That night came and everyone was relaxing in his or her own way, it did seem that sleep might end up an impossible thing to grasp… or it was for Katara at least.
Aang sighed as he rolled over and put his arm around her waist… "I'm sorry that this happened, Katara… I just wish I could undo what happened today."
Katara slipped away and Aang allowed her, he knew she was upset, but it was hard not to take her sliding away from him as rejection.
She didn't say a word… no one knew what she was going through, the mental anguish that was what had just happened to her.
Toph's mother tried to comfort her, but it wasn't much help… she wished she had her own mother there to tell her that everything was going to be okay.
Toph sat outside hugging her knees… how could she have been so stupid as to not tell her friends that Jet had been lying to them, maybe none of this would have happened if she had told them.
"Toph?" it was Sokka
"Yes?" Toph replied
"I know you blame yourself, we're all kind of in that mode where we blame ourselves for what was no one's fault…" Sokka sighed as he sat beside her "we need to try to be here for Tara now more than ever"
"I know, Snoozles, but I really thought I'd be getting this speech form Suki, not you"
"Well, this is a sobering issue, we all have to pull together for her now" Sokka sighed "I just wish there was more I could do for her right now… but it's like there is nothing at all I can do"
"You aren't the only one that feels helpless right now" Toph whispered trying to hold steady her voice when really the guilt had built up to an unbearable level and she felt sobs trying to come, she wouldn't cry, not now… she hadn't cried since she was a baby and she wasn't going to… or would she.
"Toph, I know Katara wasn't the only one effected by this, but I think the other involved is trying to hold back everything she feels just like Katara is trying to push everyone away."
"Sokka, I guess I have to confess something, to hear what happened to her, it scared me a little… I mean… it very well could have been me!" now she had to let go, she couldn't hold onto the calm front any longer and started crying.
Toph felt Sokka's arms come around her and she moved to allow him to embrace her
"Don't worry Toph, I'm sure Katara will recover, she just needs us all to be strong for her" he said
Toph slowly eased off to sleep and Sokka carried her too her room before going into his own and falling asleep.
The next morning came and Katara seemed to still want to keep a good distance from everyone especially the guys… her brother being the only exception. She rarely spoke unless spoken to and even then, it was only a few words.
"Aang I hate to cut the visit with Toph short but the sooner we get Katara back to the South Poll with Grangran and our father the better off she'll be I think" Sokka said honestly
"I think your right" Suki said
"Me too" Toph replied, "I know I probably will hate it but I want to go with you guys"
"Toph you really don't have to come" Sokka said
"That's the one of the few places I haven't been, there has to be Earth there somewhere" she insisted
"Okay Toph, you can come, but we're going to have to stop and get you warmer clothes"
"That's okay" Toph replied
Sokka had a feeling she was going to like this as much as she liked the desert where the sand benders lived, but he wasn't going to argue with her he knew it was pointless to try to argue with Toph Bai Fong once she made up her mind.
They started to pack and Katara was packing her belongings when Aang walked over to her.
"Tara listen, I want you to understand that I would never under any circumstances hurt you, especially not the way he tried to do" Aang said
Katara didn't reply
"I just thought I'd say that" he whispered gently "and that no matter what, I will always love you Katara… always"
Katara looked at him seriously, was he telling her the truth... after what had just happened his love was still there.
'Does he really still love me?' she wondered to herself as she packed the last of her belongings
To Be Continued…