Phoenix's Soul: (walks around an open field looking up at the sky scanning the clouds) Hmm, I wonder where they are right now?

Aang: Hey down there!(shouts from Appa's back behind Phoenix's Soul)

Phoenix's Soul: Aang, HO! Come on down.

(Appa lands with a soft roar and licks Phoenix's Soul lifting him off his feet covering him in saliva. Momo jumps down and lands on my head and starts looking for bucks chirping a little his theme song playing in the background.)

Phoenix's Soul: Nice to see you guys too. So Aang how ya been buddy.

Aang: I've been great.

Phoenix's Soul: Hey where is everybody else; Sokka, Toph, Katara, Zuko, Iroh and every body else.

Aang: Oh they're around, just me, Appa, and Momo could get away right now. We're here to help with the disclaimer.

(Appa roars and Momo chirps and growls)

Phoenix's Soul: Haha thanks guys, but I think I'll have to translate for yall. Appa and Momo said that I do not own anything from Avatar: The Last Airbender. But of course I do own this story that I am writing. Sorry to everyone who loves my OC's and all but not this time just the regular people.


Keeping Warm

"I really hate wearing these things!" Toph whined loudly for the hundredth time since she was forced by the others to wear boots over her feet.

"Complain all you want, Toph," Katara said a hint of sarcasm in her voice. "It's either wear the boots or loose your feet to frostbite. Then how will you ever see again?"

Toph mumbled something under her breathe the others couldn't hear and pulls her knees up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them. Sokka couldn't help but laugh to himself about the way Toph was acting. She was always tough and never really complained, but then when she was in the sky she was so reserved and now since her feet were covered she was acting just like a small child who was being forced to stay indoors on a rainy day.

It had been about a week since the end of the Great War. They were off to the South Pole to deliver the great news to their tribe. Toph had presented her complaints about the lack of earth in the area, but she was eventually over ruled by the others and reluctantly agreed to go with them.

"How much farther?" Toph whined.

"Not much further," Aang called from his seat at the front. "I can see the smoke of cooking fires just on the horizon."

"I can't wait to see GranGran again," Katara squealed. "I wonder how she's been doing since we left?"

"I can't wait to have some Seal Jerky," Sokka said more to himself than anyone else drooling slightly.

Toph gave a soft giggle trying to make it sound more like a cough than anything else. She always found it funny when Sokka went on one of his food rants. His voice went into a different pitch and tone when he did, and she enjoyed listening to him when he was like that. The only other times she heard him speak in that voice when it didn't involved food was either when he spoke of Suki or when he or someone else brought up the subject of a girl named Yue. No one ever would tell her who Yue was whenever she asked.

Judging from the direction from which she had heard his voice Toph looked at Sokka with a sort of dazed expression. How she longed for him to speak to her like that, even though she would never say that out loud. The young girl couldn't remember when she had come to the realization that she liked Sokka, but all she knew now was that she did even though he and as far she could tell no one else did.

Katara turned back from looking out at the horizon and noticed Toph doing something unusual. She smiled as she watched the young blind girl looking at Sokka and listening to his every word. She knew that look well, it was the same look she usually wore when Aang would tell her stories about the world he knew over a hundred years ago. Even though Katara knew Toph could not see Sokka she still liked to appear like a normal person even when she was off the ground.

Slowly coming out of his rambling about his favorite foods Sokka noticed that his sister was looking at something and smiling. The young warrior turned his head and noticed Toph staring at him. With out even thinking he asked what she was looking at causing her to snap back to the reality.

"Huh? What?"

"I asked what you were looking at Toph."

"I'm not looking at anything, Meathead," Toph snapped. "I can't see remember. Blind girl here."

She waved her hand in front of her face, a big fake smile plastered on her face. She prayed to the spirits that Sokka couldn't see her blushing as she pulled the fur covered hood of her jacket over her head. Sokka just shrugged and leaned back against Appa's saddle. He began to think to himself, about how Toph always seemed to act towards him. She always tried to keep him at arms length at times and then at others she let him in only to throw him back out. He closed his eyes and mulled things over in his head before drifting off into a light sleep.

About an hour later Appa began his decent. Sokka was awoken by something poking him sharply in the head. He opened his eyes and stared straight into Toph's fathomless ones. He seemed to be lost in those eyes until she gave him another poke.

"I'm already awake Toph," Sokka shouted rubbing the spot on his forehead where Toph had kept poking him.

"Well how was I supposed to know," Toph shouted back. "Can't you remember the simple fact that I'm BLIND?"

"Sorry," Sokka said rather softly.

Toph blinked stunned by what Sokka said. He never really said he was sorry for forgetting that she was blind, because he did that a whole lot. Katara and Aang looked at each other and then back at Sokka and Toph amazed at the sudden dramatic scene they had just witnessed. They touched down and immediately were barraged with a volley of cheers and shouts at their return.

Aang leapt from his perch on Appa's head and helped Katara slide down one of the bison's legs. Her feet barely touched the snow covered ice when she was swarmed by the young children all of whom where asking her hundreds of questions in a matter of seconds. Sokka jumped down and was greeted with a standing salute from the young boys from his makeshift guard he had set up before he left. All of who kept looking over at Katara and Aang. He smiled and motioned to them with his hand to go and join the others. They did so in a heartbeat joining in the shouting and cheering. Sokka's attention was draw back towards Appa by a soft whimpering whining noise. He turned and saw Toph trying her best to get down off Appa's leg.

Toph let out a soft scream of shock and kicked one of her legs out when she felt a pair of hands grip her around the waist. She felt her foot connect with something hard, but the hands didn't let go. She kicked several more times before she heard Sokka telling her to stop that it was him. Toph stopped and looked over her shoulder and her blind eyes landed on him. Sokka was glad Toph couldn't see his face because he was sure his nose was bleeding, but then again he couldn't feel much of his face after being kicked by the young earthbender.

"Oooh, sorry Sokka," Toph apologized fearing that she had just done some major damage to whatever part of his body she had hit, knowing both their luck she figured it had to have been his head at the very least.

"I'm ok Toph," Sokka replied merrily grinning through the pain. "You can let go I've got you."

Toph let go, and Sokka lowered her to the ground smiled at her. She looked so cute even though she had just kicked him several times in the face. She tested the snow covered ice and her face scrunched up a little showing that she didn't care for it. Sokka laughed and Toph glared at a spot two feet to Sokka's left and stuck her tongue out. She jerked back with a cold wet snow flake landed on her tongue and Sokka burst out laughing. Fuming Toph swung her fist and caught Sokka hard on the arm. He gave a yelp and rubbed the spot she had hit.

"Sokka, Toph, come on we're going to see GranGran," Katara had shouted a good distance away with the slew of people behind her and Aang.

"Come on Toph," Sokka said taking her hand in his and leading her towards his grandmother's snow hut.

A wave of warmth flooded through her when Sokka had taken hold of her hand. She blushed slightly and allowed herself to be lead by him. They walked for a few minutes and Sokka slowed, Toph assumed this was because they were nearing his grandmother's place.

"Ok, Toph, just bend down a little so you don't hit the top of the door," Sokka said softly as he guided her through the opening. Toph could feel the slight warmth of a fire, and the sent of cooking meat. Sokka lead her to a spot and said she could sit down and let go of her hand. She was a bit disappointed when he let go, and the warmth that she felt when they were touched vanished soon after. Toph could hear Katara's voice conversing with another she did not know and sat still and quiet. Then the unknown voice turned in her and Sokka's direction.

"Oh, Sokka, I'm so glad to have you both back safe and sound," GranGran said hugging Sokka and then noticing Toph beside him and her eyes began to shine like stars. "And I'm so proud of you."

"Why?" Sokka asked confusedly. "All I did was help Aang save the world is all. I didn't even do that much."

"No, not that," GranGran said smiling broadly. "I'm proud because not only have you brought great honor to our people, but you have also brought home a beautiful young bride."

Toph's head snapped into the direction of GranGran, Sokka's mouth dropped, and both Katara and Aang burst out laughing. The elderly woman looked around confused with a questioning expression on her face. As Sokka began to sputter out an explanation to his grandmother a small evil grin began to spread over Toph's face as an idea entered her mind.

"Oh I'm not Sokka's bride," Toph said sweetly in GranGran's direction.

"You see GranGran," Sokka said with a thankful look towards Toph.

"At least not for a few more months."

Sokka fell backwards his head hitting the icy floor, Aang and Katara both laughing harder than ever holding their sides, and Toph just sat there grinning. GranGran finally came to the realization that she had jumped to conclusions and the young girl was not her grandson's bride.

The next few hours were passed with the telling of stories, eating, and in the case of some of the older villagers drinking. After a time gifts were presented Aang, Katara, and Sokka. Aang was presented with a traditional hand woven poncho made from hair taken from Penguin-Otters. And GranGran assured him that they had shaved the fur from several Penguin-Otters and that they had not been skinned. Katara was given a very old waterbending scroll that had been discovered while the Northern Water tribe was helping in the restoring of the Southern Water tribe. She hugged her grandmother and a few tears rolled down her cheek. Sokka was given a brand new war mace made by the same man who had constructed his father's(Hey what can I say I liked him using the mace better than a machede). Toph who had not been expected did not receive anything, but she acted as though she didn't care. Sokka noticed however, that she acted a little depressed the rest of the night.

After another hour had passed Toph began to tire of the festivities and softly whispered Sokka's name. He barely heard her, but he responded to her by placing his hand gently on her arm. She leaned over in his direction and whispered something to him, and he whispered his answer back and the two of them stood. Sokka took her hand, the warm feeling spread through her once again and she let Sokka guide her out of the hut and into the night.

"I thought they were just friends," GranGran said leaning over to Katara while watching Sokka lead Toph out of the hut and as several of the older men kept smiling at him and giving him thumbs up that he did not respond to.

"They are," Katara replied merrily taking a sip from her cup.

"Then why are they leaving while holding each other's hands?"

"Because, GranGran, Toph is blind," Katara explained smiling softly to herself as she too watched the pair leaving hand in hand knowing that Toph was enjoying herself more than she would probably ever say having Sokka holding her hand.

Sokka and Toph walked away to a quieter part of the village. Toph was glad to be away from the party. She smiled inwardly at what had transpired early with Sokka and Katara's grandmother thinking she was Sokka's bride. She sighed thinking that would be nice someday. Sokka lead her into another hut and let go of her hand.

"Sokka?" Toph called out concerned.

"I'm right here Toph."

"Don't leave."

"I'm not going anywhere," Sokka answered his voice warm with slight amusement. "I'm just getting something. Ah here we go."

"What is it?" Toph asked cocking her head to one side.

"You'll see," he laughed at his own joke a little.

Toph stood still as she listened to Sokka work. She heard the sound of something being unrolled on the icy floor, and then she heard a soft pop as if Sokka had opened some sort of bottle. She could now hear a soft sound as Sokka poured something over the floor. Toph was getting anxious as to what was going on.

"Sokka, just tell me what's going on," Toph pleaded but no answer came. "Sokka?"

Now she was growing a little frightened. She had no idea what going on then she felt something grip her right leg. She stiffened and tried to pull away. Then she heard Sokka's voice soft and calm telling her to relax.

"Sorry I scared you," Sokka apologized as he undid the straps to Toph's boot and pulled it off.

"You didn't scare me," Toph growled trying to regain her composure even though it was really tough to be composed when it was just the two of them alone. "What are you doing anyway?"

"Just wait," was his only answer as he pulled off her other boot.

Her feet weren't getting cold, she found that strange until she realized she was standing on a blanket of some sort. This must have been what he had unrolled earlier. Sokka took her hand again and guided her forward. She took two steps and then as her foot came down for the third step instead of blanket it was greeted by….

"Earth!" Toph squealed loudly a big smile spreading across her face. "This is earth. When, where, why, how?"

"Just before we left," Sokka laughed heartily while watching her dance around on the little patch of earth he had made for her. "After you had gotten on Appa I took a bit of extra time digging up a good amount of earth so you wouldn't feel so out of place down here."

Toph stopped her little dance cession and looked at Sokka without really looking at him since he was standing on her little patch of earth with her. She hung her head and turned away from him. She couldn't stop the tears and she didn't want him to see her cry. She was supposed to be tough and unmoving like stone. She couldn't show weakness not to him. She could feel him moving towards her and she moved away from him.

She took a step too far, however, and her foot touched the ice. She slipped and fell back into Sokka's arms. As he caught her Sokka over balanced and fell backwards too. The two of them landed heavily on the floor a cloud of dirt floated down around them and Toph looked up at Sokka, who even though he knew she couldn't see was smiling down at her.

"Thank you Sokka," Toph said quietly getting off Sokka and sitting down next to him. "You didn't really have to do this you know."

"Yeah, I know."

"Then, why did you do it?"

"Because, Toph, I care about you, and I don't like seeing you uncomfortable."

So many things began rushing through her head Toph could barely think straight. He cared about her, he really cared. But how much did he care? Was it just a friends thing or could there be more?

Just then she felt Sokka stand up. She looked up at him as he brushed the earth from his clothes. Once he left the patch of earth Toph stared blankly in the direction he had moved. She could hear him moving things around and then felt something soft land next to her. She felt it and realized it was her sleeping bag.

"It's time we went to sleep," Sokka said. "We have a lot to do tomorrow."

Toph nodded smiling softly and unrolled her sleeping bag. She crawled into it and pulled it up over her head. Thank you Sokka, for everything. She thought to her self and smiled as she felt her face grow hot and the blush creeping across her cheeks.

"Good night, Toph," Sokka yawned and rolled over onto his side and fell asleep.



Phoenix's Soul: So Aang what did you think about the story?


Phoenix's Soul: AANG!

Aang: Aaaaggghhhhh! What's going on?

Phoenix's Soul: You fell asleep?!

Aang: Sorry Phoenix's Soul. I'm not good at sitting still listening to stories I prefer to tell them.

Phoenix's Soul: Whatever, just you wait till I have a talk with Katara.

Aang: Now, now there is no need to drag Katara into this.

Phoenix's Soul: KATARA! KATARA!

Aang: No don't wait.