Cross-legged on the garage floor,Korra looked at the sheets of diagrams again. She followed the lines of pipes
and gears. Her finger left a greasy stain across the paper.
“How hard can it be?”
Naga looked up from where she was
chewing on a piece of scrapped tyre. One ear stood on end but as soon as she
realised Korra was not entertaining taking her for exercise, she went back to
“Piece of cake,” Korra said. She
looked at the diagram again. “The thingy is connected to that round piece by a
twisty bit and yeah… Easy.”
Korra held up the diagrams so they
aligned with the car she was working on. It was a beat up old thing that had
seen better days. Asami had drawn up the plans to give it new life but she
never had the time. Production of a new satomobile and company expansion was
consuming all of her time. She was hardly ever home.
What little free time Asami did
have, she spent with Korra. They walked through the parks together and took
Naga for playtime down on the beach. Other times they stayed home. Korra’s
favourite activity by far was sleeping in the warm sun, her head pillowed in
Asami’s lap as she read aloud.
Whenever Korra suggested Asami fix
the satomobile, Asami always declined. Always with a dejected look on her face.
She would smile a moment later and kiss Korra softly. She always said her
time was better spent with Korra.
“I can fix the car,” she said, resolute.
Korra put the plans back on the
work bench and weighted the corners with scraps of metal. She checked what she
was doing once more, absently wiping her hand over her forehead to clear loose
hair away. The first part she needed was the pipe.
Asami’s workshop-come-garage was
meticulously organised. At least, it was usually. Korra had already desecrated
the tool racks in search of a spanner and the shelves of spare parts were more
than a little traumatised. After searching for a few minutes, Korra found the
pipe. It was the wrong shape but after a little metal bending, she had
something that looked vaguely like Asami’s drawing.
The pipe was labelled as part of
the exhaust system. Korra lay down on her back and wriggled under the car.
Where the pipe was supposed to go was easy enough to find. It did not quite fit
the alignment so Korra again resorted to metal bending to get the right fit.
Once positioned, she used the tip
of her finger to create a welding torch. It took a lot of concentrating to keep
the flame small and hot enough to join the metal. She was sweating profusely by
the end and breathing hard.
“Easy,” she said, wiping her face.
She returned to the plans for the
next step. Asami had drawn what looked like a set of cogs and wheels assembled
on a single axle. On another page there was a more illustrated version that
included various belts and pistons it would be mechanically mated with.
“I don’t see anything like that
around here,” Korra said. She scratched the back of her neck. “Guess I’ll do
that bit later. Maybe Asami can show me where they are.”
Korra rifled through the sheets
until she found something she thought she could do. She took the plans over to
the car and metal bent the hood open. It groaned and contorted as if it had
lost a fight with a baseball bat. Korra shrugged and hung the papers off a hook
on its underside; she could bend it back into shape later.
The section she was looking for
was buried under the engine block. She grabbed the nearest ratchet and attacked
the bolts holding the engine in place. She pulled wires and hoses and belts out
of the way; anything that hindered removing the engine. Eventually she had it.
After much cursing, she lifted the engine loose, helped by bending, and dropped it on the concrete
behind her. It pranged against the side of the car and something snapped off
Korra flinched as a piece of
shrapnel careened across the garage and hit Naga square on the nose. “Sorry,
girl,” she said. Naga wrinkled her nose and dragged her tyre piece to a safer
location. “I’ll fix that later.”
Asami’s drawings showed a system
of hoses pumps. Korra could feel water within the system
but it was thick and unresponsive to her water bending. She tugged at it
harder, concentrating her will on the inside of the system. She wanted to empty
it before she went re-channelling hoses and welding new pipes in place.
When the water still would not
obey her command, Korra bodily leaned into the engine bay to get a grip around
one of the hoses. She was going to rip it free of the car and drain it the old
fashioned way if she had to.
With her legs kicking in the air
for balance and cursing up a storm, is how Asami found her.
“Asami!” Korra rocked back to her
feet and smacked her head off the distorted hood. The plans tumbled down around
her. She brandished the tool in her hand accusingly. “What are
you doing here? You said you were working late.”
Asami cautiously stepped into the
garage. Her mouth was agape. “I came home early,” she said, surveying the room.
“I thought… Korra, what are you doing
Korra grinned. “I’m fixing the car
for you. You said you didn’t have time.” She blushed. “I wanted it to be a
“It’s definitely a surprise,”
Asami said. She stepped around the engine block and came closer.
Korra watched her take in the
room. She was making the same face she did when Korra tried to cook. Korra
slumped against the car and let the ratchet in her hand fall to the floor. “I
broke it more, didn’t it?”
Asami looked into the engine bay
over Korra’s shoulder and Korra could practically hear her teeth grind
together. “It’s okay,” Asami said. “I can fix it. I think…”
Asami looked at her. “You’re
filthy,” she said fondly. She swiped at Korra’s cheek and showed her the stain
of oil there. She was smiling. “Don’t be sorry.”
“It’s the thought that counts,”
Asami said. She moved in close, so she was as near to Korra as possible. Her
cheeks were flushed. There was a weighted look in her eyes. “Besides,” she
said, voice low, “worth it.”
Korra smirked under her bangs. She
sighed as Asami’s arms wrapped around her and fingers worked into her lower
“Engine oil and sweat is a good
look on you.”
Korra hummed, nosing into the
crook of Asami’s neck. “Now you know how I feel. Watching you work, it’s a
religious experience.” Korra sighed as Asami kissed her temple. “I’m still
sorry about the car.”
“I’ll help you fix it,” Asami
said. “We’ll do it together.”
“Really?” Korra pulled back to
look at Asami’s face. She was smiling at her in the way she would never be tired
of. “I’d like that.”
“Me too. But first…”
Asami reached over and unlocked
the satomobile door. She urged Korra down over the backseat and settled over
her. In a single, fluid move, she pulled her hair loose and leaned down. Korra
breathed deep the smell of her; ink and engine oil, hiding under a wave of
citrus. She threaded her fingers into Asami’s hair and tugged her in for a
The backseat was a poor fit for
them. Their legs were hanging off the end and Asami was awkwardly positioned
over Korra’s hips. They made it work. Korra opened her mouth and pulled more
insistently. She was becoming lightheaded. Asami’s weight soothed an ache she
was only now realising.
“I need to break things more
often,” she said, arching as Asami kissed down her neck.
Asami chuckled and lightly nipped
at her collar. “Don’t you dare.”
Korra laughed and let herself
fall; let herself be led.
Fixing the car - everything else not Asami in the moment - could wait.