This has a very different tone than the last couple of Taang pieces I've written...less light and fluffy. Light at the beginning, I suppose, but definitely not by the end. It really did take me a while, but I thoroughly enjoyed writing this one. I hope you enjoy reading.
Disclaimer: How does a girl like me come to own Avatar? Well that's simple. I don't!
Toph tugged at her long dress for the millionth time, displeasure etched clearly across her pale face. A pair of hairdressers stood behind her, working together to pull her hair up tightly into a large bun. She stared forward blankly, wincing every time they ran their brushes through and clipped it back.
She was not having fun.
"You are going to look simply stunning once we are through with you!" on of the stylists remarked exuberantly. The other one nodded fervently, but muttered, "Don't you ever brush your hair?" under her breath. Toph narrowed her eyes.
"This dress is way too tight; I can barely breathe." She snapped irritably. One of them clicked disapprovingly. "Now, there will be none of that, Miss Bei Fong. Your dress looks amazing." The other one nodded as she twisted a section of Toph's hair into a large golden ornament. "It's almost too pretty too be allowed," she said thoughtfully, "You might just outshine the bride."
For some reason, that made Toph feel good. Sick as it seemed, she had been in a continuously bad mood ever since Aang and Katara had announced their engagement. And she couldn't figure out why. She knew she should have felt happy for them, but she didn't. She just didn't.
"Ow!" she yelped suddenly, as one of her hairdressers yanked her head back with final mighty tug on her hair. "There, all done," she said proudly, turning Toph around so that she could consider her work. "Spectacular." She said with an extravagant bow. The other one clapped slowly. "Yes. Now we just have to do the makeup." she said, leaning down to grab a large case of cosmetics. Toph's eyes widened fearfully.
"No! No makeup!" she exclaimed, pushing through them and dashing towards the door. They lunged after her but she managed to duck under their outstretched arms, narrowly escaping. She skidded to a halt outside the door before turning and tearing down the hall. "We'll get you later!" she heard one of them call after her. She pushed herself to run a little faster.
Once she was satisfied that she was far enough away from the two makeup demons, She slowed down and stopped. She had to lean forward and catch her breath for a moment. She then straightened up and instinctively reached a hand up to her forehead to brush her bangs away. But there was nothing to brush away. She blinked and felt around the top of her head for a second. She tried tugging her hair out of its twist, but it wouldn't budge.
She had to admit; those two had known what they were doing.
So she stood there for a while, glaring at the floor and feeling the footsteps scurrying about all across the building, before deciding what to do. She would go and visit Katara. The soon-to-be wife of the Avatar, she thought bitterly. She suddenly felt sick to her stomach. Shaking her head briskly, she set off towards Katara's dressing room.
She could feel her friend pacing around nervously from all the way down the hall, and could hear her heart pounding before she had even gotten to the door. She reached up a small fist and pounded it sharply on the door. A wide smirk crossed her face as she felt Katara start inside, her heart beating even faster than before, if that was even possible.
She was breathless and irritated at first, but all that melted away when she opened the door and saw who it was. She let out a rapturous shriek and grabbed Toph's arm, pulling her into the room and slamming the door shut behind her.
"Geez, what's wrong with you?" Toph grumbled, rubbing her arm sorely, but still grinning. Katara could hardly seem to contain herself.
"You look so cute!" she exploded, throwing her arms around Toph, whose smile had suddenly vanished. "Not this again!" she moaned, shoulders slumping. Katara laughed joyfully. "I'm sorry," she exclaimed, "but it's true! I've seen you dressed up before, but never like this! You look fantastic!"
Toph rolled her eyes and collapsed into the little chair in front of Katara's vanity. "Well my head is going numb from my hair being pulled back so tightly, and I've never worn anything so uncomfortable in my life." She snapped, blowing her bangs out of her face haughtily. But again, there was nothing there to be blown.
Katara smiled and reached over to grab something off of her dresser. "Hold still," she said sternly, and moment later, Toph felt something wet being painted across her lips. "No!" she cried out impulsively, leaning back in the chair to avoid Katara's brush. "Toph," she snapped unsympathetically, "It's my wedding day, and I want you looking as beautiful as you possibly can. At least for a little while. So please, hold still!"
Toph narrowed her eyes, but reluctantly obliged. After a few long minutes of torture, involving a lot of lipstick, eye shadow, eyeliner, blush, mascara, and who knows what else, Katara finally leaned back to admire her handiwork.
"Done," she announced proudly, "That wasn't so bad now, was it?" Toph snorted and rose up from her seat. "Only for you, and only today." she replied shortly. Katara giggled as Toph gave a gruff curtsy and moved swiftly towards the door.
"Aren't you going to wish me luck?"
She was suddenly incapable of speaking. Her heart had begun to race; she felt like it was going to jump right out of her chest. There didn't seem to be enough air in the whole world for her, much less in the stuffy little dressing room. She leaned forward slightly and clutched her chest. Why was it so hot?
Toph closed her eyes and tried to concentrate on breathing. Nothing but breathing. A few moments and a deep breath or two later, whatever had just happened to her seemed to have passed. She could breathe again, though her heart was still pounding, and she felt very shaky. She grabbed the doorknob immediately. She really wanted to get out. "Good luck, Sugar Queen," she said quickly, trying to keep her voice steady, before slamming the door shut behind her.
A few minutes later, after walking aimlessly through the hallways for a while, Toph found herself leaning out of a large window and trying to catch her breath again. The cool breeze passing across her face was very soothing, and it just seemed like the right thing to be doing.
"What am I going to do with myself?" she mumbled softly.
Someone was dashing down the hall towards her. She narrowed her eyes. The footsteps were unfamiliar.
"Hey!" she called out as the man ran past her. He slid to a stop and wheeled around to face her.
"Yes Ma'am?" he asked politely. Toph frowned. "How long is it until the wedding starts?" she asked.
"About an hour." He replied with a smile.
Toph turned back towards the sunlight as the man ran off down the hall to wherever he was headed. People sure were busy today. She couldn't help but wonder whether Aang and Katara even wanted all these people waiting on them hand and foot. She doubted it, but it was probably unavoidable, seeing how he was the Avatar and all. People cared.Aang…
Toph hadn't actually seen him face-to-face for almost two days. And she hadn't had a real conversation with him in weeks.
She had to admit, she missed the guy.
Therefore, it seemed like a good idea to go and visit the groom. For some reason, her stomach lurched at the thought. But she was already walking towards his room, which was just down the hall from where she was. Now wasn't the time to turn back.
She didn't bother knocking, simply banging the door open and marching in. Aang yelped in surprise and took a ridiculous stance; all too reminiscent of one that he had taken when she had barged in on him once before. A long, long time ago. Back when they had first met. Just the thought of that brightened Toph's face with a smile, her first genuine smile in days.
"Geez, Twinkletoes, a little jumpy? It's just me." She said teasingly, shutting the door behind her. Aang grinned.
"Toph!" he cried, running over to her and throwing his arms around her in a warm hug. Usually, she would have pushed him off immediately, but not this time.
"I missed you so much! I feel like I haven't seen you in weeks!" he exclaimed. He paused for a moment, looking thoughtful. "Actually…I haven't seen you in weeks, have I?" Toph frowned.
"Not really…" she mumbled. "I mean…I haven't talked to you in weeks."
She suddenly felt very strange. She wrapped her arms around Aang's waist and buried her face in his chest. Aang's eyebrows shot up. Toph was acting very peculiar. He reached down a hand and turned her face up towards him.
"Hey," he asked softly, "What's wrong?"
Toph shook her head and turned her face back towards the floor. She could feel tears stinging at her eyes.
"Dammit…" she whispered through clenched teeth. Aang narrowed his eyes suspiciously. He reached down to push her chin up again.
"Toph, I-" he began, but he froze when he saw how her eyes were glistening.
"Toph!" he exclaimed, clasping his hands firmly on her shoulders. "What is wrong?" Toph was silent.
"Toph, please, tell me what's wr-"
Aang was cut off as Toph seized his head and began kissing him furiously. For a moment, he was stunned, and did nothing. But as what she was doing began to sink in, he jerked his head back and stared at her, mouth slightly agape. Toph was clinging to his shirt as though her life depended on it, her knuckles white and shaking.
"I don't want you to get married," she whispered, putting her face up as close to his as she could possibly get it. She slowly pressed her lips against his again. He tried to move away, but she wrapped her arms around his neck and refused to let go. Slowly, tentatively, Aang found himself kissing her back.
"How long until your wedding?" she breathed, pulling her lips an inch away from his for a moment, then resuming her kissing.
"Less than an hour," he answered, doing the same.
"Then we need to get busy, if we don't want it to be adultery," she huffed, pushing him down on to the bed and lying on top of him, still kissing him passionately. He nodded fervently, pushing her over and rolling on top of her. Her hands slid across his chest eagerly, and his across her sides and legs. She began to kiss his neck zealously, and pushed herself back on top of him. He was breathing in her smell deeply and running his hands across her back. He grabbed her head and pulled her into another ardent kiss, which she returned just as strongly.
And then, they both froze quite suddenly, as though common sense had hit both of them at exactly the same moment. They stared at each other, panting heavily. Their lips were still brushing against each other slightly.
"This is so wrong!" Aang burst out, jumping up and burying his face in his hands.
"I'm so sorry!" Toph cried, pulling her knees up to her chest and pushing her bangs out of her face. Now there was something there.
"Why the hell did you do that Toph? I'm getting married!" Aang shouted,"Today!" Toph shook her head wildly, tears streaming down her face.
"I-I don't know!" she gasped, "I-I just-" she stopped, fear flooding through her as the feeling she had gotten in Katara's room earlier that day began constricting her breathing again. She leaned forward and found herself tumbling off of the bed and onto the floor. She cradled her head in her hands and tried to focus on breathing. But she couldn't. She couldn't take her mind off everything that happened. Her heart felt like it was about to explode right out of her chest.
She could distantly hear Aang saying something, but she couldn't make out the words. She heard someone gasping out the word "breathe", over and over again. After a while, she realized that it was her. Her awareness of the world around her was slowly coming back, as she could feel someone stroking her hand tenderly. She gasped and felt relief swoop over her as her lungs filled with air. She was trembling from head to foot, but she found herself breathing again.
She opened her eyes and reached up a small hand to feel Aang's face. She felt him lay his hand on top of hers, on his cheek. She gave a shaky laugh and sat up, rubbing her head sorely.
"I'm sorry…really." She said softly. Aang nodded slowly. He was shaking almost as badly as she was. She took a deep, quivering breath.
"I guess I'm all screwed up…because that's the second panic attack I've had today…" She murmured, wiping the sweat from her brow.
"What?" he asked sharply. Toph laughed dryly.
"Aang…" she said slowly, "I think I'm in love with you."
Silence had never seemed so loud.
Later that day, Toph was sitting in the third row of chairs, biting her nails uncomfortably. She was slouched down in her seat, hoping that no one would notice her. Thankfully, because she was so small, she was mostly hidden away. She had pulled everything down from her hair and taken off all of her makeup. It had been all messed up, and she really didn't want to have to make up a story about why. She knew that no one would doubt that she just took it all off as soon as no one was looking. Katara had shot her a rather disdainful look when she saw, but a moment later, she was laughing it off.
Needless to say, Toph felt terrible.
As she heard their voices saying "I do," and felt them kissing each other sweetly, tears began to slide down her face.
She hoped they would pass for tears of joy.
I'm hoping for some feedback on this.