I read about a possible 4th season with a new story arc. If it's new story arc, then more adventures might behold our gaang (wu-hah!). I've written this based on our traveling band of Avatar warrior's still traveling due to the "new story arc" which I could not even DARE to speculate what it could be.
Nevertheless. It's a... how Zuko & Toph COULD get together 4th/5th season in a new story arc.
Inspired by Hotspur.
In the part of her Season's drabbles she wrote today when Zuko was holding Toph and asking Katara to heal her, made me realize a very likely new dimension to their already multi-dimensional relationship. The one where he sees her as helpless but secretly wouldn't let it get out due to an intense beating coming his way for even suggesting it.
So THIS is for Hotspur.
Nothing belongs to me. The characters and ideas are Nick's copyright, and the story is Hotspur's.
In the middle of the night things were always at their quietest and this night it was quieter than usual.
The young girl had always went her own way, creating her own shelter and only pitching in when it suited her. That's why it was surprising that she'd sprung up some earth walls in a tent for him when they'd all landed.
Two years, she'd been nothing but rude and all of a sudden he was plagued by a mysterious moment of generosity.
He sat under the earthen walls doing the equivalent of twiddling his thumbs.
He finally decided to beat the pressure and get out to watch the night sky. It hadn't been long after the war, but so much had happened since and now the group with the Avatar found themselves on the run again. Zuko didn't enjoy being part of the traveling sideshow. But it did have it's perks.
One of those perks had just brought down one side of her enclosure and stomped out towards him.
"What's the big idea?"
He found that she was easily irritated.
"How am I expected to sleep without the sound of your fire breathing snoring coming my way? Now, get back to sleep before I have to make you."
"I don't snore." He said plainly. His uncle may have been too polite to tell him, but she certainly wasn't.
"To your credit, you're not as bad as snoozles over there" she nudged her head towards the campsite.
He snorted with amusement.
This was one of those nights they slept alone. It was rare the occasions when the entire group of five would sleep together in the order of Zuko, Toph, Aang, Katara and Sokka.
The two original outcasts of the group usually liked a bit more space than that and as many of the comforts from home as they could muster.
She sat down beside him, as he looked out to the horizon. He'd been thinking of the girl often. She had grown up almost right in front of his eyes, and yet it took him the longest time before he'd noticed. He and Sokka had an unspoken arrangement, that while they gave the blind girl credit to get by on her own, they still watched her like a hawk- hiding the fact that deep down they thought a part of her and her disability weakened her (Sokka still thought her beating the Boulder was a lucky fluke, even though he'd seen her do it a thousand times since).
He'd never admit it to her, because she'd probably walk out on them... but he was secretly more protective of her that he let on.
He'd never been protective of anyone before, and this felt nice to feel somewhat responsible for someone else... even if that someone could never know how he felt about it.
It was silent between them, which wasn't a rare occasion except this time something specific was unspoken between them. She'd given him shelter which evidently meant she was appreciative of him for something... and he didn't have a clue what it could be.
He swallowed his pride and muttered a "Thank you".
The young blind girl swiftly grabbed his hand, resting loosely on his knee and pulled it towards her to cup her face. His mouth opened in shock and bit back a rising feeling of rage, which often came over him when barely provoked or his space was inhibited by strange company.
Her face was soft. Strange for an Earth Bender, they normally seemed so hard... so calloused.
He still had no idea what he could have done right, but his fingers stayed on her, pulsing slightly.
She leaned towards him and pressed her lips on his. Unexpected but nice, he returned the sentiment. The disfigured older boy leading her on. She pushed him back getting carried away, her mouth heating up like a cauldron.
He grinned. It could have been worse. But after a minute... that was enough. Zuko didn't want to lead girls on for too long.
He wasn't like everybody else. He was a parasite. Ever since what he had to become, to accomplish the destruction of his father.
The last thing he wanted was to see a girl like her get sucked dry from someone like him. No. Anyone else he didn't mind using. But she was different. She was the one he protected like a little sister. Like the relationship someone should have had with a sister, but he'd never known before.
He didn't mind using Katara, especially if she was stupid enough to bring it on herself - she had two boys who cared enough about her already so she had no excuse for careless behavior. He didn't mind using that girl Song and some other nameless faces from his past.
But she was different. Unique... and he still had a duty to protect her. Even if it was from himself.
He pushed her off of him and got up brutally. She fell face first in the dirt from the sudden movement. He resisted the urge to let out a slightly stifled chuckle. She wouldn't like that.
So he walked away without another word. He didn't have to explain himself to her. He didn't want to explain himself to her and nobody could make him explain himself to her, he thought childishly.
But he didn't get far. She angrily sent the a mound of dirt traveling so fast he didn't have time to think before he tripped and fell head first into it.
He raised his head with dirt on his face.
"Now we're even."
She smirked and rubbed some of the dirt away from her complexion, getting up off the ground.
He sprung to his feet as well, irritated and stalked back over to her. She held her stance. Her fingers out, ready to flick bits of the earth at him if it would come to that.
Within a few inches of her, he reached his hand out and grabbed her arm lifting her right off the ground. She squirmed angrily but before she could do anything, he had brought his face in on hers. Kissing her again, and this time not caring if he caused pain. This game she was playing just wasn't fair.
She didn't seem to mind about the pain either, as she stopped squirming and her unseeing eyes glowed from the sky lights overhead as she sunk into his kiss.
He dropped her again without warning and a smirk played across his face.
"No. Now we're even" he said before going over to where the other's were sleeping and leaving her shocked, bristling and too confused to do anything to stop him.
Toph touched her bruised lips and went back to her "tent", kicking at the ground as she went and making sure she made enough noise to rivial a stampede of bulls. She smugly put up her wall again, hoping that the other's would awake annoyed seeking an explanation for the noise from Zuko. She only wished she could be there for his stuttering explanation.
She closed her eyes and fell asleep easily this time with thoughts of the rest of the group's anger and his deserved payback.
She would always get the last move. Check mate.
That's when sleep came.