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|Up, Up, and Away|
Korra was once again the first one to arrive at The Jasmine Dragon, wholly unlike her. Opal would probably be arriving soon, and it was a good thing too. They hadn't been in the same room for a week, and were about ready to try and make amends.
She took a seat at a table, and a waiter came quickly to take her order. "Two fresh mint teas with honey, please."
He gave her an incredulous look. "Two?"
"My date will be here in a minute or so."
He lifted his eyebrows like he thought she was lying, but walked off without asking any further questions. Guess he won't be getting a big tip.
It wasn't long before Opal came into the shop as well. Korra eyed her up. She was wearing a casual green button down shirt and white hot pants, making a glorious contrast with her tanned and toned legs. It's almost like she is trying to make you regret the time you couldn't spend with her because you're a stubborn jackass. Damn, those legs. Somehow, she managed to time it perfectly with their tea arriving. "You couldn't resist, could you?"
"Don't you know me at all?"
-"I suppose you know me pretty well." She sat down across from Korra, a smile lining her face. "You're crazy, you know that?"
This confused Korra. "I am?"
-"You went toe to toe with the VP and won. I guess I should have had a little more faith in you."
"And I should have kept my cool. You were right, I let the stress get to me. I'm sorry I yelled at you. And at your mom."
Opal started preparing her tea. "Well, there is that... I stand by what I said, Korra. Maybe not the 'you're an asshole'-part, but definitely the part about you letting it get to you."
"And you should." It briefly fell silent. "So how have you been this past week?"
Opal smiled. "Bored. Worked a lot. So while it's a hundred degrees and I should be at a beach, I was pushing papers in my mother's office." Korra raised a skeptical eyebrow, and Opal smirked. "Yeah..."
"Sounds like you could use a bit of time off."
-"Doesn't sound like a bad idea."
Korra looked up when the door opened, and four massive men in expensive suits and sunglasses walked in. The biggest one with the most expensive suit and the darkest sunglasses walked straight to them, followed by the second biggest one. The other two stayed at either side of the front door. Opal noticed that Korra was looking at them, and turned around as well. "Can we help you?"
-"US Secret Service. We need you to come with us," he said in a voice much higher than she had expected from a man his size. He pulled a badge from his chest pocket, identifying him as Commander Iroh.
Korra and Opal gave each other a look that could only mean neither of them knew what the hell was going on. From the corner of her eye, Korra saw Iroh nod, and the second one placed his hand on her keys, which were on the table. In a reflexive dash, Korra slammed her hand on his, squeezing as hard as she could. He grimaced, clearly not expecting Korra to be so strong. "Back. Off," she hissed. That'll teach you not to underestimate a girl.
-"Miss, don't make this any harder than is necessary. He will take your car back to your home."
"I don't want anyone to take my car, I want you to leave us alone!"
He stepped forward, leaning over their table. "Miss, these orders come directly from the President. You two will come with us, even if that means I have to slam you in handcuffs and put my gun to your head." He pulled open the left side of his jacket, revealing the FN Five-seven in his shoulder holster and the knowledge that he wasn't joking around.
-"Korra, let's just do this," Opal said calmingly. "He looks like he is serious."
She looked over to Opal, still not convinced.
-"Listen to Miss Beifong. Work with us and this will all be over a lot sooner."
"Fine," Korra eventually said, releasing the agent's hand that was still pinned under hers. She quickly threw down a few bills for the tea, and they were escorted out by Iroh and his men. Now that Korra was slightly less on edge, she had a chance to properly measure him up. Her original assessment of him being the biggest one with the most expensive suit still stood, but she also saw that he was quite handsome. A chiseled jaw and an immaculate haircut, coupled with his amber-brown eyes made him quite striking to look at.
They were taken out to an armored but unmarked GMC Tahoe, and were both directed inside. Iroh sat beside them, and the two other agents took the front seats. Korra saw her Audi drive away, making a mental note to send the Secret Service the bill if it was damaged. Not that it would matter much, you probably wouldn't even notice.
Unsurprisingly, they were driven towards the National Mall, which wasn't very far from where they were. They were driven onto the semi-circle of the White House's driveway, stopping right in front of the entrance. Iroh got out, and quickly walked around to open the door for them. "Follow me."
He led the girls through a metal detector and a maze of hallways, finally ending up in a small office which had a door at the far side at a strange angle. Iroh nodded at the secretary, who pressed a button on the phone on her desk. "They're here."
-"Good, send them through," a man on the other side said. Iroh nodded again, opening the door and preceding them into the Oval Office. "Mr. President," he said.
Korra and Opal followed him. President Raiko was just walking from behind his desk to the door the greet them. "You must be Korra, and you must be Opal," he said while shaking hands with both girls. "Thank you, Iroh, I can take it from here."
-"Sir," he nodded, and walked off, closing the door behind him.
-"Please, have a seat," he said, gesturing to the sofas. They were both still stunned that they suddenly shook hands with the President of the United States. Korra and Opal sat down on the same couch, while Raiko took a seat opposite of them. "Can I offer you some coffee?"
"No thanks, we were just having some before your men came in and took us away." You fucking idiot. Did you just give the President a big mouth?
-"I needed to make sure I had your full attention," Raiko said.
"I think there are more subtle means than sending a squad of Terminators to kidnap us." You never learn, do you?
Raiko burst out laughing at this. "Yes, I suppose there are, but time is of the essence here."
-"Mr. President, if I may, would you mind telling me why we are here?" Opal asked politely.
He took a deep breath. "You are here so that I can apologize to you, in person, for what Tarrlok did to you."
"You knew?" Korra was surprised.
-"Not the entire time. After he publicized your relationship, I connected the same dots your father did. Tarrlok abused his position, using the Secret Service to spy on you. That is not a regular part of their tasks, but he bought off or strong-armed the right people in order to keep it quiet."
Motherfucker, he knows. "Could you back up a bit? You said my father connected the dots with Tarrlok. What did you mean with that?"
A slight smile tugged at his mouth. "The PRISM program is quite useful for gathering information on people. And when certain people are seriously looking around for dirt on the Vice President, you can safely assume that I know about it. You two, and your parents, were very, very thorough."
Opal and Korra shot each other a worried look, prompting President Raiko to grin again. "You don't need to worry. In fact, I think I owe you my gratitude."
-"What on earth are you talking about?" Opal asked.
-"Tarrlok has been a pain in my ass since I announced him as my running mate. I'm not telling you anything new when I say that he is deceiving and cunning, and worst of all, he'll stop at nothing if he stands to benefit. You have been at the receiving end of that."
"Then why did you choose him as your Vice President?"
-"Because he was popular in his home region and had large funds in his election budget. It was a marriage of necessity. Without his assets, I wouldn't have made it into this office, and without me, neither would he. He didn't have the national recognition that I did. But now that he is gone, I feel relieved. He undermined the administration, and I believe I have now found someone who can work with me and make it beneficial for the both of us."
Korra got curious now. "I get a feeling that you are aching to tell us who, sir."
Raiko smiled. "Very astute of you, Korra. I am tapping your father. If a Congressman can bring down a Vice President, he deserves the title for himself."
Korra was shocked. "Are you sure about that? I mean... Isn't he kind of controversial because of me?"
-"Not necessarily. Yes, there are bound to be people who are turned off by that. But on the other hand, he stood up for you with the entire country breathing down his neck. He defended you from the so-called establishment, because you are family. Everyone can understand someone who values his family."
-"Aren't you worried that he might come after you?" Opal asked.
-"I haven't done anything to upset him. And even if I did, when you make someone Vice President, I think it's safe to say it will even out. A man with his discretion and determination can be a valuable asset, or a powerful enemy."
"And you want to avoid him setting his sights on you next."
Raiko laughed again. "Well, there is certainly an element of self-preservation in there. Look at what he did so far. Unless we want to read the headlines: 'Izumi Showa first female President', I need to cover myself."
Opal leaned over to Korra. "Who's that?" she whispered.
"Speaker of the House, and third in line for the presidency. Not a very good one, from what I've heard."
-"I don't think she would make that a bad president, but I like this office too much to find out." Raiko looked at his watch. "Ladies, I'm afraid my time is up. We will have to end this conversation here. I hope you will accept my apology, for all the trouble Tarrlok caused you. If you step outside, Iroh will take you anywhere in the city you want to go." He smiled again. "My next meeting is with your father. I am about to inform him of his new job."
"You told us before you told him?"
-"Try to act surprised."
Korra stood up and shook his hand, shortly followed by Opal. "Thank you, Mr. President," she said. "And good luck."
-"You too, ladies. And please don't go after the rest of my staff. I am actually quite content with my administration."
They all laughed, and stepped outside again. Iroh took them back through the White House to the same GMC they arrived in, filthy vulgar thing that it is, to drive them back to Korra's home. This time though, no other agents went with them, and Opal and Korra were sat down on the back seat, while Iroh took the wheel. They drove for quite a bit before the girls fully processed what had just happened.
-"Well," Opal opened, "I can safely say I wasn't expecting this when I got up this morning."
"I'll say." Korra looked down at Opal's bare legs. "You know, I think this is the first time ever, that someone visited the President while wearing hot pants."
Opal looked down as well, and slammed her hands in front of her mouth while her face went bright red. "Oh my God, I completely forgot about that! Oh wow, this is embarrassing. I shook hands with the most powerful man in the world and gave him a free show while I was at it."
This made Korra laugh. "I wouldn't worry about it too much, it's not like they're indecent. Plus, I'd bet you any money he liked what he saw."
Opal's eyes sparkled while her mischievous grin appeared on her face again. "At least I'm not wearing a How To Train Your Dragon T-shirt."
Damn. She's right. "Hey, in my defense, Toothless is one of very few things on this Earth cuter than you."
Opal smiled. "You're such a dork, you know that?"
"That's why you love me."
-"Touché." She pressed a quick kiss on Korra's cheek.
"Plus, Raiko should have given us fair warning, he shouldn't have just sent the T-1000 to get us."
-"I can hear you," Iroh said, clearly annoyed by his passengers.
-"What makes you think we care?" Opal asked, not very fond of Iroh's company either. He didn't answer, so the girls just went back to ignoring him. "Anyway, do you remember what we were talking about before RoboCop here took us away?"
"We were talking about you needing a break."
-"Yes we were, but I want you to be there with me."
"Do you want to go on a vacation with me?"
Opal smiled. "After everything that happened, yes."
-"We're here," Iroh interrupted them. They were standing in front of Korra's house again. For now. Not too long from now, we'll be living in the Naval Observatory. Opal and Korra wasted no time getting out, and Iroh quickly drove off again.
-"Anyway," Opal continued, "I have the perfect destination in mind. If I could borrow your car, that'd be great, then I can arrange a flight."
"Opal, this is our thing, you don't have to do this by yourself, and you certainly don't have to pay for it alone."
-"How many times do I have to tell you: I'm a Beifong, money isn't a concern for me. I will take care of this." She put up her biggest, most adorable eyes. "Trust me."
Good luck saying no to those. "Alright. Surprise me," Korra said, while handing over the keys of her Audi.
Opal smiled and took them, while pressing a chaste kiss on Korra's lips. "I'll be back. You just be ready."
She watched as Opal drove off, cringing at the grinding sound her clutch made. Maybe I can blame the Secret Service for that as well. Korra walked back into the living room, where her mother was waiting for her. "Care to explain what today was all about?"
Korra rolled her eyes. "I'll have you know that for once, it wasn't my fault."
-"A giant man in a suit comes to our house in your car, rings the bell, hands me the keys, says nothing, turns around and steps into a black SUV. I tried calling you, but you didn't answer your phone. I was worried sick Korra!"
"Yes..." This just got awkward. "I couldn't answer my phone. That shaved bear was with the Secret Service, who picked me and Opal up from my date... We were kind of forced to come along with them to talk to the President."
Senna's eyes nearly rolled out of their sockets from surprise, and Korra's smile widened. She told her mother the entire story, which reached a swift conclusion. "And any minute now, you'll get a call from dad."
-"Why would you suddenly say that?"
"I have my reasons. It won't take too long."
Her mother raised a questioning eyebrow, but went along with it anyway. "Well, if you say so, I'm just gonna have to brace myself."
You have no idea. At that moment, Senna's phone rang. It was her father. Speak of the devil. She answered, and with a few short 'Hmm's' and 'Uh-huhs' later, she hung up again. "Well, turns out you were right. He wants me to come to the Capitol straight away. He sounded serious, so I guess I have to go."
"I guess so. You go, I can manage here, and I doubt I know anything he doesn't."
-"You're being weird, Korra. It doesn't suit you."
"Trust me mom, in about twenty minutes, it'll make sense to you."
She shook her head in confusion, but was on her way soon enough.
Opal was the next to call her. "Hey sweetie, I got that flight I was talking about."
-"Yeah, but there is a catch: either we go two hours from now, or we can't go until next week. I'm inclined to go with the one two hours from now."
"But what about everything else? Visa and stuff?"
-"Not necessary. We're not crossing any borders. Do you want it or not?"
Well, seems like a simple choice: a week with your girlfriend, away from Vice Presidents and psycho Secret Service Agents effective immediately, or wait it out. Why are you even thinking about this?! "Yeah, two hours from now."
-"Good, if you still have to pack, do that now. Pack for a week of warm weather, open shoes and bathing suits are mandatory. Verstehen?"
"Whatever you say."
-"I'll be there in 45 minutes, so be ready, because otherwise we won't make it."
"Sounds like we are cutting it close."
-"Absolutely, now stop wasting time and get packing!"
She hung up, and Korra was more intrigued than anything. How the hell did Opal manage to arrange a flight in under an hour? And for that matter, where were they going in the first place? Deciding the best thing to do now was to trust Opal's judgement, Korra started packing. Warm weather was easy enough, since all those clothes were still in her closet. She shoved all sorts of clothes into a duffel bag, with a bit of margin for error in case of unexpected bad weather. A pair of All-Stars, and a few flip-flops should do it.
Opal was precisely on time, coming back in Korra's Audi as agreed. Korra took the wheel from her, in an attempt to save whatever was still left of her clutch.
-"Head to Dulles. I'll give you the proper directions once we get close."
On their way there, Korra tried to get her girlfriend to open up, but she was very tight-lipped, and didn't reveal a single piece of information about where they were going precisely. Once they got close to the airfield, Opal directed her onto all sorts of roads she had never been down. She sounds like she knows what she is doing, so here's hoping she won't steer us onto the runway to play chicken with a 747.
Ultimately though, she told Korra to stop in front of a hanger. Opal went inside, and opened up the main door just enough to let Korra's Audi slide in. What was in it blew Korra away.
As soon as she was in, Opal flicked on the lights, fully revealing what hiding in the dark. It was the sleek design of a private airplane. Korra got out, her expression matching that of her mother less than an hour ago. "You have got to be kidding me."
-"The Gulfstream G350, my mother's plane. We call her Poppy. She needs it tomorrow, so it has to be back here by then. That gives us just enough time to get where we want if we leave now."
Korra took a closer look, and realized that Opal really wasn't bluffing. The logo of The Metal Clan was painted on the tail, along with the same Chinese characters under it that were tattooed on Opal's chest.
-"Now come on, slowpoke, let's load up and go."
"You know that you don't have to show off like this, do you?"
Opal put her hands on Korra's shoulders. "If you think it's too ostentatious, just say it. I don't care where we go, as long as you like it. I'd be more than happy to just say 'screw it all', and go to a motel if that's what you want. This just seemed like some good fun to me."
"No no, that's not it, I just feel like you are doing this to impress me, which is completely not necessary."
She pressed a chaste kiss on Korra's lips. "I know. And I'm not doing this to impress you, but because it's the fastest and most comfortable way to get from A to B." Korra gave her a nod, signifying that she agreed. "Good! Then let's get our bags, and we can go sit down and watch Titanic."
Korra laughed. "Really? We're about to fly in a tin can and you want to watch a disaster movie?"
-"Titanic, not United 93. I have some experience with that."
Fair enough. "Alright then, let's fly." They both got their stuff from the car, and went into the plane. It was incredibly spacious, unlike any airplane Korra had ever been on. The seats were made from the finest leather, with enough legroom to hold a Grand Slam in front of every single one of them. "Damn. After this, I am so screwed," Korra remarked.
-"Why is that?" Opal asked, not realizing what she meant.
"I can never fly commercial again. Look at all this room! Commercial flights always imagine us with no legs below the knees, but even my father would fit in these without any complaints."
Opal giggled. "Yeah, I guess so. Now get ready, we're about to take off."
Within a few minutes, they were in the air. Opal pulled Korra onto the couch in the back, and put up Titanic just like they agreed. In moves wholly unlike either of them, Opal only cried during 'Never let go', while Korra was the one to cry during 'Nearer My God to Thee', much to Opal's surprise.
The journey flew by, and before they knew it, the pilot announced to them that they were inbound to their destination. The girls both put their seatbelts back on, and when they touched down, the pilot stepped out to open the door. Opal stepped out first, and Korra followed suit.
The first thing she noticed was that it was hot. Very hot. It had been warm in DC, but that had nothing on this. Opal swirled around on the tarmac, happy to have finally arrived. "So what do you think? I always love it here!" she said with a ton of excitement in her voice.
"Will you now finally tell me where the hell 'here' is?"
Opal smiled. "Welcome to Puerto Rico."
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