A/N: I would like to thank pandacookie's fic Hate Me. Thank you. Now a lot have requested an explanation for the drabble Unfortunate, and here it is. Sorry about the title, I couldn't think of anything.
Now if you haven't read the drabble in Relationships and Contemplations called Unfortunate you may not know why I'm writing this. Please go check that out first, so you get an idea of what's going on.
Warnings: Now the rating is for a mentioned lime (not explicit) and this fic borders on infidelity (some may not like that, so if you're one of them please leave). And there is a difference between infidelity and adultery, so don't worry there won't be any adultery here.
Summary: Love, lust, and marriage doesn't automatically go hand in hand. Not all marriages are heaven on earth; and sometimes love isn't enough. Life is no fairytale. Taang
"Love that we cannot have is the one that lasts the longest, hurts the deepest, & feels the strongest." -Unknown
"The worst way to miss someone is when they are sitting right beside you and yet you know that you can never have them." ---Unknown
"His eyes upon your face; his hand upon your hand; his lips caress your skin; it's more than I can stand. Why does my heart cry? Feelings I can't fight; you're free to leave me; but just don't deceive me; and please believe when I say: I love you." --El Tango de Roxanne, Moulin Rouge
They couldn't be together because he was the Avatar. It wasn't like her parents were against her marrying the Avatar, it was just she couldn't--though how would they ever know since Aang's relationship with his former earthbending teacher had been a secret. Unfortunately it didn't last too long because it hindered the Avatar from doing his duty without holding back. It left the both of them heartbroken but they--especially Toph---appeared strong and held their grounds. However some knew better. Despite Toph's exterior, she just wasn't the same anymore. Something, somewhere—deep deep down broke.
Toph never really saw herself as the type that would break down for anyone, most of all a guy. Toph always got what she wanted, she always had something in mind, she always found a way; but finding a way to be together with Aang there was no right solution. Sure, they could run away together and be married, but then what would happen? Aang was the Avatar and he had to put the world before anything--even her.
The heiress' parents realized their daughter's change in personality--the one they weren't used to-- and didn't know what to do, or how to help. Over the years, they knew their daughter's true self as she would visit once and a while. She was now acting like she had back then, pretending to be the fragile little girl they always thought she was. Lao and Poppy didn't know whether to be thankful or worried.
Because Toph was of age, there had been talk of Toph getting married. Other nobles whispered rumors that maybe that was why the earthbender was depressed or she was ready to be the wife, a nobleman expected of his wife. "She needs a husband," friends would say, and Lao and Poppy agreed because they still saw her as the fragile little girl that needed help, and acting such as really did help the matter. They thought that her husband could take care of her; they thought that the man could handle the family business and she could play hostess. They didn't know that their daughter was suffering from a broken heart, and did not need any help, save for getting over him.
Toph's friends tried, King Bumi tried, and even Guru Pathik tried but neither she or Aang could be lifted. At first their friends thought the two of them were fighting, then they thought that something had happened, then they thought that the two youngsters had fallen for one another and were confused, but then they realized that the two of them were way passed that point and were now at the point where they knew they couldn't be together.
"That's just absurd! They could be together!"
"No they couldn't Katara. He can't have any attachments. Sure he's a monk, and they can get married--but he's the Avatar first and foremost."
It had been a shock, heartbreaking, and for their friends, an outrage when they heard Lao proposed, "Toph you are to be married. You are to marry Renshu of the Jiang family. They are wealthy, respectable, and well known. Renshu will make a fine husband for you. He's a good man, daughter."
Toph stayed silent. It was so unlike her not to retaliate. Aang was seated next to her, he turned his head to look at her expression. They were blank, almost submissive. She was practically saying, As you wish Father.
Aang dropped his head. Maybe this was a good thing for her, maybe this way she could get over him and this new man could help ease the pain and put the pieces back. Jealousy boiled in his veins: he didn't or couldn't see another man with Toph—to embrace her, to kiss her, to touch her, to breathe her earthly scent.
"Toph?" Poppy called out, breaking her daugher and Aang's thoughts.
"Excuse me," Toph rose and walked swiftly out of the room. Aang looked at her retreating form and bowed to the elders and followed after her. He wasn't surprised to see her in the garden, sitting on a stoned bench. He walked over to her and sat beside her, uninvited.
"I will not marry him," she said firmly. "I will never marry. Why should I be tied down to marriage? I don't need anyone--" it was somewhat a lie because she needed her friends and she wanted Aang, "I don't need to be taken care of--" now that was the truth, "and I don't need to be set up. I'll continue to travel with you."
"Toph you can't do that forever," Aang said quietly.
"And why not?!" she demanded.
"Because what happens when you get old? You can't travel forever. You'll have to settle down, and it'd be better to settle down if you're not alone."
"I won't be alone," she insisted stubbornly, "I'll be with you."
"Toph," he wouldn't lie to himself that when she said those words, that he wasn't happy. He was extremely happy that despite it all, she still wanted him. "No. I won't let you. I won't let you. You're going to stay here."
"Don't tell me what to do," she replied sharply. "No one--not even you Twinkle Toes will order me around."
Aang knew he had no right, but she needed to move on. How could he push her to another man's arms? Because whatever he said to her, she would know he was lying despite that she couldn't see it in his eyes. Because no matter what he did, she wouldn't buy it nor give in to it. "You can't stay with me forever."
"Who says I want to stay with you forever?" she bit back harshly, hiding her pain. "Who says I'm doing this for you?"
"I don't need anybody Twinkle Toes!" she reminded him angrily. "I was all right before I met you. And I'll be all right."
Aang honestly wished that he could believe her; he honestly wished that it was true. However, he knew better. It was obvious in those green orbs of hers, and whether she didn't realize it or not, she changed drastically. Several days seeing Toph in her current state, it was obvious even in her parents' eyes. It was enough to convince them that Toph needed someone to do something.
The Lord and Lady Bei Fong decided to introduce their daughter to the man they chose to be her husband, one night during dinner. Prior to that, anything that came out of Toph's mouth was utter fury and reluctance--and a few profanities in private.
The Avatar didn't know why he decided to stay, he knew that he should've left that morning, but a part of him urged him to stay. He had to see for himself the man who would come to take the woman he loved, away. Not that he had any reason whatsoever to complain since he was pushing them together. Aang met the fellow before Toph did, and the two conversed in the gardens of the Bei Fong family's residence.
"I hear Miss Toph is as beautiful as a lotus flower," he commented to the Avatar.
"Not even close," Aang replied.
"Are you saying she is not attractive?"
"I'm saying that her beauty can't be compared to anyone," the Avatar corrected. Toph was rough around the edges, he'd admit, but she was beautiful. Or maybe love was blind, maybe people are only beautiful because you loved them. However when he looked back, her smile--her genuine smile was beautiful. Her long black hair, her eyes, the way she bended the earth, everything was beautiful about her. He shook his head, trying to erase the sentimental feelings away from his mind. They were never going to be.
"Is that so?" the noble smiled. "Though I hear she is...rebellious."
Aang silently dared him to continue that sentence, he wanted him to say what he was probably thinking. Bastards. They were all the same. They wanted their wives to be submissive to their will--this beautiful doll that did everything and anything they wanted night and day. He wondered if this man was the type to hit a woman if she were to disobey. The Avatar waited for him to say something, so he could have an excuse to pummel him into the ground. Though Renshu never did say anything.
Later that night, Renshu and Toph met. He was quite amazed at her beauty and told Aang that he was right about her being more beautiful than a lotus flower. He bowed respectively to her but she did not return it. Her parents made a displeased or even worried look, due to their daughter's lack of manners. They were probably thinking that her time with the Avatar and his friends have erased her knowledge of mannerism. Eventually, Toph did warm up to the third son and child of the Jiang family and treated him like a human being, something that Aang could not deny to himself, made his heart split in two.
It was night when she told the Avatar of her decision. A cool, breezy night with the full moon shining above them.
"I've made my choice," she told him quietly. "I'm going to marry him. Not because my parents are forcing him on me." One would think that that would dissuade her more, since she always had a habit of doing the opposite of what her parents told her. "Not because I have to," because no one could make Toph do anything she didn't want to do, "but because it would seem traveling is over for me. I've 'seen' the world and I guess I have nothing else to do."
Aang wanted to say that she could do more, but this is what he wanted--no needed. Toph was suffering and he was the cause, therefore she needed to move on before something dreadful happened to her.
"Anyway I guess I would eventually have to marry if I wanted my family's fortune and name to go on. And more importantly you don't want me around anymore. I'm not one to stay when someone utterly despises me being around," she finished.
Aang wanted to scream, No! You're not one to care if someone doesn't want you around or not, you stay if you want to! He didn't want to end things like this and he didn't want her to believe that! But didn't he need her to believe that? No matter how wrong it was? No matter that it was all lies, that he really did want her to stay with him forever? Unfortunately, the Avatar's feelings got the better of him. "Toph you don't honestly believe that, do you?!" he grabbed her by her upper arms, pulled her close to him and shook her, looking into her unseeing eyes. "Do you?"
Toph pulled herself away from him, and then pushed Aang away when he did not relent. "Well isn't? You're pretty much pushing me to him."
Aang opened his mouth to say something but closed his mouth soon after. He looked away sadly, "You're making it sound like I don't care for you anymore." He found the will to look at her again, observing her features carefully and thoroughly.
Maybe she needed to believe that.
Maybe it was the only way she could go through with it all.
Aang wrapped his arms around and surprisingly, Toph embraced him back. Tears streamed down her face as she steadily told him, "Nothing and no one can ever erase my feelings for you Twinkle Toes." Toph hated herself for sounding so weak...so mushy. However what can you do, when it's the truth? Oh love, it makes people do things and say things that you never thought you'd say or do. Toph had meant those words with all heart.
Aang stroked her hair and whispered, "I love you," and Toph found herself wanting to cry. His heartbeat steady, and for that she didn't know whether to be grateful or be melancholy. He wasn't lying and that made things all the more harder for her. Deep down though, she was happy that he loved her. That he would always love her and no one else, it was selfish---like a rich, spoiled, only child brat--but she couldn't stand it if he found another.
It was settled, Toph would marry the nobleman. It came a shock to all of Toph's friends and they silently screamed: how could she do this?!
"But since you're making me do this, do one more thing for me," Toph asked quietly. "It's bad enough I'm not going to be with you---that I'm going to marry another. There is something that I refuse to give to anyone else."
"Aang...spend the night with me." she told him.
He was reluctant to comply to her wish for propriety's sake, but when Toph suddenly kissed him with such urgency he lost his way and returned the kiss with as much feeling. In the back of his head his conscience told him that this was wrong.
She's getting married. And not to you. A bride should be pure on her wedding day. You're never going to let her go are you? No matter what you say, no matter how many times you tell her to move on with another, deep down in your heart and mind--you don't want her to leave you. You don't want her be with another man. You don't want her to be someone else's.
It was all true. However he pushed those thoughts aside and gave Toph what they both needed and wanted. Because there was no way Toph was going to give something so special to another man that she didn't love. Even if she did grow to love him, she didn't think she could ever love him as much as she loved Aang. The airbender had taken a piece of her and it was a piece she willingly gave him---and did not wish it back. Because its his and only his. She hoped that there was a part of Aang that he could not give to anyone else but her.
"I love the spring," she told him as she traced circles on his bare chest. "Don't you?"
"Yeah. Everything comrd back to life after the harsh winter."
"That's not why I love it," she explained. "It's the season when I first met you and everyone else." And now it'll all be over.
Aang's eyes became wide with realization and brought her hand to his lips and kissed her palm tenderly. She was right. He smiled and looked at her, it was a shame she never saw or will see how lovely she looked. He then gazed at the full moon and prayed to Yue that everything would be all right--that she would be taken care of; as well as her husband not noticing that Toph's innocence was gone. He wouldn't want Toph to be marked as an immoral woman.
He knew it was wrong and that he shouldn't have given in, but he couldn't help it--knowing that he was going to lose her. It was something they both couldn't regret.
The night before the wedding...
"Mother did you love father when you married him?" Toph asked, and Poppy gave her daughter a sad smile that she would never see, continuing to comb her daughter's long hair. The way Toph asked her, reminded the Lady Bei Fong of when she was young. It also brought a sweet feeling that her daughter was asking her for advice. Before she could answer her daughter, Toph bluntly stated, "I don't want to marry him. I could care less about the boy."
"Is there another?" Poppy asked softly, trying not to judge her daughter and drive her away.
They could ran away right? He could disobey right? He did it before, countless times before. Unfortunately those sacrifices cost him greatly, like when Ba Sing Se was in trouble and he chose Katara's safety over mastering the Avatar State. Toph didn't want to be responsible for that, she wanted him to be the Avatar that the people expected and needed him to be. It wouldn't be right to run away with him and elope. "Nevermind Mother. I'd like to sleep now if you don't mind."
"This is wrong! You can't marry him! You don't love him! You love Aang and he loves you!" Katara hissed, angered and frustrated. They deserved to be together didn't they? "I don't understand why you two just don't get together."
"Don't you think I've thought of that?" Toph pointed out, on the verge of tears. "But how can I make him break a rule he's suppose to abide by?"
"The people will understand."
"Katara not everyone's understanding. People are selfish and they aren't always open-minded," she explained to her friend. "I thought of running away with him but how could I ask Twinkle Toes to do that for me? It'd be wrong---"
"You know he would--"
"It would be wrong. The Avatar belongs to the world, not one person. An Avatar before Aang had married but she was taken away and spent his lifetime searching for her. It distracted him...I can't allow Aang to have distractions, I can't be that distraction."
"Now go take a seat...you wouldn't want to be late for my wedding now would you? I'd never forgive you."
Katara opened her mouth to object but realized that no matter what she said, there was nothing she could do. It was up to Aang and Toph, however the water mistress knew that it was unlikely that they'd do something about it. Without another word, she hugged her friend and walked out.
Toph suddenly felt the cold despair slowly gnawing at her heart and hot tears streaming down her pale face. Distracted, she did not sense someone come in.
"Toph," he called to her softly. The young mistress blinked and feigned happiness.
"Hey Twinkle Toes. You know you didn't have to force yourself to come," she told him as well as she could in her usual way.
"Do you not want me here?"
"I didn't say that," she replied.
"But would it be easier for you?" he asked.
No answer. There was nothing that could make this easier for her.
"Toph I heard what you said," he explained. He wanted to tell her that he wanted to runaway with her, that he wanted to be with her—but the last time he had abandoned his duty many citizens of the Earth Kingdom, more specifically Ba Sing Se, suffered. He held the urge to tell her that he wanted the things she told Katara, because he knew if he told Toph—nothing would stop him from obliging.
"And if things were different---"
"Lady Toph," a servant interrupted from outside, "it's time."
"Thanks. Give me a moment." She straightened her gown and asked Aang if her make up smeared. He told her no and before they walked out, Toph whispered, "I know Twinkle Toes."
If things had been different, then yes they would run away together.
It was the hardest thing Aang witnessed: the woman he loved marrying another knowing that she didn't love the man but him instead--but neither could do anything about it.
Three months later broke the Avatar's heart even more (if that was even possible) because Toph announced to her friends that she was pregnant. The unfortunate man was torn between wanting to be there for her and screaming his head off. Not to mention, attacking Renshu.
Six months afterward, she gave birth to a baby girl. Her friends (and then some), of course, were with her.
"She's so beautiful," Katara beamed, rocking the baby in her arms. The woman had wanted to give her husband a child, she wanted to have a child of her own and take care of him or her, but for some reason the spirits have not blessed her. She wanted to adopt but due to her husband's postion she could not. Or at least it would be frowned upon in the eyes of the court.
"You know Toph she really looks like you," Sokka noted. He was still traveling with the Avatar, happy as ever to be a wanted bachelor.
"Hey Aang," Katara walked over to the silent man sitting by window and asked, "would you like to hold her now?"
He wanted to say no, it was too painful but instead he nodded and took the baby from her arms. She really did look like her mother so no wonder she was beautiful. A warm sensation crept up his heart and he wished that he could stay.
"It's such a nice autumn breeze don't you think?" Toph wheezed tiredly, still lying down on her bed. "Where is Renshu?"
"He said he had to take care of something but would be back shortly." Sokka rubbed his neck. "His siblings are outside with your parents and in-laws."
"You probably want to be alone huh Toph?" Katara grabbed her brother so that they could give her room to be alone, but Toph objected.
"No. It's okay."
"All right. But let us get you some more water," without allowing Toph to say more, Sokka and Katara left the room.
"You'd think they could be more subtle," Toph murmured.
Aang placed the baby gently in her crib and sat by her mother. "Sorry I wasn't here."
"It's fine. It can't be helped."
"How are you...you know holding up?"
"Do you really want me to answer that?" Toph smirked but it didn't reach her eyes. She turned to him, "Is our daughter well?"
You and me.
But how can you be so sure Toph?
"Huh? What do you mean? She's fine Toph."
"I hope she won't be blind..."
"Don't worry. I'm sure things will work out," he said trying to comfort her. He didn't know if she'd still be hormonal. He hoped not because the times he saw her during her pregnancy she was...impatient, to put it nicely.
"So Twinkle Toes how's it going?"
"It's all right. I saw Bumi lately...he wished you well."
"Is that so?"
"Aang you don't have to force yourself to stay if you don't want to.".
"No. I'm staying. I..." he wanted to scream to the world he loved her. If only he could forsake being the Avatar. Being the Avatar should be job that you willingly apply for, not born into.
"I know. Me too."
A/N: This was very difficult for me to write, and the second part is even harder. I don't know if I can post it. However please review, so I know this was wasted effort. Who knows? Maybe I'll find the inspiration and will to post the rest of the story.