Short A/N: Probably my longest ever one-shot, featuring my new canon-pairing next to Jet x Zuko (which is close enough to crack!slash anyhow), Tokka. I sat myself down and just starting writing random things and my hands wrote this. Different from my normal style, kind of.
Warnings: Almost fluffy. Almost.
She can see just fine.
Well, not really see, but it's something like it, almost. To be honest, she thought it was better than seeing.
Not that she would know.
She disregards that trivial fact.
No, Toph can see just fine. She's at no disability, especially when she was bending. Everything was very clear in her mind—no color, no lines, no sight, no vision, no shades of grey, nothing at all in between. A very black-and-white person, some might call her, but she doesn't quite know what this means, only that it is saying that she is only one way or another.
Toph doesn't care about color, but she's sure it's not much.
"Color," Katara tries to explain, "is this dimension of reality, like a part of the physical world that defines some things. Think of it like the nations; blue and white is water, unexplainable and mellow and powerful all at once, and fire is black and red and it's hot and forceful and unrestrained. Air is yellow and orange and brown—bright and billowing, and sometimes it's there and then it's not. Earth is green and grey and gold—it's substantial, solid, tangible, right there in your face but never overpowering, and sometimes it's hard or soft, depending on the way it's treated. That's color."
Toph listens and picks apart, but she still doesn't understand.
How can color, such a fantastical and fascinating and complex thing, be physical?
"Color," Aang will try to tell her, "is like the plants and animals. Take Momo! He's bright, all flighty and happy and soft. That's orange. And that tree would be brown, you know? It's big and heavy but graceful and alive. And blue and silver is like—like a fish. It moves wherever the world takes it and it's shiny. And red—well, I think red is this really feral, wild color, so I'd think of a panther-bear or a wolf-bull."
Toph mulls over this, but still, she doesn't understand.
How can color, so living, so moving, be at all real?
But when Sokka explains it, it dawns upon her.
"It's like different parts of your face," he tells her, late into the night, long since everyone's gone to sleep. His words are drowsy but content, and his movements are lethargic.
His fingers touch her face, and Toph is caught off-guard.
No one has ever touched her face before.
"I think your eyes are like water. Even though you're blind, other people can see who you are. They're pretty, which feels kind of like a smooth rock fitting perfectly in your hand." His hand brushes her lashes, and she can feel heat rising from her stomach and unfurling onto the surface of her skin. "Your eyes are probably blue, crystal clear and dark without something to reflect on. You're always reflecting, so they're always beautiful."
She carefully folds it into her mind.
"Your ears are like air; sometimes they're perky and ready to listen, but sometimes you wish you could just shut them up for a while. Think of how you are when you're listening to Aang sing. It's that kind of feeling. They're yellow, like the sun; it's really nice except when you're aggravated, like when you're just waking up or something." He tugs on her earlobe playfully. "Your ears are cute, like a butterfly-kitten jumping on your stomach when you're sleepy."
Cute. Sunny. Yellow.
This she also stores away gently.
"Your skin is like earth. It can stand up to lots of things, and it shows all the things that have happened to it. When you're mad, your skin follows the way your anger curves in your body and makes your face angry; when you're happy your skin lightens up and you feel like you could fly. That's the color of your skin, kind of a tan brown, like sand in your fingers or dancing in tall grass." He traces the line of her jaw with his thumb, his palm resting gently her cheek. "Your skin is warm and soft; it's yours and yours only."
Soft. Warm. Brown.
She tucks this into the folds of her thought.
"Your mouth is most definitely fiery. When you're upset it's yelling, honest and white-hot. When you're happy, it crackles with playful words and things that might seem mean but are in good nature. Your mouth is red; it's always passionate and feeling about something. The best way I can describe your kind of red is, it's like a kiss. Even if it's angry, it still says 'I love you,' sometimes without even meaning to. A real kiss is never planned, it just happens; it's not afraid to show what it's about. That's your kind of red."
When the back of his hand just touches her lips, Toph almost dies.
In the daze that follows her thoughts soon after, she almost doesn't hear him.
"You think you get it?"
She fumbles to get her head back on straight, and then snaps back at him, indignant. "Of course. Don't ask me like I'm stupid."
She hears him yawn a sleepy "sorry" and roll over, promptly beginning to snore.
She would kick him in the head if she weren't already in her sleeping bag.
She would kick herself for thinking "this was the perfect excuse for her to finally touch his face" if she was physically capable.
Sometime later, Toph will ask Sokka if she could touch his face. He will not decline.
Both her hands will reach, and the first thing they will touch is his eyes. Blue, white, silver, glittering, beautiful. Unexplainable. A fish, a smooth rock in her hands.
She'll touch his ears and tug gently and laugh quietly. Yellow, orange, brown, soft, sunny. Billowing. A flying lemur, a butterfly-kitten.
She'll feel the length of his face, tracing the rise and fall of his skin. Green, grey, gold, alive, graceful. Tangible. A tree, a dance in tall grass.
And when she touches his lips, she'll be amazed to find herself on the tips of her toes, face to face with him, tracing the lines of his smile.
Unrestrained, wild, passionate, honest, hot, angry, feeling
A real kiss is never planned.
"I love you," she hears her lips say.
In her mind, colors are exploding, consuming, sudden and real and she kisses him, kisses him like he is her air, her water, her earth, her fire, her color, her life.
When he kisses her back, she is very, very sure that this is what seeing is like.
Oh, Toph can see just fine; she is not blind in any way of the term except physically, and she's quite alright with that.
Who needs to see when color is in the way your lover smiles?