Disclaimer: Sadly enough for me (though not for you), I do not own Avatar: the Last Airbender.
Author's Notes: Just a oneshot on Lady Bei Fong's feelings about Toph getting married after all these years of not seeing her. It's sort of a Stephen King-esque style which really wasn't that intentional and that I don't think I pull off very well, but oh well.
I hope you enjoy, reader, and leave a reviewletting me know what you think. I like to know what you think... really.
Lady Bei Fong wouldn't have been able to describe the emotions she was feeling when she saw her little Toph for the first time in over three years if she had wanted to.
She looked so different than the little twelve-year-old who had run away, and yet, so much the same. She still had her hair up in her bun, still wore a thick headband and no shoes, but now she was taller (just by a few inches, though, she was quick to remember) and so much more a woman, filled out just like Lady Bei Fong had when she was a young girl.
She still had the Avatar and his ridiculous traveling partners following her around, despite the fact that the war had ended two years ago. Aang was his name, she was reminded, and the other girl, Katara. They had stayed only long enough to greet the Bei Fongs before they were on their way.
But the other one—Sokka, did she say?—didn't leave, just followed Toph around the house, sat next to her at dinner, was an all-around nuisance to Lady Bei Fong if she ever had one. When she asked Toph why he hadn't left with her other… friends, she just smirked and said, "He wanted to make sure I'd be okay."
Lady Bei Fong wasn't sure what Toph had meant by that, and she wasn't sure she would be too pleased to know.
But even if she didn't like Toph's choice of friends, she was still content just to have her baby home again. She asked when her companions would be leaving.
"We'll head out tomorrow."
"We?" she had asked.
Toph nodded and turned the lightest shade of pink. "We're going to the South Pole."
Lady Bei Fong had paled at that. "The South Pole?"
"To visit Gran Gran," Toph had answered, looking slightly embarrassed.
"And who is this…Gran Gran?"
"Sokka and Katara's grandma," Toph told her.
Lady Bei Fong had been shocked. Her daughter, her only daughter, her blind daughter, was leaving her family to go visit a village of Water Tribesmen at the South Pole! Of course, Lady Bei Fong couldn't do anything to stop her daughter from leaving with the Water Tribe boy (nearly a man, she'd noticed with a frown), but she felt her heart break just a bit more as she waved good-bye to a daughter who couldn't even see her doing that.
Then she got the letter.
Just last week a letter arrived in the mail. It was addressed from Toph, but of course Lady Bei Fong knew that someone else had written it—after all, her daughter was blind. But she still hoped with part of her heart that ached every day for her daughter that it was from Toph and that she was coming home to visit after all these years. It wasn't actually "all these years," of course—just three—but it felt like an eternity to Lady Bei Fong without her daughter.
But today was the day. If the letter really had been from Toph, and if she really was coming, today would be the day. So Lady Bei Fong had her favorite chair pulled into the room nearest the front doors and waited.
She didn't have to wait long. Only an hour after the midday meal she heard a loud knock on the doors, the kind that rang throughout the entire house and deep inside her. She scurried to the door as quickly as she could—not scurried, though, never scurried—and threw open the doors, breathless.
And there she was, in all her eighteen-going-on-nineteen Toph beauty, and in a dress, no less! A pretty green dress that flattered her still-tiny frame and tentative smile and Lady Bei Fong couldn't have loved that dress more. Her hair was still in that bun, but her bangs were tucked behind her ears just like she'd done when she was twelve and fragile (not fragile, though, she'd never been fragile) and still no shoes, but Lady Bei Fong had grown accustomed to that and loved her daughter for it. Toph looked lovely, beautiful, radiant, like the angel she was, and all Lady Bei Fong wanted to do was cry.
And then she noticed it—or rather, someone. The someone that followed Toph around, that sat with her at meals, that was an all-around nuisance to Lady Bei Fong if she ever had one, that Sokka. And (Lady Bei Fong had to hold in a gasp) he was holding her daughter's hand!
But Lady Bei Fong was cultured and civilized and invited them in to have some tea with her in the other room, but all the while she was seething. How dare that, that—that Water Tribe peasant even think of holding her daughter's hand, the hand of a Bei Fong, the most respected name in all of the Earth Kingdom! How dare he what gives him the right!
The tea was served and Lady Bei Fong smiled at her daughter and her… guest. She set her cup down and directed her question at the beautiful girl in front of her.
"What brings you back home, Toph?"
She could see Toph tense just a bit and she wanted to frown (oh she wanted to), but she didn't. She was a polite and humble host and a polite and humble host didn't frown at her guest, of course not.
"Sokka and I have something to tell you," she said in her mature Toph voice, so different from the voice she last remembered, the voice of innocent, sweet Toph.
"What would that be?" Lady Bei Fong asked politely, hiding the blatant interest growing deep inside her (Sokka and I? Sokka and I?).
She smiled then, Toph smiled at her mother, the Lady Bei Fong, and the love for her daughter bloomed inside of her like a rose in summer.
"We're getting married."
Lady Bei Fong knew this would have been the perfect opportunity to faint and just hope it was a dream, but Lady Bei Fong had never fainted before so why start now?
"Toph," she said, her voice as shocked as she would allow it, "but you're only eighteen!"
"Nineteen in a month," she corrected.
"You're far too young to get married!" Lady Bei Fong insisted (of course she insisted why wouldn't she insist?).
"Nineteen isn't too young to be married," Toph said, and she glimmered with that twelve-year-old defiance that she hadn't given up.
Lady Bei Fong changed tactics at the speed of light. "Then he's too old for you!"
"I'm only twenty-two," he interjected, and she wanted to scream at him that any age was too old to be marrying her baby.
"Toph, I don't even know this boy!" she cried, all thoughts of a gracious host gone.
"But I do and I love him and that's all that matters!"
"He doesn't even have your father's permission to marry you!" Another tactic, oh she had many.
"We'll get married even without his permission! You haven't been able to stop me before, so what makes you think you can stop me now?"
"Toph, I'm your mother! Show some respect!"
"Show some respect for me, Mom!" Toph said (Lady Bei Fong's heart soared at that—Mom—then plummeted). "I'm getting married and I thought you should know, maybe meet the man I love before that happens, but I don't need your approval!"
Lady Bei Fong hung her head. "I'm sorry, Toph," she said, and the truth always hurts the most, "but you're still twelve to me."
"And I'm sure I'm still the fragile, weak girl you thought I was back then too! But I'm not like that. I never was like that."
Lady Bei Fong sighed and cupped her head in her hands. "I'm sorry, Toph, I'm sorry. But… you're still my baby. Still young, still far too young to be getting married, least of all things. You're…" Her voice trailed off like her thoughts.
"You never thought Toph was going to get married, did you?"
Lady Bei Fong's head shot up, her eyes blazing at the boy who accused her of such family treason. "Of course not! But I always thought Toph would marry someone I approved of!" (The low blow, oh yes she'd done it now.)
"An arranged marriage, I presume?" The way he said it, so cold and knowledgeable, as if he knew exactly what she was thinking….
"If it would protect her from people like you!"
Lady Bei Fong looked up to find a bolder the size of that boy's over-inflated head hovering over her table, Toph standing taut next to it. Her face was angry and blotched with pink and Lady Bei Fong felt a rush of pride and fear. She had never seen Toph Earthbend before.
"No. We'll talk later. Mother, sit down."
Lady Bei Fong hadn't even noticed she was standing and now that she was she didn't want to sit down, but Toph hadn't returned that rock to the ground (she would never attack her own mother) and it was a rather large rock…. Lady Bei Fong sat, though rather begrudgingly.
Toph returned the bolder to the stone floor and sank stiffly into her seat. "Mother, Sokka and I are getting married in four months and I want you and Daddy at the wedding."
Lady Bei Fong looked from her flushed daughter to the man who was staring moodily at her from his chair. He was good-looking….
"Of course we'll come, Toph," she said in a rush of air from her lungs. "Of course we'll come."
Toph smiled at her, though Lady Bei Fong could almost feel how forced it was. "Good. And"—she leaned forward, and Lady Bei Fong leaned forward too—"I want you to know that Sokka is wonderful. He loves me and he'll take good care of me and I want you to like him too."
Lady Bei Fong nodded, then realized Toph couldn't see her and said, "Of course, of course." She turned to the Water Tribesman next to Toph and said thinly, "I'm sorry for yelling at you, Sokka, it was out of my place. I meant no disrespect."
He glared at her for a moment before Toph hit his arm. "I'm sorry as well, Lady Bei Fong. I shouldn't have upset you."
They nodded to each other and Toph sighed. "I suppose that'll do."
They finished their tea in a thick silence that Lady Bei Fong could hardly stand. She hated fighting with her only daughter, but marrying a Water Tribesman? Lady Bei Fong hated it when she couldn't change a situation, and this happened to be one of those situations that she couldn't change. She bid the two a good day as they left the estate to go to the inn they were staying in and slouched into her favorite chair that was still in the room nearest the front doors.
Lady Bei Fong loved her daughter more than life itself, but she couldn't help feeling uncertain about her marriage. It was true that Lady Bei Fong wanted to pick out a suitor herself for her daughter, but the way he said it made it sound wrong. Lady Bei Fong had to accept her daughter's choice, and she knew that (oh she knew it), and she only hoped Toph would forgive her for being so herself about it. She needed to be happy for her baby.
Besides, he didn't seem like a bad person. He was tall and quite good-looking and very protective of Toph (she didn't even seem to mind). Maybe he would make a good son-in-law… maybe. Lady Bei Fong would have to see, would have to test his mind and his wit and everything else she could possibly think of and if he wasn't perfect… but no. He was perfect for Toph, didn't she hear her say that? If Toph said he was perfect… maybe she could make the tests a bit easier, just for Toph's sake.
A sudden thought hit Lady Bei Fong with such an overwhelming realization it was as if she hadn't noticed it during the past few hours (but it had been there all along and she knew it). Her eyes filled with the happiest tears she'd ever shed as she whispered to herself, "My baby's getting married."
Lady Bei Fong only hoped Toph would fit in her old wedding dress.