I don't own Avatar.
I don't own Nick (if I did, there would be more shows like Avatar)
I don't own squat. (Except I do own a camera. Does that count for anything?)
The Sight of Thunder
Thunder had always been Toph's favorite thing about storms. Whenever a storm racked Gaoling in the middle of the night, she'd walk out into her yard and stand, loving every second as the sound rumbled over everything on the land. When she was younger she told her father how she loved storms. How they mand everything seem so alive. Everything was moving - rain hitting every surface, lighting up her world wigh beautiful vibrations.
Her father wouldn't hear a word of it - ordering her two hand servants to tak her back to her room - and to make sure her windows were latched tight on nights of such a storm.
That didn't stop her from feeling it. From seeing.
Now, underneath the shelter of a small jutting rock from some rock formation not far from thier camp, Toph smiled as the storm slowly turned the lights on.
"I told you to put up the rain guards!"
"Who would've thought it would rain during dry season?"
"I did! But you never listen to me!"
Toph rolled her eyes in disqust at another squable between the water siblings. They were from a nation where people thrived in the water - what was a little rain?
"Shut-up," she said softly as Sokka rambled on about how he did infact listen to his sister, and it truly was her that did not open her ears to his suggestions, bringing up some stories about fishing and whaleing and somthing about an iceburg.
Aparently Katara did not hear her as she answered Sokka's agrument with "If I hadn't broken the Iceburg, we wouldn't have Aang, now would we?"
Obviously, neither did Aang, as he suddenly, and curiously enquired, "You broke that iceburg, Katara?"
"Toph-" Sokka began, but was stopped by her hand.
"Shut-up, and let me enjoy this . . ."
"What?" two voices sounded almost simultaneously. Sokka was still dumbfounded by Toph's hand suddenly entering his personal space.
She walked out into the rain and basked in the glory of the world around her. Trees movied violently against the wind. The stream, not far from them, where they had washed up in only hours ago, was threatening to overflow. Rocks took shape and plants reached up to the storm - as in prayer - showing her thier true beauty.
She hadn't been in a storm like this in a long time. It was perfect.
The rain began to pour harder as she twirled around in it, laughing in pure joy. She turned to her companions, smile fading from her face. They were still hiding from her beneath nature's umbrealla.
She had half a mind to earthbend it away.
"Toph!" Sokka started, "What are you doing?"
"Are you out of your mind?" Katara screamed, "get back in here before you catch a cold!"
Aang didn't say anything. Toph did, however, feel him move out into the rain. Then she felt his bald head, and his sholders, his ever growing wet airbending clothes, down to the tops of his tiny feet. She saw him smile and it brought one to her face. He winked, and she was taken aback.
"Katara," he said - before turning back to the waterbender and holding his hand into the dry would under the awning, "Dance with me."
Toph could tell by the sound of his voice that it was not a question.
When Katara stepped into the Toph's light, her expression cofirmed the earthbender's thoughts on the command. The girl was shocked, pleased, and timid as she stepped into Aang's arms. The airbender pulled her out further into the opening, gathering her up in his arms, her holding him tightly as she could and together they rocked back and forth on thier feet.
For the first time, Toph saw what other's saw everyday: the love those two had togther. The rain, thier expressions, thier embrace, it all took her breath away. She had always been a softy for sappy romance stories and happy endings.
But if anyone knew that . . . she'd beat them within an inch of thier life - threating if they told anyone, she'd personally see to it that the last inch she had spared was spent in a slow, painful, miserable exsistance.
That didn't keep her from smiling at the sceen around her though.
One thing was missing, she thought suddenly : Sokka.
Sokka had yet to come out of hiding.
Oh, Sokka. The boy was clueless. She had harbored a crush on the guy since thier all night adventure running from Princess Phyco and her gang of Merry Mad-Women (as she and Sokka so delightfully refer to them as). He was idioic and clumsy and she found it all hoplessly sweet and charming. He was easy to pick on, and he was older than her - so it gave her an added rush to know that she could send him away sulking with only a few words said.
She always regretted it later, but the guy seemed to bounce back faster than a Rabbaroo - she couldn't help it - she didn't know how else to show friendship - or hint at somthing more . . . Yet, he remained clueless.
If only . . . if only.
Katara had of her suspecions for awile now- but nothing was confirmed until she went dancing in the rain with Aang. Over the monk's shoulder (which was suddenly level - higher, actually, if she slouched - than her shoulders) she could see the girl staring longfully into thier nature-made shelter. She wasn't shocked at her feamale friend's expression or body language, what shocked her was her brother.
In the fourteen years of Katara's life, she could count - on one hand - how many times she saw this look on his face.
Sokka was fun, and childlike. He was aloof and clumsy. He had a tendency to act before thinking about the reprecussions. He liked to tease and joke and have a good round of witty banter with anyone willing. He was a hard worker, but he made everything he did funny - or at least enjoyable. He could make a bad situation a whole lot lighter on everyone's shoulders by a simple word or action.
He would say he never meant to do those things, but Katara knew better.
One thing Sokka was, that he tried not to let anyone thing, was serious. But the emotion was written all over her brother's face.
She'd have to start using another hand now.
The face started her, but when she followed his gaze (surprised to find that his face was not directed to her and Aang like she first suspected it would) and found it to be on the blind girl in the clearing with them, she halted her dancing. This upset Aang as he pulled away from her shoulder to look at her, followed her gaze and lifted his chin in some silent understanding.
Katara could not understand why his reation wasn't quite so dramatic.
The aibender leaned his head back to her shoulder and she swore he bended the very air from her when his lips grazed her ear as he whispered, "let's give them some space."
She couldn't help but smile and laugh softly, raising an eyebrow as he sqeezed her hand and pulled her toward the unsuspecting woods.
"Sokka?" Toph called out.
The girls voice woke Sokka up from his gaze. He had not realised that he had been staring. He noticed his sister being pulled by some guy in yellow into the trees (and in the back of his mind somthing told him he should be more concerned with this fact), but for some reason, he couldn't pull himself from the earthbender in front of him.
Katara had told him of her suspesions about the girl's crush on him awhile ago - not long after the fall of Ba-Sing-Sae. Since then, he had given concious effort to not help it along, for the age difference was terribly drastic, and the whole fact he was with Suki - if he could ever find her again. It was a little crush, and her probably her first one too, it would pass . . . right?
None of that was in Sokka's head.
In fact, none of it had been in his head since she had walked out into the rain. He had been worried, ready to grab her at Katara's word, but when none came and the girl's face grew wide and happy, embracing the world and weather around her - looking genuinly happy - he felt happy.
"Sokka? Are you still there?" she joked. He smiled.
Lightning flashed - highlighting the world for him - if only for a moment, but a moment was enough. He saw her the way he was meant to see her - hair plastered to the side of her face, eagerly awaiting her relpy. Her huge, bulky clothing had fallen to the rain, showing her off - not in a womanly way, for she was still young yet, but it gave his once tough conotation of her a bit of a set back. The rain showed her off in a way that Sokka was not prepared for : small. Tiny. Breakable.
It scared him - and suddenly as the lightning - he was looking at her differently.
He knew she was strong and capable, but all he wanted to do right then was take her in his arms and protect her.
The thunder rolled, shaking the ground, allowing Toph to see into his dry haven. He was staring in a way she had only dreamt of (and she almost pinched herself - with the perfect storm, Aang and Katara leaving them alone, and Sokka staring - she thought herself dreaming) and she felt suddenly vulnerable.
He was seeing her, the girl she tried to hide behind the Blind Bandit, the happy, romantic, shy, scared girl. He saw her and she knew - he knew - he would never see her the same way again.
He stepped out into the storm as the last of the thunder rolled around them, over him, through her, she wished, not for the first time, that she was as old as she felt. With every heavy step he took, she shivered - the vibrations stronger than ever. Maybe it was the storm. Maybe it was him.
She may never know, but when he took her in his arms - amidst the hard rain and cold wind - she didn't care.
When he pulled back from thier embrace, she could see him. He was one of the few faces she had seen like this this close. His eyes closed as her hands roamed his face - memorizing him in her mind - how he felt, the hint of sideburns, the rough of his chin where he had shaved his mini stubble - and he placed his hands on hers and slowly, before he could think about it, leaned down and took her lips with his.
And he - not for the first time - forgot that she was twelve. The way she was kissing him back, eagerly, unsure, and a bit sloppy, made him feel like he was having his first kiss all over again.
The rain poured down thier faces, falling from thier chins, falling as thier hope did; into small puddles forming at thier feet.
Sokka pulled back first, her leaning into what was and what would never be. She was happy that her tears mixed with the falling rain, even though she knew he knew better.
Yet another thing he knew about her over anyone else.
"Maybe if I were older then?" she asked, head hung.
He grabbed her chin and forced her to face into his view, "When your older."
She smiled at the small hope he had given her, "When I'm older then, I'm holding you to it."
"You better." He stood for a moment, "So, until then . . ." he trailed as he dropped his head down to capture another kiss - one that would have to last each of them the lonely, jealous filled years to come.
They didn't part until Sokka had her back under the rock, sitting against the farthest wall.
The next morning, Sokka woke uncharaistically first, to find the earthbender asleep against his shoulder, he smiled at her sleeping form and looked around.
"Hey!" he startled Toph awake.
"What? I'm up! Who's attacking?"
"Where are Aang and Katara?"
Toph stood for a moment, taking in everything about the night before, and laughed at the warrior's obvious realization.
Thank you for reading. It means alot to me, even though you might not review - I'm not going to ask for one because I rarely write one, I just wanted to get this out of my head. Sorry for spelling errors every now and then. I don't have a spell checker. My computer is old.