Solid

Basically what this is is a Sokka narrative in first person. I'm telling you, no matter how hard I try, I just can't write PG or K+ here anymore! o.O I think I've let myself be corrupted one too many times. I don't think this really qualifies as K+ but since a: I have two swear words with one of them not IN the story itself and b: it has no blood whatsoever, I have no choice. Eh...it should not be this hard to choose a rating...

Anyway, this sort of believable piece of writing is dedicated to Bribles. She is a gifted writer and one of the closest people to my heart. If you like Harry/Hermione, she's your gal! Plus she likes Tokka (which makes her cooler) and that is the pairing of this here story. I hope you enjoy chickie!


-o-o-o-

I feel sick. I feel dirty.

I'm not very 'expressive' when it comes to feelings. I just state how I feel. But I think I found a weakness. A sightless, four-foot, nymph-like weakness. It took a desert storm and fatigue to show me exactly what I felt, what my wishes were. I eye her careless sleep now from my chair, feeling the beginnings of nausea.

But she knows now. And she hates me for my wishes.

I can't blame her.

My fingertips brush against her temple soothingly, at ease when her arteries pulse beneath my touch. I don't worry for her health. For now I worry for my own.

I feel sick.

-o-o-o-

The windstorm started blowing around midday, when it was at its hottest.

We had a long journey still to make through the barren wasteland of desert, cut short periodically by Aang's bad attitude and his never-ending search for Appa. Finally, he got sick of us lagging behind and flew off by himself that morning. It took every grain of patience I had not to comment at all. He left before the storm.

I couldn't say it wasn't a relief to my sweat-stricken back when the wind pushed me forward, even if it was sudden and burning.

"Everybody grab hands! We have to stick together!" Katara screamed through the gusts. I was gravely tempted to remark about Aang but a mouthful of drying mud and the sand prevented my open mouth from spewing cynicism.

Momo settled on my shoulder, digging his paws into my grimy shirt to keep stable, and I turned to reach for Toph's hand.

All I got was a lonely hand of airborne grit.

Struck dumb mentally with panic, I shouted for her to respond and only got a earful of howling storm. Bringing my hand back and rubbing the sand out of my eyes, I made for a hulking figure in the distance. Katara dragged me into a grooved shelter made by the rocky foundation, as she patted the loose dirt out of her braid, I shrugged Momo off. "I'm going to find Toph. Stay here."

Her blue eyes widened, ridiculously worried. "Sokka, are you crazy? You can't find her out there, you'll get lost!"

"I'm not leaving her alone out there."

I can't just let her…

Shaking my bemused head of the thought, I ordered, "Just listen to me for once, Katara, and stay here. It's for your own good. If I don't come back after the storm lets up, go to Ba-Sing-Se by yourself and get the information to Earth Kingdom, alright?"

I knew that look she was giving me; she gave it to me the day our Father left the South Pole.

She couldn't have been more then twelve while I was thirteen. Being the big brother, I had convinced her that I was going with Dad to fight in the war. She offered to paint my face in the traditional warrior colors as I packed my fur-lined sleeping sack. I agreed knowing it would please Dad. Her little eyes filled with unshed tears and her teeth bit the edge of her lower lip in apprehension during the process. Katara looked like she was twelve again.

Inattentively, I tousled her frizzed hair and she didn't even swat my hand away that time. The heaviness of realization had sank in.

The haven became a speck in the storm.

Hot, musky air slammed into my face. I fought against the strength of the wind, at the same time shouting Toph's name with whatever oxygen I could force out. It was my fault; I knew that, it was my job to watch her. I was supposed to be making sure she was tagging along behind me since she couldn't navigate on her own.

Cursing voicelessly, I went onward. If I found her and we made it out alive, I swore to the spirits that I would be consciously nicer. Even to Aang.

If it was possible, the storm roared thunderous and deafeningly louder, swallowing up my surroundings. It was insanity to come out here to find her by myself, I knew this as my knees hit powdered sand… and that's when I felt the tiny hand tugging at the lip of my sleeve.

"Sokka! Is that you?"

Green fabric met my relieved sight. I clutched her lower arm, not noticing how the warmth of her bare flesh thrilled my veins. "Yeah, it's me. Are you alright, Toph?"

"I can't see anything." Her sunburnt features sneered, milky eyes noticeably narrowing. "Well...that's obvious," she muttered. "Okay, I'm disorientated. I thought I was going to-" Her sentence left unfinished. A strong draft threw her backwards. I watched motionlessly through a yellow-brown blur as she rose up, before snatching her tightly into a bearhug and rolling on top of her. The wind couldn't take both of our weight.

She quivered beneath me, her moist forehead pressing firmly underneath my chin. It was a vaguely uncomfortable position we were in. I sat up with her still in my arms, holding her as if she were my child. A black lock of hair cuffed my cheek sharply, smelling like it was sweaty and of an aroma that lodged itself into my memory. I would remember that smell in the days to follow. She smelled like a woman.

We separate only to have her grip my sleeve tighter in instinct. My sweaty hands pried it off to wrap around hers, sternly.

"Katara and I found shelter," I explained. "We have to go back." My voice sounded thick to my eardrums.

"Where actually is 'back'?"

She was right. The sandstorm made it hard to determine where I had been, and difficult to keep myself on my feet.

"We're going to die out here, aren't we?"

There wasn't any mocking in the way she said it.

"No. Cover your nose with your shirt and follow me," I told her. With one free hand, I brought my collar over my mouth and jabbed my fingers into the ground as we crawled along helplessly for something save us. Something solid. I don't know how much time had passed but things were getting darker and the storm wasn't showing signs of relenting on its fury. The only good that came out of this situation was that the winds could no longer pick us up at will.

Toph coughed hoarsely, "WHAT is going on out there?"

"Let's stop for a minute," I said, and she sat obediently in a pile of sand. I wasn't about to admit to her that I could no longer make out where I was going anymore. It would have acknowledged it to us both that the situation was becoming dire. She coughed again, grumbling, "I think I've got sand in my lungs."

Trying to act tough… something I did when I knew something was wrong. She reminded me fondly of how I acted to avoid the problem.

We remained fixed in place until nightfall. To our gratitude, the storm died down to irregular wind bursts. But by then, nothing could be seen two inches from the front of my nose. The exhaustion of the day and heat finally caught up with us. I heard a lazy yawn on my left and hastily squeezed her hand still intertwined with mine. "I don't know about you but I don't think I can crawl anymore with resting…"

She nodded in sleepy agreement to that statement. Well, I assumed she did. Her teeth chattered. "Why is it… cold at night?"

"Weather's weird in the desert…" I mumbled to her.

Sleepy pressure suddenly fell on my left side. Honestly, I didn't care when she started cuddling up against me. Better if we were together thea die if the temperature continued dropping like it was. Besides… she was a friend… wasn't like it was awkward or anything…

The top of her head nuzzled the side of my face, not caring about personal space. She curled up with her legs folded to her chest, murmuring dimly about how freezing she was. Not caring either, half asleep anyway, I leaned back on her with my arm perching comfortably on the backs of her shoulders. Neither of us wished to repel the heat but eventually, Toph straightened up, breaking the connection. She unconsciously swiped her forehead with her arm and asking sluggishly if anything was on her face. Frowning at the weird question, I automatically responded no. The abrasive skin on my hands didn't seem to bother her as they traced every inch. It was only when her dimmed voice materialized to slight anger when I realized where my fingers had purposely settled.

"What are you doing?"

They withdrew from the peak of her lips.

I didn't bother to explain myself. The damage had already been done. Her accusation fell between us, wordlessly understood. I felt mimic hostility. She was the one who started it by cuddling, but it broiled down as another chilly breeze seared my bones. Without her… I was cold.

She had scooted farther from me, stubbornly. Always stubborn. I liked that about her. I don't know why; I could have left her alone, I should have. With a little bit of embarrassment, I surprised us both by instead scooting closer to her. "Toph… I wasn't trying to be… you know I wouldn't…"

"I know." A reassured smile. It quickly disappeared when she added solemnly, "But I'm not stupid, Sokka. And I don't want to talk about it."

Toph actually began sounding hurt.

Had I really done something wrong? I didn't think of her that way… she was in some ways like Katara… she was another little sister. And I knew the second my heart sped up from the memory of the aroma, having it render me speechless, that all my previous thoughts had been dishonest. Toph wasn't my sister. And I didn't want to think of her that way.

Swallowing the immediate sickness rising in my throat, I spoke up, wincing at how shrill I sounded, "Believe me… the only thing I care about is getting us out of here. Hopefully the storm will be gone by morning."

I think she believed me at that point. A quiet whisper into my ear, "This whole day's been bad luck… I'm really tired…."

Thud.

Out like a light.

Before anything else could happen, I heard the wind again. Except it wasn't blowing at all sides, it was heading straight for us accompanied by a single, swaying illumination. A giant sandglider rolled up beside us. Yhe Sandbenders peered down at me shielding Toph contemptuously from the spraying sand. On board next to them, my sister and Aang. Joyously, Katara shouted for me and I accepted her tackle of a hug after shushing her and gesturing to the passed out figure.

One of the Benders climbed down to retrieve her but I pushed him aside to pick her up myself, Katara aiding me by grasping her up by the neck. Aang helped arrange Toph securely to the floor of the wooden platform and evenly met my stare. In the background, Katara explained that Aang had found her during the storm and flew them out to get help for us. I nodded in his direction and he nodded back, solemnly. As they went to talk to the Benders, and as the sandglider softly floated through the remnants of the windstorm, I stooped over Toph to shoo Momo and flatten her wet bangs out of her eyes.

Eyes that would never visibly see me. That would always see right through me.

-o-o-o-

The creature hanging outside the crud, wood cabin purred slightly, perched somewhere on the open-air sill. Momo chewed on the bottom of a black, clicking beetle. Alert, jis furry head snapped up to see through the semi-darkness as a small outline lying down talked softly to another much taller outline.

A light chuckle passed through the atmosphere inside.

Huge, luminescent eyes were the only to pick out the scene of a dirt-covered Southern Pole boy kissing the forehead of the equally dirty and infamous Blind Bandit.

-o-o-o-

end.


Hoping I didn't do a half-ass job on this. Reviewing would be appreciated greatly.