Sight Unseen

iRed Zero

Toph x Aang Oneshot – what can I say, they're so adorable together I couldn't help myself from writing the pairing. I tried to capture the way they are as best I can but I probably didn't nail it so sorry in advance. I really did try.

She fell into meditative thoughts almost from the start, it always happened when she started training. Toph stretched slowly, sinking her feet into the earth. Without the ground, Toph would be like other blind people and she'd have to own up to her own handicap. She smiled wryly at the notions the others must have had of her, a blind slip of a girl.

No matter how easy it was to forget, Toph was still blind. Though she could use the earth to 'see' as well as any sighted person, sometimes the plain truth of Toph's blindness struck her companions and they felt sorry for the poor girl who didn't know what colors were or even what she looked like. She knew that even though she was a powerful bender – the best earthbender and metalbender! – they would sometimes think her limited and helpless, especially when she wasn't on the ground. But they didn't know that Toph's visual impairment helped her see better than anyone else could.

Toph shifted her stance, burying her toes in the packed dirt firmly as she raised her arms. She could feel activity all around her. If she concentrated hard enough, she could even feel Aang and Katara hustling around the campsite and Sokka chasing Momo. She smiled briefly at the familiarity of their actions before returning to her training. The earth itself practically sung as she punched the air rhythmically, throwing rocks.

Despite what her companions might think of her, it was her blindness that allowed her to understand them better. Whenever Aang spoke to Katara she could almost taste his affection for her, tangling around each and every word. He professed his love with almost every word and his actions. Toph could feel how his gaze stayed on the Waterbender a little longer than usual, and she could feel the secret glances and the slight guilt in his footsteps that gave him away.

She ran a hand through her hair; she could feel it coming dangerously unbound from her exertions. Quickly she loosened it and it fell down in long waves. Toph shook her head slightly; though she wore her hair up every day it still sometimes gave her a headache. She wondered how her companions would react to seeing her with her hair down, she'd bet they'd freak, even though she didn't understand why they placed so much importance on what she looked like. It's not like it changed a thing about her. If only they could see what she saw. If only Aang could see what she saw. Toph let loose a barrage of punches and kicks, deciding she enjoyed the feel of her hair whipping around from her movements. She could almost feel it in her bone marrow that Katara was a motherly figure to him, even if he didn't acknowledge it. His perseverance in thinking it romantic was starting to grate Toph's nerves.

She was anything if not straightforward and the way the Avatar was lying to himself irritated her, especially when her own feelings were involved. The quicker Aang realized that Katara provided a mother's comfort and the strength he craved in an unfamiliar world that had left him behind, the sooner he would realize what he wanted for himself. And hopefully he would turn to Toph. She was strong and honest and she had a sense of humor, plus it didn't hurt she was a better earthbender than him. Aang wouldn't know what hit him. Toph just hoped it would happen soon, she couldn't wait for him forever.

She turned to traditional Earthbending moves, arranging her body into the basic positions and then going through the ancient forms as she thought. If he realized the truth too late, there wouldn't be any hope for them. Toph would already be gone, probably stuck in an arranged marriage her parents had negotiated. She'd heard her whole life, usually in hushed whispers from one maid to the other, that one day she would marry another noble, thus securing the Bei Fong family's honor. She'd only have a few years left to choose her own path before she'd be forced to submit to her family's will. She knew they'd want her to be paired with someone powerful, and who was more powerful than the Avatar? If she couldn't change his feelings in time, she'd never have him. She poured her energy into precision and strength, making sure her Earthbending was both refined and powerful. Toph sighed; this was the one thing she couldn't force. If she tried too hard she might just force him into Katara's arms.

Life was complicated.

She groaned, her arms dropping to her sides. She was tired and still hadn't resolved anything. That was part of the reason she had wanted to get away from the others, even for just an hour. Every time she left to practice it wasn't just to keep her skills sharp. Despite knowing she was doing the right thing by staying out of it, she needed reassurance. She'd heard that love only got stronger as time went on and Aang's infatuation with Katara seemed to grow steadily. Toph let out a growl of frustration and punched the ground beneath her, creating a crater. Boys were so dumb!

She brushed the dirt off her knuckles, noticing that the heat around her wasn't as overpowering as before. She figured a decent amount of time had passed and she needed to get back to their camp before someone came looking for her, someone like Aang who she might punch in her current state. Toph cracked her knuckles and wiggled her toes in the comforting dirt and breathed in. The walks back always helped cool her off and she'd feel less aggravation towards the thickheaded Airbender once she arrived. As she set off to their makeshift home, Toph busied herself with feeling the vibrations through the earth, and using her keen ears to enjoy the birds chirping to each other. She focused mostly on the campsite, now out of habit, and what her companions were doing. Like usual there wasn't a drastic change, Katara was cooking something and Aang was probably doing something very Airbenderish because she picked up his signature light footsteps very erratically. Sokka as far as she could figure was pacing, and from the way Katara's footsteps suddenly became heavier and jerkier, he was probably being annoying.

Toph smiled. Her new family was strange, and they didn't understand her very well, but they didn't try to consciously limit her and most of the time they forgot she really was just a very young and talented blind Earthbender girl who was very much ignorant of the real world.

"- I'm just saying, I'm the real backbone of this team," Sokka said, his tone and pose very confident. Toph could tell he was being serious and smirked slightly.

"And Aang's just a bunch of leechy nuts?" Toph interjected before Katara could squawk angrily at him.

A hush fell over the campgrounds. Twinkle Toes was on solid ground, but the transition had been awkward.

"What's wrong?" Toph asked defensively, her eyebrows beginning to furrow slightly in annoyance, fists balling up at her sides.

Sokka was emitting strange almost gurgling noises and Toph was sure if she could see him, it'd be a strange sight.

"Your hair …" Katara breathed out.

Toph snorted. "That's what the big fuss is all about?"

"Honestly, people who can see are so weird. It's only hair, you'd have thought I'd lost a limb or something, jeez…" She ran a hand through her long slightly tangled locks and scowled, there was a reason she always wore her hair up. It was such a pain to take care of it! Back at home there were servants to take care of the Bei Fong heiress' hair and brush it to perfection, but when she was traveling with the group, her hair hadn't exactly been her number one priority.

Subtly, so soft she almost didn't feel the vibrations, Twinkle Toes moved towards her. "Wow Toph, I didn't know you had so much hair!"

His incredulous tone annoyed her; she hissed out, "I'm glad I'm not like you, baldy."

And with that Toph marched over to Appa and sat down firmly, glaring in the general direction of the group, ignoring Sokka's loud giggles and Katara's words of disapproval to him.

Aang's footsteps were heavier now and Toph could more fully feel the vibrations, feel him. She ducked her head down as she fixed her hair and smiled. Someday.