Katara was just putting the final touches on Toph's dress while the earthbender was wearing it and actually liking the results quite a bit. It was two pieces as traditional wedding dresses were with a bodice that hugged her upper body with no sleeves. The white bodice was decorated with rectangular copper buttons going down the front. The skirt was ankle length and equally as white as the top but with a copper and bronze dragon twisting around the hem that flowed around her and gave it the illusion that the dragon was moving. The space earth arm band Sokka had given her five years back was now shaped as a phoenix wrapped around her upper arm. Dragons represented man in all their strength while phoenixes represented a woman's honesty and inner strength.
Katara finished off Toph's look by putting her hair into a simple up-twist with gold lilies and a copper barrette to hold it up.
"By the spirits you look beautiful Toph!" Katara exclaimed.
The blind girl blushed and let her empty gaze fall to the floor.
"You think so?" She asked tentatively.
"Absolutely." Katara affirmed.
Zuko walked into the hut and let his jaw drop as he saw Toph. He had never looked at the blind girl as anything but a war hero and master of her own element and he still only saw that but she had clearly transformed into a rare flower.
"Sokka's not going to be able to keep his eyes off you, Toph." He said, meaning every word.
Toph blushed and smiled shyly, which looked out of place on her normal grinning face but was still very sweet. "Thanks hot-head, I'll keep what you said in mind the next time Suki comes at you with a frying pan. I may just stop her."
Zuko scowled at her and sent a silent prayer that Sokka would survive the marriage. His hand absently went to the light blue bruise on the side of his head and added his name to Sokka's.
Katara watched their bickering and shook her head. They've all come so far but at the same time they were exactly the same as they were five years back. Sure Zuko's temper had leveled off a bit and Toph's bluntness had dulled at the edges, but when Katara looked at them again it was as if they were 12 and 16 again and Toph was teasing Zuko about accidentally starting the tent on fire while training Aang. Katara was still 14 with her hands on her hips and keeping her lips sealed but clearly disapproving of their argument. Sokka was still 16 and chasing Momo around because he had stolen the last papaya. Aang was 13 and rubbing down Appa as his firebending lesson had clearly ended. Katara shook her head from her reverie and began guiding Toph to the front door of the hut.
"Count to 200 and then start walking to the hill where the ceremony is. Zuko, come on!" She grabbed his wrist and they left Toph to her thoughts.
Toph began counting in her head and when she finally reached 200 she started heading out the door at a slow pace, allowing her mind to wander. Every time she thought of Sokka her heart would race like a stampede of rough rhinos and it scared her to death that he had this much control over her with out even being present. Part of her wanted to make a mad dash in the opposite direction and try to barter her way onto a ship for the coast, but then she could hear his voice in head telling her how much she meant to him. Of course she loved him; always had, always will. She couldn't picture a life with out him. With out knowing it her pace began to pick up as she made her way to where she would tie her life to the only man she had ever pictured doing this with.
Sokka saw her first, having been solely looking for her and her alone. He saw the sun shining off her ebony colored hair and the light catching on the flowers twisted in her hair. Then he saw her face, more beautiful then anything he had ever seen in his life. It looked as if she were fighting a large smile in an attempt to look serene and calm. Then he saw Toph in her entirety and she took his breath away. What had he done to deserve her? She was this tough and beautiful flower that kept him sane and made him crazy and she was going to be all his. It seemed like an eternity but she was now standing in front of him and he reached out his hand to help her onto the slightly raised earth platform.
They held hands and stared into each other's eyes, Toph imagining the look on his face as she felt his heart race through the earth they stood on.
"Your vows…" the man encouraged.
"Toph, the first time we met I thought you were this haughty wild child who would sooner break my arm then be nice to me. After all the time we spent together traveling I started noticing all the different Toph's and I fell in love with every single one of them." He cleared his throat in hopes his nerves would vanish, but he doubted he would ever be an absolutely confident man in front of this particular woman. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that although my love came for you fast and hard it has been a long time coming and I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with you."
Toph blushed and tried hard not to drop her sightless gaze to the ground so he wouldn't see her flushed but she continued to keep her face tilted up in his direction.
"You once went through a phase where you felt useless to the team because you couldn't bend an element. Even then I knew that you were worth everything to me. You thought so little of yourself, but I've always thought the world of you. When you only saw a rude midget who could kick your butt I saw you as a brilliant and strong warrior whom I admired greatly. I love you Sokka; I always have and I always will."
There was a sob from the audience, and it helped Toph to smile even more. Sokka squeezed her hands a little tighter and brought them to his lips for a chaste kiss. A young girl from the village walked up to the platform where the couple stood and gave each a ring that would be exchanged and to Sokka a necklace that he had been working on since after the party. After they exchanged rings Sokka gently fastened the dark green ribbon around her neck. A gold pendent hung from it with the southern water tribe symbol. Toph touched the necklace and let her fingers take in the carvings.
"Its earth kingdom colors, but southern water tribe symbols."
"It feels beautiful." Her smile grew so wide it was beginning to hurt but she didn't care. She had never been so happy.
"You may now kiss the bride."
Toph reached a hand up behind his neck and pulled him down in a searing kiss that left the crowd laughing and cheering.
"You're mine now, Mr. Meat-and-sarcasm." She grinned.
"You know that makes you Mrs. Meat-and-sarcasm right?"
"Ugh, don't remind me!"
Sokka's jaw dropped and he stared down at the seemingly quiet and demure girl beside him and broke out laughing.
"By the spirits, I love you but you aren't going to make this easy are you?"
Toph shook her head allowing a few wisps of hair to escape her intricate binding.
"Rest assured that it won't kill you." Toph said in mock-seriousness.
"But it'll come damn close." He took her hand in his and they walked back down to the hut for a splendid dinner with friends to celebrate.
Zuko, Suki, Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph all sat around the table at their hut passing around delicious dishes that Suki and Katara had spent all day cooking. There were large assortments of meats, vegetables, fruits, and breads. They all laughed and reminisced about the old days while everyone but Katara and Aang drank mulled wine.
When the food had long since been finished Aang glanced out the window and saw where the moon was in the sky. With a start he realized that his wedding was going to be commencing in an hour. It was time they started getting ready. He got up and turned to his friends.
"It's time," Aang said with a wide grin.