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[fic] Masterpiece

Title: Masterpiece
Fandom: The Legend of Korra
Character/Pairings: Asami Sato, mostly gen, allusions to Asami/Mako.
Rating: PG
Summary: Some artists make canvases of themselves. Character study.
Disclaimer: Blah blah, not mine.
A/N: Spoilers for 1x07! Nonlinear writing! Crazy, unedited piece of brain vomit! Lolololol, it was like 2 AM, and I was trying to sleep, and then I rose from my bed like a zombie and wrote this for no apparent reason. I kid you not. It’s nearly 4 AM, and I have no idea what kind of point I was trying to prove with this, aside from maybe that I am deranged. Also, I may have a minor obsession with trying to get into Asami Sato’s head. There’s more to you, girl, I know it. There’s got to be.

“I’m going down to find out for you,” says Mako.

Asami turns just so, murmurs, offers up a practiced, meaningless smile.

He doesn't see the lie in her limbs. They never do.


Asami learned young, to paint her face.

She wasn’t yet the girl she was meant to be, then, bones too sharp and skin too pallid, graced with a storm of hair that would take her years to learn to tame. The elusive promise of that someday grown-up beauty, the secret in the structure of a girl’s bones and the color of her eyes, isn’t the same as beauty made flesh, doesn’t translate to young gawky limbs and a poor complexion.

But even then, she had an artist’s eyes and hands, steady over the delicate little pots of rouge, shaping the inky curl of an eyelash.

Later, she’d learn to paint more: the pitch of her voice and jut of her hip, the lift of her eyes as she perfected the angle of her smile, trained on businessmen and market girls, custom-made for anyone who looked at Hiroshi Sato’s little girl and wanted a work of art.


The crash, whatever anyone else might believe, is sheer coincidence.

Mako’s eyes stop on her for the first time, wide and golden and strangely guileless.

Asami, half an inch from frazzled, makes a split second choice. She has always appreciated beauty.


What Asami remembers of her mother:

Smooth glazed pots of wine red paint and pitch dark kohl lining the lacquered surface of a dressing table. Jade-handled brushes dipped in ink, and the radiant scarlet smile in the mirror.

“There’s strength in masks, my love.”


Some days, Asami feels caged more harshly by her own inexperience than usual. She has bloomed in a world behind gilt golden walls, veiled in too rich embroidery, steel lingering only at the edges, where no one can mistake the decorative for the deadly.

Those are the days when Mako’s world, and Bolin’s, and even Korra’s, hits her hard in the stomach, knocks the wind from her as deftly as her combat instructors did in younger and clumsier days. The grease and grit of Asami's world exists in carefully contained portions, clinically doled out on smooth-beaten racetracks and the sheen of sweat after frequenting her father’s immaculately kept dojos.

“I feel safe with you,” she told Mako once, the lie wrapped in truth like sifu’s katana sheathed in silk.

Mako’s world is anything but safe, but Asami has never felt truly protected without the promise of danger thrumming in her veins.


What Asami’s mother taught her:

How to paint.

How to smile.

How to lie.


Asami’s fresh-made face stares back at her from her mirror, and she wonders sometimes, when it’s all going to fall to pieces: that veneer of kindness and grace and untouched beauty, the illusions-not-illusions that make her feel real.

There are days when Asami’s not sure where paint ends and living flesh begins, and those are the days when she acknowledges the root of her fear: that she doesn’t know what to do in a world where she isn’t exactly what her audience needs, expects, envies, desires.

She doesn’t know how not to be wanted.

Her reflection watches her with kohl-lined eyes, and betrays nothing.


The roar of the motorbike and the blades in her hands, though, say this:

That she’s a little wild, in that secret place deep inside.

It’s a matter of catching the truth in the space between lies, and few in Republic City have eyes like the daughter of Hiroshi Sato.


“Sometimes, my love,” her mother said once, “blandness is the easiest course. People can paint whatever they want on to a blank slate that’s kind, and willing, and seems to disclose a great deal without really giving anything away.”

Kohl crinkles at the corners. “It’s for you to surprise them, at the opportune moment.”


What shouldn’t have surprised her is that her father can wear masks too.


“Stay here. I understand. I’m going down to find out for you.”

Mako doesn’t understand anything, not really, but it’s easier to let him pretend that he does. Asami knows how to play this game now, can see the lines of the script before she speaks them. She uses up what words she has on trust and devotion and comfort, clasps her hands and lowers her lashes. She makes herself the sort of girl that neither offends nor takes offense.

Even when she strikes, in a brilliant spatter of lightning fire, blue and white and blinding, it’s timed to speak of everything she can’t say.

The others believe her father gave her a choice. They don’t know how wrong they are. Asami’s old enough now, to know what choices will let her keep the things she can’t bear losing.


What Asami learned from her mother:

How to live.

How to love.


When she packs up her mirror and leaves her father’s empty house behind, no one notices the thin white crack in the glass.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2012 11:13 pm (UTC)
sooooooooooooooooooo probably there's a bit of your psyche in there, at least based on your posts, but that being said HOLY COW I WISH THIS WERE CANON. Like, I love this Asami. And she makes sense (and also is like my favorite kind of female character) and oh maaaaaaaaaaaaan I hope she gets even half this depth, because reading this I LOVE HER, and picturing her in the series I am completely apathetic. (I meant to comment on your last post, but, basically this.)
May. 24th, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, there's a ton of my psyche projected on to this, are you kidding me. |D Tbh, canon!Asami bores me to tears, and I'm really frustrated over how she bores me to tears, because HER CHARACTER TYPE HAS SO MUCH POTENTIAL TO BE AWESOME, AND IT'S ALL WASTED ON CREATING STUPID CONFLICT FOR THE STUPID OFFICIAL COUPLE (BOTH OF WHOM ARE BEING DUNDERHEADS).

But I'm really glad this take on her worked for you! My reaction to ladies that I see written half-assedly is usually to go, alsdf;aljkf auuuuugh fix it, and thus, fic is born!

Though now, I kind of just want to write stupid fluff about Korra and Asami as Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne in Bridesmaids. Which, hilariously, would make Maya Rudolph Mako, brb lol'ing forever.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )