared about those she was responsible for.
That, and what she'd said just before she caught the Rhino, kept ringing through Asami's head. Her father had killed more people than they could count, and he was considered a model citizen. Hell, what she knew about her prospective fiancé, Iroh, was that he was a war hero, probably having more blood on his hands than Korra. And who decides that between those three people with body counts, there is only one villain?
She kept on the issue a little while longer, before she decided it was probably better to go to bed soon. Maybe a little more reading before then, because Korra coming in after her was sure to wake her up.
This also meant she could take her up on that offer, even though Asami had a sneaking suspicion it was just a swig of rum and then calling it a nightcap. Some things don't really change.
Korra smiled as she saw Asami walking down the deck again. It had taken her longer than she'd expected, even though it did mean Korra could neatly oversee the ship getting ready for the night without any distractions. Because dammit, Asami was distracting, and she started to notice that others were picking up on it. Bolin had already asked her what she really thought of the heiress, and Korra basically shrugged him off. Fine up to a certain point, but there was only so long she could keep it up. Asami was beautiful, that much was certain, and she did like her. The question was, did she like-like her?
Answering it would probably have to wait, though, since she was coming up to the quarterdeck. "Hey, Captain," Asami smiled. "I was thinking of going to bed soon, if you still want to give me that sleeping aid you were talking about."
"Just a nightcap," Korra smiled.
-"I knew it."
They both chuckled. "I know it's nothing special, but..." She didn't get to finish that sentence.
-"LOOK OUT!" someone shouted from the rigging.
Korra only had moments to respond. She looked up and saw that the gaff of the brig sail had come loose and was now racing down the mast, right towards the quarterdeck. And her first instinct was to grab Asami by the waist and push her down the short stairs to the upper deck. Korra used her own body as a cushion to make sure the heiress wasn't hurt, while the gaff crashed down onto the spot where they had been standing just a moment earlier.
It was clear that Asami had no idea what just happened, and Korra quickly brushed her hair out of her face so that she could look her in the eyes. "Are you okay?"
The heiress was still a little dazed. "I... I'm fine, I think."
It was about then that the captain realized how close they really were. Both of them were breathing heavily, and she could feel Asami's breath streaking over her chin. A blush slowly crept over her face as she too realized what a compromising position they were in, and then scrambled to get up again. "Thanks for the save," she mumbled, clearly still a little embarrassed.
"Don't mention it," Korra replied as Asami pulled her to her feet as well. She was staring right into Asami's massive green eyes, and damn, what a pair of beautiful eyes that was.
It wasn't until someone else running to see if there was anyone else under the sail that Korra realized she had to resume her role as captain again. "Is everyone accounted for?!" She was fairly certain there was no one standing behind her when the gaff came down, but it couldn't hurt to check.
-"No one under here, Captain," the sailor who just ran past her said.
"Good." She now turned her attention to the three men in the rigging. "WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT?! GET YOUR FUCKING ASSES DOWN HERE, NOW!" Those three were in for one hell of a night. Literally.
Soon enough, they were standing in front of her, all with their heads bowed. Two of them were former slaves, and only one of them was of her own crew. "What am I going to do with you?" she asked out loud.
-"We f-fucked up, Captain, I know we d-did," her own crewmember said, obviously scared out of his mind. Jaya, Korra believed his name to be.
"'Fucked up'?" she repeated, almost amazed that he put it so casually. "You could have killed me, you could have killed Sato! 'Fucked up' doesn't even begin to cover it, you moron!" Strangely enough, she felt like it was worse that Asami had been put in danger than that she was. Korra had chosen this life, Asami was forced to be here. At least, that's how she justified it to herself in order to avoid facing a reality she didn't want to face just yet. "Jaya, you have one chance. What were you doing up there?"
-"I-I was trying to teach them how t-to rig a s-ship, Captain. P-please, it was my fault!"
Korra glared at him. "Just you with two tobacco farmers? You're an idiot, you all are. Ten lashes each should teach you a lesson."
-"Captain!" Asami protested.
"Anything to say, Sato?"
It was clear that the heiress suddenly felt a little nervous, because the eyes of the entire crew were on her now, and here she was, openly speaking out against the captain. "I was at risk just as much, but he made a mistake. Sleep on it for the night, get the emotions out of your system. If you still feel the same way in the morning, I won't protest again."
"The severity of a mistake is determined by the size of its consequences."
-"And in the end, the worst part is that I have a bruised wrist and your ship is damaged. Corporal punishment seems like a bit much."
Korra thought on it for a moment, feeling her resolve slowly slipping. Why was she so unable to just do what she wanted when those green eyes were piercing her worse than the sharpest blade? "Fine. You two, it's your lucky day," she said, pointing to the former slaves. "You get to spend the night in the brig while I think it over. Jaya, you're out of luck, because you should have known better. Ten lashes."
Asami decided to go below deck, she didn't want to see this. The captain appointed Bolin to lash Jaya, which was a relatively mild choice. If she'd told Tahno to do it, ten lashes would have put him out of commission for a month.
It wasn't a pleasant sight, but Korra had to be there to see it. After it was over, she sent him down to the medical bay to get his wounds treated, but they were definitely going to scar.
The captain soon went to check on the state of the sail, which Hakoda and a few others had taken a head-start in clearing up. "What's the damage?" she asked.
-"Well, there are a few broken planks in the deck, that's going to be an easy fix. The gaff, however, I don't think we can use that again. We're not too far from Omashu, we can make do without for the time being."
Korra sighed. "It's going to hold us back at least a day. Alright, clear up the sail and repair the deck, we'll clear up the rest in the morning. Hail the Rhino, I want to talk to Mako first thing in the morning."
"I'm going to turn in for the night, you got this, right?"
Hakoda smiled. "Of course. Good night, Captain."
Korra went to her cabin as well, where she found Asami sitting at her desk with a small carafe of wine and a cup to sip out of. "You had to, didn't you?" she quietly asked.
"I did," the captain sighed and slumped down in her chair before pulling a bottle of rum from a drawer, not even bothering to put it in a cup. "I can't appear weak in front of my crew. He made a mistake that nearly cost you and me our lives, that's something I can't just give him a stern lecture for and expect everything to be okay. He could have and should have seen that it was a disaster waiting to happen, and that's what he got punished for."
The heiress sighed and took another sip of wine. "What about the slaves?"
"You may have been right about them. I'll let them off with a few more days in the brig. They didn't know what they were doing, and now they have all the time in the world to think about what they did wrong."
Asami slowly nodded. "That's fair enough." When she'd finished her wine, she stood up again. "I'm going to sleep now. Was this your idea of a nightcap?"
"Few things better than red wine," Korra smiled. She watched as Asami stripped out of her boots, waistcoat, and to the captain's surprise, pants. Usually she kept those on, but not this time. Maybe it was the alcohol in her system. Whatever the case though, she looked amazing in the soft candlelight and with only her tunic covering her up. It was a bit on the long side, reaching down to the top of her thighs, and gave Korra another glimpse of those mile-long legs.
But soon enough, Asami was under the sheet, and Korra decided to make for her own bed, stripping down to just her underwear for the night as usual.
-"Good night, Captain," she heard the heiress say.
"Good night, Asami," she responded as she blew out the last candle. It was out before she even realized it, and truth be told, it had Korra a little shocked. She'd never used her first name, and yet, it felt so natural.
This also brought her back to the thoughts she was having earlier. She wasn't falling for Asami, right? That would be stupid. As well as pointless, given how it was maximum one month more with her, and then Hiroshi Sato would be in Omashu for the exchange. She'd be back on her way to the Fire Nation, and Korra would have her mother back. Everyone wins.
She was probably just horny, and Asami was by far the most attractive person on this ship. Well, that was hardly fair, seeing how she was the only woman on this ship and neither of them were particularly keen on men. Once they'd get to Omashu, she'd fix that.
|Korra's Recovery • The Road to Nowhere Special • Soldier's Eyes - Part 1 • Inked • Smokin' • For Those About To Rock • Soldier's Eyes - Part 2 • Bath Time • Gym Buddies • The New TA • Moving Out, Moving On • Earning Her Spurs • Swimming in the Rain • A Drink For Free • Insider • How I Got to Memphis • What Happens In Vegas... • Vendetta • The Snow Storm • Stays in Vegas... • Saturday • Public Transport • The Big Day • The Fighter • Lights, Camera, Action • What Happens In College... • Small-Block V8 • ... Or Maybe Not • Spur of the Moment • The Suit Makes the Woman|
|Tickets • As Tough As You Are • The Compound • Was It Worth It? • Coffee to Go • Best Hangover Ever • Best Hangover Ever 2|
|My Other Works|
|The Divided Republic • Team Player • All Are Equal • The Callgirl • Who We Are • She's a Pirate • Where Do We Start?|
For the collective works of the author, go here.