Sokka paddled as hard as he could but as the darkness faded he felt his hope fading too, which to him was kind of strange, after all wouldn't it be easier to find her in the light?
Still, he didn't like the way his hope was fading, but he felt the urge to move on. Sokka heard walrus/seals fighting in the distance.
"I should stay away from them." He thought to himself but then an idea struck him. "Toph wouldn't be able to stay away from them, what if she went right towards them?" Fear quenched his heart at the new train of thought and he raced off in the direction of the walrus/seals.
He soon came upon them, fighting in the water, they were both tiring, they seemed to have been fighting a long time. He got as close as he dared to them watching the fight carefully while at the same time looking around, checking the surroundings. As he continued watching it seemed that one of them gave up and swam away, the other quickly followed.
Sokka paddled his canoe around the place where they had been fighting searching for any evidence that Toph might have been there. As he was paddling around he came to a spot where a piece of clothing was floating in the water.
Eager to find out what it was Sokka lifted the cloth and inspected it. He soon discovered it to be a shredded glove. He clenched it in his hand.
"Toph." He said. He raised his head and looked around.
"Toph!" he shouted loudly, but as his voice echoed through the ocean he lost all hope. What hope he had of finding her disappeared the moment he realized that she had come between walrus/seals.
But as he clenched his eyes shut, something caught his eye. He could barely see it from this far away, a speck of blue near the shoreline of a small island where a few walrus/seals resided.
He paddled over dolefully not really wanting to discover anything at this point, but as he got closer his hope grew slightly.
There hanging off the side of the island was a body. A small thin and wet body, beaten and bruised in a few places, but was it alive?
Sokka pulled up next to the body and gently lifted it into the canoe. He flipped her over gently and stared into her beautiful pale face.
"Toph." He said relieved tears coming to his eyes. He pulled her into an embrace before checking her vital signs.
Her heart beat was slow and weak, barely noticeable and she was freezing, he knew he had to help her fast. He pulled up to a part of the island that had less walrus/seals on it and carried Toph onto it.
He quickly started a fire with some of the materials he had then quickly removed most of Toph's wet clothing (I know unpleasant but necessary, I didn't do this for any specific reason in fact I was dreading this part but it had to be done wrinkles nose) he checked over her injuries and bandaged her bleeding head and bruised ribs before placing her in several blankets and a sleeping bag.
He then hung up her wet clothes and as soon as this was all through he climbed into the sleeping bag with her, using his body heat to keep her warm.
He desperately hoped that Katara and Aang would find them soon. He held Toph close to him never wanting to let her go. She was alive, that was all that mattered right now. As long as she woke up and didn't hate him for leaving her for so long he would be happy.
"Any sign?" Katara asked. She looked over at Aang and he shook his head sadly. She sighed.
"We should head back, we know she couldn't have come this far, we'll help Sokka in his search, we move a lot faster than he does anyway." Katara said. Aang nodded.
As they were heading over the water towards the general destination that they knew Sokka had gone, Katara pondered over what would happen if he didn't find Toph. She sighed and Aang looked at her.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"I just wonder what will happen… if we actually lose Toph." Katara said sadly. Aang frowned.
"Toph is a vital part of our group, she's my earth bending teacher and our good friend." Aang said. Katara nodded.
"But Sokka, he's already lost Suki and Yue." Katara said. Aang nodded.
"I think he'll give up if he loses Toph too." Aang said. They sat in silence a moment before Katara shook her head and but on a decisive countenance.
"But that won't happen, because we will find Toph." She said. Aang looked at her with a pained expression and she looked at him with a determined one. Aang huffed and straightened his shoulders and gave a curt nod.
"Yeah we will." He said.
Sokka woke up when he felt Toph move slightly, she barely shifted but it was enough to wake him up, and enough to give him all the hope he needed. She would make it, she was alive now and she was doing better that was for sure.
She'd be ok.
He moved his head so that it was propped up on his arm and just watched her sleep. He smiled and pushed a wet strand of hair out of her face. She stirred a little but didn't wake up.
He settled back down when he realized he was letting cold air into the sleeping bag and silently hoped that Katara and Aang were heading back by now.
He fell asleep with his arms wrapped around her tightly and sighed contently, he allowed his mind to drift to the possibility of losing her, to the time when he thought he had. He kissed her wet hair and sighed.
Toph woke up, she didn't move, she didn't shift, she just opened her eyes, which was strange, she didn't normally wake up by just opening her eyes, it didn't do anything for her, after all she was blind.
She blinked a couple times but nothing had changed, she was still blind and she still didn't know where she was. She started taking note of her surroundings. She was warm but her chest hurt and so did her head. What happened? She asked herself.
Suddenly all images of the last day appeared in her head, the cold journey, the walrus/seals the fight, the landing the ice block. So if that was what happened before, why was she here now, in fact where was she.
It was warm that was for sure, and as she continued to sit she realized that there was somebody lying next to her. They were probably in a sleeping bag or something, but who was with her. Then she heard him sigh.
Sokka. She thought blissfully she snuggled closer into him and felt him wake up.
"Toph?" he asked. She smiled at him wondering if he was looking at her.
"Hi." She said. "What happened? Where are we?" she asked.
"I found you." He said simply. She smiled at him.
"Yes." She said.
"You're alive." He said. She nodded. He hugged her carefully because he remembered her bruised ribs, it was at this point that Toph realized she had very little clothes on.
"Eep!" she shrieked. Sokka moved away.
"What?" he asked worriedly, she wrapped her arms around herself as best as she could amidst the blankets.
"Where are my clothes?" she asked in a high pitched voice.
"Oh." He said blushing. He slipped out of the sleeping bag and Toph immediately felt the change in temperature and was slightly disappointed.
Sokka walked over to her clothes.
"There still a little wet, why don't you stay in the sleeping bag a little longer." He said. She thought about it a moment then nodded.
"Where are Katara and Aang?" she asked.
"Looking for you in another direction." He said she nodded.
"You came here on a canoe." She said.
"Yes." He said.
She was silent a moment, "I felt my hope fading when the sun came up." She said. Sokka was surprised.
"Me too, maybe we gathered our source of hope from the night." He said.
"Or from the moon." Toph said. Sokka was surprised a moment and then thought about the night's events.
"Your right." He said. She frowned but didn't say anything.
Toph shivered. Sokka came back and slipped back into the sleeping bag. "Better?" he asked. She smiled.
"Yes thank you." She said.
She lay in his arms feeling safe for the first time in a couple hours. After awhile he checked on her clothes again and declared them dry enough for her to wear.
Toph nodded and ordered him to close his eyes. He did so and she slipped out of the sleeping bag, shivering slightly as she did, and put her clothes on as Sokka handed them to her. They were warm from being by the fire so long.
She smiled at him and ran her hands through her long wavy, wet hair. He led her to the fire and she warmed her hands.
"Thanks Sokka." She said.
"For what?" he asked.
"For rescuing me." Toph replied. He smiled.
"Toph you don't need to thank me for that, I couldn't live without you." He said smiling.
Toph blushed and smiled as Sokka looked to the ground, "I love you Toph." He said. Toph's smile turned to one of shock, her eyes widened and her jaw grew slack. She sat like that for several moments before Sokka cleared his throat. She shook her head waking up.
"I love you too." She said smiling. Sokka smiled but Toph couldn't see. He came around and kissed her and she kissed him back.
Toph felt a blast of air and turned her head her hair blowing behind her.
"Toph!" she heard Katara's and Aang's voices and smiled as they came to her. She hugged them both but winced.
"What's wrong?" Katara asked.
"Nothing." Toph said wanting to be tough.
"Her ribs are bruised." Sokka said. Katara looked at her concerned.
"And she hit her head." Sokka said.
Katara lifted her bangs up to see a nasty looking cut on Toph's head, it had scabbed over but it still looked bad.
Toph glared at Sokka as Katara retrieved some water and held it against Toph's head, Toph felt the pain in her head immediately disappear.
"We'll take care of your ribs when we get back to the village, I can't promise that I can make it better but I can do my best." She said smiling. Toph smiled at her.
They packed up and helped Toph onto Appa then flew back to the village. Momo sat on her shoulder content to just be with her. Toph reached her hand back and pat his head.
Once they were back they were bombarded by the women all wondering if she was alright, Toph smirked and assured them she was fine. They smiled at her happy to have her back.
Katara and Gran Gran took her into a hut to get her into new clothes and heal her ribs.
When she came out she was once again clean and comfortable, though her ribs were still a little sore they felt much better.
Sokka came and took her hand not really wanting to let her out of his sight for more than a few minutes, Toph hoped the protectiveness was only temporary, she didn't need Sokka hanging around her every minute.
A few days later they left the South Pole, Toph was silently glad, while she would miss the people there it was nice to be able to see again.
"I'm sorry you had to go through that Toph." Sokka said upset.
"That's ok." She said. "It was a learning experience." She said smiling. "And everything turned out ok."
"Yeah, but I'm never letting you out of my sight again." He said coming over and hugging her. She smiled and hugged him back, she hoped she didn't have to let him out of her sight anytime soon also.
AN: Hey guys so this is the last chapter of this section, I think next time I'll be doing the desert, but I do have one thing about that, it will prolly be like several years later so I'm going to skip the whole "defeating the fire lord" thing k? so… yeah…