A/N: This takes place during modern day at Christmas time. Everyone is a couple years older than in the series.
I do not own Avatar: the Last Airbender
The Christmas Plant
My shoes clicked on the sidewalk with each step I took.
Clomp, clomp, clomp.
The sound echoed down the deserted street. It was cold. I was regretting not listening to my mom to put on a third layer. Oh well, I was almost at Katara's house anyway.
I heard running footsteps coming up from behind me. I hastily turned, facing a possible threat. I spun so fast I almost dropped the present I was holding. I dropped my guard when I heard the familiar voice.
"Hey Toph." Aang greeted me; I could hear the smile in his voice.
"You should be careful about who you run up to unexpectedly, Twinkle Toes." I scolded. "You could get hurt." I turned my back on him and continued walking to Katara's house. Aang jogged up to my side.
"Mind if I walk with you? We're both going to the same party, I presume." He spoke with the faintest trace of eager desire.
I shrugged. "Sure."
We walked without speaking for several minutes. I could feel his heartbeat rise and fall randomly. I didn't think anything of it. He could have just been a victim of random heart palpitations. Seeing as how much caffeine teenagers put in their bodies.
"So…uh…" Aang attempted to start conversation. "Who did you get a gift for Secret Santa?" I felt him motion toward the gift held in my arms.
"You." I said simply. It was beating the purpose of the secret of Secret Santa but it didn't really matter to me.
"R-really?" Aang stuttered. "I got you something for Secret Santa too." He pulled a small, square box from his pocket.
"Really?" I asked. I hadn't known this; it sort of made me feel awkward. The truth was that I hadn't really gotten Aang for my Secret Santa in the first place, Ty Lee had gotten his name, but when she knew I had gotten Sokka she was more than happy to trade. I had wanted to get Aang's name for a number of reasons, but he'd never find out any of them.
Before I knew it we were at Katara and Sokka's apartment and Aang was knocking the door. Katara answered and she welcomed us inside. I noticed her heart rate rise slightly but I didn't know why. When we entered and closed the door behind us not even three second went by before I heard a group of people, mostly girls, go, "Ooooooo."
I was confused by this, and when I turned to Aang to ask why they were doing that I suddenly felt a pair of lips connect with mine. My heart stopped. Aang was kissing me. It didn't last for more than a couple seconds but my mind seemed to explode with emotion. I was happy, a little irritated, but mostly confused. Why did he do that at such a random time?
Aang quickly broke away, his heart was beating so fast and hard I wouldn't have been surprised if the others in the room could feel it too. He exhaled with a faint chuckle. Katara and the other girls were giggling.
"Aang…why did you do that?" I asked. It seemed like a simple question, but I guess he thought otherwise. His smile faltered and he struggled to form words.
"Mistletoe." I heard Katara say.
"What's that?" I asked, truly mystified. I had never heard of it.
"It's, uh, a plant that…" Aang spluttered. "Well, when two people stand under it, they, well, they have to kiss." So that was it…Aang didn't really feel that way about me, he just kissed me out of tradition over a stupid plant. I couldn't figure out what to say to him, so I didn't. I walked away from him and further into the apartment. I set my present under the tree, grabbed a blanket from a pile of them by the fireplace, and walked outside onto the outer patio. I was alone out there. I wanted it to be that way. The one shining moment of happiness that I had felt was gone.
I don't know how long it was until he came out there to find me but it had to have been around an hour. The presents had been opened and Aang had noticed my absence. I felt him close the door behind him and tentatively walk towards me.
I was leaning against the railing looking out over the dark street, the blanket tightly wrapped around me. I had no intention to tell him to leave. Normally I would have, but for some reason I felt different. He came up to my left side and leaned against the railing too. He glanced over at me several times before speaking.
"I noticed you weren't inside." He said, almost in a whisper. I didn't respond. I decided to let him do the talking, he obviously wanted to say something if he had come looking for me.
"Are you all right?" He asked, honest concern in his voice. Again I gave no response. He lowered his head in dismay, he could tell I was upset about something but I'm not sure he knew what. "Thank you for the gift." He paused. "I wanted to give you yours." He pulled out the same small box as he did before and opened it for me. I felt him pull out what I recognized as a ring. "Here, feel the engraving." He put it out to hand to me and I took it without looking in his direction.
My hands grazed across the metal and I felt a circular symbol. I ran my thumb over it and I recognized it as the Earth Kingdom symbol. I but it on my right ring finger, a small smile crossing my lips, it fit perfectly.
I whispered an almost inaudible "Thank you" and I could tell he had heard me from the slight grin on his face. He turned toward me and looked down at the floor, a little embarrassed.
"Toph, what happened under the mistletoe…" He started. There was a pause and I decided to finally turn my head towards him. This seemed to give him strength to continue. "I'm sorry if I offended you in any way." A pause. "I've been wanting to kiss you for a while. When I saw the mistletoe I took a chance. I'm sorry if I pushed a limit."
I turned my whole body toward him and took a step forward. "You didn't push a limit. I got the impression that you'd only done it because you felt like you had to hold up to a tradition. I've been wanting to kiss you too." I told him, the small smile on my face growing a bit bigger, a blush accompanied it.
I felt him smile at me. His heart jumped, I could tell he was thinking something. "Can I kiss you again?" He asked.
My smile turned into a full grin. "You may."
He kissed me again, one hand on my back and the other on the side of my head. My arms hugged him around the neck causing the blanket to fall to the ground. This one was much longer, neither of us wanting it to end. He kissed with such tenderness I felt like I was going to melt, even through the bitter cold surrounding us.
We broke apart and hugged, keeping each other warm. I felt his heart beating in his chest; it seemed to have finally calmed down. I smiled and hugged him tighter, and I felt him return the pressure.
We continued to embrace as I felt a small flake of snow land on my cheek.