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Riches to Rags

By silkink

Drama / Romance

Chapter 11 (Asami)

There’s a blizzard... a fucking blizzard. It just started just this morning, and at this time of year! A month too early, I’d say.

I’m shivering so hard that I’m worried my bones will shatter, and God only knows how cold I’d be if Korra hadn’t left this jacket. I try to fold myself into it more tightly, though it’s not really possible to do so.

I still haven’t called her. Even when I know she’s been through the same. Even when I know she’s acting from empathy, and not sympathy. I’m doing everything that she told me not to do, being proud, and making things harder for myself. But I can’t help it… it’s like an invisible force, tugging away at me. My pride, my stupid, fucking pride.

She’s been to see me a couple of times, and I’ve bumped into her in the shelter. She always seems pleased to see me, through perhaps she’s that way with everyone. It’s odd, but that last thought makes me feel something I haven’t felt in a while… jealousy? It makes no sense. I shiver harder, the motions causing my back to stiffen up, forcing me to grimace in pain.

She warned me… she warned me that it’d get cold. But this storm came from nowhere, and it seems nobody expected it – cars are pulled over, the streets are empty, and everything’s already unrecognisable, coated in inches of thick, ice cold snow.

I can’t stay here, there’s no warmth on this bench. I gingerly step off it, and try a few car door handles. All locked. I set a few alarms off, but at this point, I’m past caring. My fingertips look like they’re turning blue, though I’m not sure if it’s my imagination. Everywhere I look, I can see only white. But then, I see a flicker, a flame. An oil barrel… I’d usually stay away since I have no friends out here, but I’m too desperate to worry about that.

I approach the barrel, hissing as I feel the warmth against my ice cold fingers.

“Who invited you?” A woman screeches at me.

“Hey honey, are you cold?” A white-whiskered man asks, and I think he’s being sincere, until I see the sleazy glint in his eye, and feel his hand paw at me.

I swat it off, turning away.

“Oh, you’re gonna have to be friendlier than that if you wanna stay here…” he says, again grabbing onto me.

I’ve been out here a long time, but I’ve never forgotten my training. I send the bastard flying over my shoulder, and the move feels almost effortless. It’s the one good thing my father ever did - he made sure I can fight. That I can protect myself. I’m a black-belt in karate and jujitsu, as well as a mixed-martial arts champion.

However, all the skills in the world can’t protect me from a group, and I’m receiving death glares from this guy’s posse. I quickly turn around and leave, heading for the shelter. I would have gone there first, but it’s so… damn… cold.

I grit my teeth as the storm blasts into my face again. I’m grateful that I have a good sense of direction, the next mile could easily throw me off otherwise.

Finally, I’m there. I push my way inside, my hands almost numb as they press against the door and swing it open.

“Shit…” I cuss, out loud.

It’s beyond chaotic, and I’m not sure why I didn’t expect this. They’re all trying to escape the cold, but it’s clear that this place is full beyond capacity. People are literally climbing over each other… and I can’t see Korra anywhere. I don’t think she’s here, or that other woman – Priscilla - I think Korra said her name is. Yeah, sounds about right.

I try to push my way further in, constantly battling my desire to leave, my anxiety threatening to overwhelm me from the insane amounts of claustrophobia I’m feeling.

I feel a hand slide down my pants and tightly grab onto my ass cheek, and I spin to face my assailant, a drunk, red cheeked man, chuckling to himself. I’m about to punch him when I feel another pair of hands on my waist, trying to pull me back… I can’t stand it. I can’t blame the shelter… there’s too many people here, they can’t see what’s going on. Only I can only look after myself.

I stumble away from groping hands, gritting my teeth as I leave the shelter and feel icy tendrils assault my skin, seeping right into my bones. So, my choices are basically rape, or freezing to death, and I almost laugh at the thought. I hope that I’m being melodramatic, and that the cold isn’t really that bad.

There’s only one thing for it. I fumble for the card, smiling when I find it, and start to hunt for a phone box, having finally made a sensible decision for the first time today. I’ve taken this too far. It’s time. Time I stop being an idiot. Time I accept those warm, kind eyes into my life, and see where they take me.

I walk, and walk, my freezing, damp boots trudging slowly through thick snow. I can’t even feel my toes any more, and if I didn’t have Korra’s jacket, didn’t have my hands tucked under my armpits, my fingers would probably be numb too.

I walk, and for how long I’m not really sure, shielding my eyes from the blizzard that only gets angrier and colder with each step. I’m sure I’ll find a phone booth soon. I have to. I’m going to call her. She’ll help me. Korra will help me. I’m warmed by the very thought of her, in fact I feel a weird warmth flood all the way through me, a welcome replacement from the bitter, numb cold. I smile to myself, and I don’t give it a second thought when my knees buckle, and I fall into the soft blanket of snow at my feet.

At least I’m warm now, or I think I am, since I’ve stopped shivering. I’m tired, so maybe if I have a quick nap, I can sleep through this and worry about things in the morning. I realise only at the last moment that my tiredness, and the fact I’m lying face first in the snow… they aren’t good signs. If I had even a drop of strength left, perhaps I’d panic.

I suppose… I… I had a good life. Yeah, I did. Better than most people.

I smile, accepting my fate, as the darkness finally comes.


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