Journey's End

a/n: First off, thankyou so much for the reviews on my first oneshot! I really appreciate the support. So this isn't technically a sequel to the previous oneshot, but "Living a Fantasy" is referenced in this oneshot. This takes place the night of the finale (that means spoilers!). It's pretty much my ideal ending... enjoy!Toph sat in the grass her hands and feet on the ground so she could feel everything. If she had it her way, she'd stay like this forever. Just taking everything in, because you never know when it's going to be gone again. She breathed deeply and felt herself dozing and her thoughts trailing away from the ground to earlier that day. It was over…. The war, the fighting, the stress, the death, the violence…. All over. The Joy spread through her body like a warm breeze. Nothing could make this day any better… except for him. He might be able to make it perfect.

But He wouldn't come, in fact, she could feel Him sitting at a table with Her only thirty or forty feet away… Or was he? He had been a few minutes ago. Then she felt him clumsily handling his crutch and moving through the many bodies in the Tea Shop. Iroh had thrown a party for the end of the war. She felt him opening the door and thought she even heard a hint of his voice among the dull roar of talk and laughter far off.

He stood for a moment on the steps of the house before making his way across the lawn, Wrong way snoozles, she thought to herself. She just had a feeling he was looking for her. Her thoughts were confirmed when she heard him call out her name softly.

"Toph?" he said. She chose not to respond… they hadn't talked alone since Suki came back. Not that she blamed him.

They had become inseparable in the past few weeks. They had been staying up long after Katara and Aang went to sleep, whether it was talking till dawn, or taking adventures in the night just for the heck of it. At first glance, the two of them seemed insensitive and stubborn. But together, there was a bond they had never felt with anyone else.

Toph had been forced to act something she wasn't her entire life, and now that she was free to do what she wanted, she felt the need to be the exact opposite of how she was raised. Instead of the poised sophisticated noble her parents taught her to be, she acted like a rebellious coy little girl who always was getting in and out of trouble. But only Sokka saw the real Toph, he alone knew her flaws and her feelings that she just refused to reveal to anyone else.

And Sokka may seem Meat-headed and thick at times, but Toph knew he could be tender, and sweet. They were similar in so many ways, they hid the same qualities in themselves, they shared the same self-doubts, they always bottled up their emotions. That's why they felt they could trust each other more then anyone, because they knew how each other felt. They felt safe to be themselves together.

Only 4 nights before Sokka rescued Suki, he had fallen asleep in her bed. It was a true sign of how close they were when they didn't get awkward in the morning. Sokka just carried her around like normal making his usual bad jokes. Then two nights after that, he talked to her till she fell asleep, or at least until she pretended to fall asleep. Then he kissed her on the forehead before leaving and whispering "Goodnight, Toph." It had been the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for her. That simple sign of affection had been one of the happiest moments in her life. It was love that Toph needed, she wanted to be cared for so badly, and finally, someone was filling that void in her life.

"Toph?" he said a little louder. He sighed, "Listen, I know you're out here somewhere and just aren't answering because…" he stopped, "because I don't know why," liar, she thought, you know exactly why I'm not answering. He continued, "Just please answer me," he said a little desperately and much closer now.

He limped into the clearing and saw her lying on her back. "Hey," he said quietly.

"Hey," she said.

"Why didn't you answer me?" he asked.

"You didn't say Marco," she teased. He laughed quietly to himself. "Why are you out here anyways?"

"I should ask you the same question," he said.

She didn't speak for a while. "I just wanted some fresh air," she said eventually.

"Fresh air for an hour and forty-five minutes?" he asked.

"You were counting?" she asked smiling.

"Well, not exactly…" he said shyly.

"So, why are you out here?" she asked.

"I needed to talk to you," he said. She raised an eyebrow but he didn't elaborate.

"About what," she asked. Again he didn't answer; instead he lay down beside her on his back breathing slowly. She had forgotten how content she felt just being with him.

"Are there stars out tonight?" she asked him. It was something she asked him every night that they stayed up together.

"Yes, they're even brighter then usual," he said.

"And the moon?" she asked.

"It's a crescent," he answered. They didn't speak for a long time after that. They just sat there, both happy to be together again.



"Thank you," she said simply.

She felt him turn his head towards her, "For what?"

"For today," she said. They both sat in silence remembering those moments when they were sure they were about to die together. "You could have let me go you know. You could have saved yourself. I would have understood."

"I would never do that," he said almost aggressively. Then his voice became concerned, "Do you really think I would do that to you Toph?" he asked worriedly, "Do you think I'd ever let you down like that?"

Toph didn't answer and his heartbeat sped up, "Toph, listen to me. I would never let you go. If we were going to die, it was going to be together," he said. She could tell he was looking at her, "Do you believe me?" he asked, his anxiety evident in his voice.

She sighed, "Of course I believe you," his body relaxed a little, "it's just…"

He waited for her to continue, when she didn't he asked "Just what?"

"Things have been different between us," she said finally with a shrug.

He knew this was going to come up, "I know," he said quietly. "I'm sorry," he said even quieter.

"Don't be," she said with a hint of anger that probably only Sokka could have picked up.

Shit, he thought to himself. He had known that she had been angry with him for a while now, but he had thought that maybe after today things would be different.

He knew things had definitely changed for him at least. He was terrified, not for his life, or for Suki's but for Toph's. He felt an overwhelming need to protect her; more so then he'd ever felt for anyone, even his sister. So many times he had pictured her falling off the ship behind a fire blast. And every time the need to be close to her grew stronger.

And when they she was hanging there, both of them seconds away from death, all he could think was At least we'll die together. He didn't realize until that moment that he'd give his life to save her in a heartbeat. He had only known her a few months but life would be so empty without her, and that's what kept him holding onto her hand with every ounce of energy he had left in him.

They hadn't spoken for several minutes. But Sokka had to tell her some things, "I don't know if I'm with Suki because I want to be, or because I think I should want to be." He was telling her these things not just because she should probably know, but because he was a little confused himself and maybe voicing his concerns would help him figure out what he was feeling. She didn't answer, "She was the first girl my age I'd become close to other then my sister. And we were close back then... and once I saved her from that prison, I felt an obligation to be withher. Ever since she's come here, I've tried to love her, I really have. But I just can't manage it," he said.

There was another painful silence. Toph broke the silence, "That doesn't explain why we haven't talked in 2 weeks," she said in a pained voice.

"We've talked," he said tentatively.

"No we haven't, and you know it," she said defiantly, he couldn't think of anything to say to comfort her. "I used to be able to tell you anything," she said exasperated, "I mean anything. Things I'd never tell another living soul in a hundred years. And then I was completely cut off from my best friend without any warning."

"I really am sorry Toph," he said.

"I just felt abandoned..." she turned her head away from him, "Again," she whispered, barely audible.

To his horror he heard her sniffle and looked over to see tears running down her face into her hair. To see her in that much pain was bad enough, but to know that it was him causing it hurt him more then she would ever know.

"You want to know the real reason why I haven't talked with you?" he asked, his voice cracking with emotion.

She wiped her eyes and nodded. "It's because I was guilty…"

"Of what?" she asked her voice shaking from the tears she was trying to hold back.

"Of wanting to be with you," he said softly. "Because every second I spent with her, I wanted to be spending it with you," he looked at her and remembered all the times he had pictured those eyes when he was kissing Suki, "And I felt like a terrible person because of it. So I avoided you, trying to forget those feelings… but the longer I stayed away, the worse it got. You became the only thing on my mind. Today Toph… you don't know how scared I was for you, I was terrified I wouldn't be strong enough to protect you, to save you," he paused, not sure if he should say what he wanted to say. He took in a deep breath before finally saying, "And tonight, I've realized that I just can't manage to make myself feel anything for her that's remotely comparable to how I feel about you," he said, taking her hand in his. "I broke up with Suki," he said simply.

Toph was trying to find words to convey how much she felt for him at that moment. But his eloquent confession just left her speechless. Instead she scooted over to him and he held her close to him, stroking her hair. They didn't need to say anything.

Toph didn't know how long they stayed like that in each other's arms, but eventually Sokka suggested they go back inside. They stood up together and Sokka began to leave the clearing.

"Sokka?" she stopped him.

He stopped and turned around. She put one hand on his chest feeling his heartbeat before sliding it up to his neck. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him. He smiled sweetly at her, and they walked back to the teahouse hand in hand.

Now the day couldn't get any better.

a/n: It didn't turn out at all how I expected it to, but I'm happy none the less. Also, ideas I was going to use to make "Living a Fantasy" a three-shot are now going to be used in my other story, "New Allies". I'll definetly have another oneshot in this series by the end of the week.

Review guys! I actually really appreciate criticism :