Puzzle

a/n: Quick summary/explanation. I literally wrote this in an hour... just wrote. Didn't really think about how this would end or what would happen. I just wrote. So it's just kind of my voice in Sokka's head talking about Toph and then some good old fluff (something I've been writing alarmingly often) towards the end. And I honestly have no idea when this would take place in the series, somewhere before the finale and sometime after Toph showed up.

And of course, thanks for all the reviews you guys have been giving me! So here you go, hope it's not a complete mess : \

Puzzling, that was really the only concrete word I could use to describe that girl. Everything else is just too… oh I don't know. There's something about Toph that is so flighty and unstable, but then there's another part of her that just can't seem to be more rock solid (no pun intended). Does that make sense? No, what am I talking about. To be honest I don't think I ever know what I'm talking about when Toph is on my mind.

She's my best friend, no doubt about it. But sometimes I have no idea what she thinks of me. I care more about her then is probably healthy for only having known her a few months. But after a few weeks of getting to know her, I knew that I couldn't be apart from her for long. In fact, imagining life without her now seems nothing short of absurd. Although if I brought this up with her she'd most likely laugh in my face. And yet there are times when she's so loving, caring and sweet that it throws me off balance. I know she has the capability to have feelings and be sensitive but she is just so completely unwilling to even acknowledge that side of her that it's next to impossible to even get a glimpse of that half of her.

I was one of the luckier people when it came to that. She trusted me, not enough to consistently be the Toph I really knew her to be, but enough that once in a blue moon, she'd talk to me like a real person. Which I think is more then she can say for anyone she's known in the entirety of her lifetime. It's truly incredible to see her take off that protective shell she so avidly holds onto and open up her heart in ways I've never seen another person do.

I may be biased considering I'm in love with her.

When I even start telling Katara or Aang about the way Toph acts around me they only laugh… a lot. As if I were telling them some hilarious and ridiculous joke. They just can't accept that there's something behind that hard exterior. But they've never really known Toph the way I do. I doubt anyone does. It makes me feel important.

But I'm not sure if she's just using me as her own human diary or if she actually cares about me. With her you can never tell (as if you can tell anything for sure with her). In the few moments of weakness (or atleast what she would consider weakness) the only evidence that she truly cared about anything was her parents. I've never been mentioned. And I have no way of knowing what she thinks of me because I'm the only person she'd even talk to about that sort of thing… but obviously if the subject matter is me then there's no way I'm getting that out of her. Embarrassing or awkward situations are about as scary to her as… oh I don't know, the firelord is to, well everyone on the planet. I think Toph would take an entire platoon of firebenders before she even mentioned her feelings for me… whatever they were.

So I decided that if there ever was a way in hell for her to tell me how she feels I'd have to start the conversation, and drag her in, kicking and screaming if I had to. The dragging is metaphorical of course, but the kicking and screaming was a serious possibility. As soon as I put the words "feelings" and "me" in one sentence with a question mark at the end I wouldn't put it past her to start screaming like a banchee, or launching me a thousand feet in the air, which ever came to mind first of course.

So you can see how much it must mean to me when I'm risking my personal safety to get this out of her. I had no expectations of her feelings to be even remotely close to the way I feel about her. But to know that she cares would mean so much to me, more than I can even describe. And the idea (as irrational as the idea may be) that she had 'more then friends' feelings about me made me almost dizzy with bliss. But I didn't have any hopes for that happy of an ending. A simple, "You mean a lot to me too Sokka," would probably make my life complete. But the idea of her feeling the same way about me as I do her would most likely make me cry from happiness, something that wasn't on my agenda today.

So we were walking in silence. She must have had some idea why I was asking to talk to her alone because she originally tried not to come with more force then I expected. Our heartfelt talks were usually nothing more then accidental (but immeasurably significant) moments that happened by chance, not planning. But I persuaded her eventually. We hadn't spoken for the past few minutes since we left camp but it didn't bother me. Silence never was uncomfortable so long as we were togethor.

I heard the water probably full minutes after she had, and followed the sound. After another few minutes we reached an opening in the trees and I saw the stream, the water reflected the sun like it was made of diamonds. There were yellow flowers along the bank on either side and birds were singing all around us. My heart ached that Toph couldn't see the full beauty of the place.

I sat on a big flat rock right on the edge of the stream and took off my shoes. She followed suit. I had to roll up my pants so as not to get them wet when I put them in the water because it came up past my ankles. She however, only could dip her toes in the cool water. I smiled despite myself at how cute it was, a thought she would surely have punched me for. I would think cute was the last thing she would want anyone thinking of her as.

We sat in silence again. Her prescence alone brought about a calm that I didn't know was possible until I met her. I had been trying to figure out how to bring this up with Toph for weeks now and still I had no ideas worth trying out. I glanced over at her and saw her beautiful profile. Her dark hair was blowing in the breeze and making patterns along her porcelain cheek. Her lips were the perfect shade of pink, soft, but in a way that was more beautiful then innocent. Her nose went up at the tip in the most adorable way.

And her eyes were… breathtaking… unbelievable… stunning. The smallest of glances at her striking eyes would have me admiring them for minutes at a time until I caught myself so as to hide my small obsession from Katara or Aang.

I racked my brains for the right way to put this, but no logical or subtle way came to me. If Toph was anything it was blunt. Maybe I should take a leaf out of her book? All logic and restraint thrown out the window I spoke, "Would you believe that I'm in love with you?" I think I was more shocked then she was when those words escaped my lips. My heart began to beat uncontrollably and I waited in anticipation for her to respond. It was too late now, the cat was out of the bag and I just had to hope for the best… and for no broken bones at the end of this.

And yet to my amazement, she barely even flinched. There was a long pause before she finally spoke. "No."

Now that threw me off my guard. "What?" I asked almost angry.

"No, I don't believe you," she said simply.

I had no idea how to respond. The fact that I told her I was in love with her already had the conversation going in a direction I had never anticipated and her response was only making the situation more bizarre. "Well why not?" I asked somewhat desperately and maybe a little too defensive.

She laughed, as I had expected. "Because, there's no way you'd choose a twelve year-old out of your plethora of followers," she said a little meanly.

I was more than a little confused now, "What do you mean my 'plethora of followers'" I asked.

She sighed, "You know what I mean, Ty Lee, Suki, every girl you've ever come in contact with. They all worship the ground you walk on." She seemed so relaxed and at ease and it bothered me almost as much as her response. How could she be so calm when I had just told her that I was in love with her?

"First of all you're wrong," I said, "And second of all, why are you so sure that I wouldn't choose you out of all those girls and everyone I'll ever meet after them?" I asked getting a bit hysterical, did she really find it so hard to believe that he cared about her that way?

"I'm not wrong Sokka, you're the essence of beauty," she said nonchalantly, though it had quite a different reaction in me. I blushed furiously and tried to think of something clever to say. My heartbeat must have sped up because she smirked ever so slightly and this only annoyed me more.

"No, I'm not!" I said pathetically.

"Yes you are," she said almost mockingly, though the equally childish response sounded so defiant and confident that it sounded infinitely more convincing then mine.

"And how would you know!" I said.

She sighed, "I may be blind Sokka, but I think I know well enough why a group of girls are gawking at a tall, tan, blue-eyed boy. It's not because of you're shiny boomerang you know."

I stumbled on my words only making me more flabbergasted, "Well…. Well that's not the point! Why can't you believe that I'm in love with you." I can't believe I said it again. But every time I said it I was more and more sure of it and wanted to say it every moment for the rest of my life. But I'd have to resist for the moment so I didn't look like more of a fool then I already did.

"That's exactly the point Sokka, a boy who could get any girl he wanted wouldn't settle for a blind, fragile, ugly 12-year old."

I snorted, "Is that what you think of yourself?" I asked, she didn't answer but her cheeks burned a little from anger at my laughing at her, "You obviously have a very sore idea of yourself."

"Oh yea! How so?" she shot back.

"Well let's think, yes you're blind but you see multitudes more then I can see. Fragile is just ridiculous Toph. You could take on the firelord himself if it weren't Aang's destiny. What was the next one?" I asked.

"Ugly," she spat out. I laughed again and she scowled. "No need to laugh! I know it's true." She said and her voice trailed off and she turned away from me.

"Toph, I wasn't laughing because of that," I said. I had a momentary battle in my head about whether or not to grab her hand and decided that if she were crying then she needed it. I reached out my hand and wrapped mine around hers. I was shocked at how cool it was and how good it felt. "Who told you you were ugly?" I asked.

I saw her wipe away a tear and it broke my heart a little, "No one… I just assumed because… well because…" and then she stopped.

"You don't understand that… that you're beautiful. You really are," I said softly "More beautiful than any girl I've ever seen." I had never spoken like this with her, and I had to admit, it was unbelievably nice. She shook her head but I saw her blush and the tiniest hint of a smile. "Would I lie to you Toph?" I asked.

She ignored the question, "What about the fact that I'm 12? That doesn't bother you at all… when you could skip 4 years and date girls your age?"

I laughed at the concern, "That doesn't matter to me… not a bit. Why should I care you're a couple years younger then me? You've never seemed it."

She finally turned her head back, her eyes a little swollen from the brief tears. "So you weren't lying then?" she asked.

"About what?" I asked.

"About… being in love with me?" she asked.

I shook his head and smiled, "Not even a little."

She sighed contentedly before resting her head on my shoulder. "Good," she said.

We sat like that for a good long while. The feeling of her head on my shoulder was more then I could ever have asked for. I began praising the gods that I'd had my brief moment of word vomit and gotten it out there, something I had had no intention of doing coming into this conversation. But it felt good… wonderfully good.

I realized something after maybe 15 minutes of our comfortable silence, "You never told me whether or not you loved me…" I said still a little unsure of the answer.

She pulled her head from my shoulder and gave me a mischievous grin, "Why on earth would I tell you that?"

I was startled, "Because I told you!"

She laughed that laugh that made my stomach do flips in my gut, "You're going to have to work harder then that to get it out of me," she said still smiling that dazzling smile.

And with that she stood and left. I probably should have expected something like that. Leave it to Toph to let you spill your heart out and still leave you in the dark.

I gave a resigned sigh. Maybe it was right for the idea guy to end up with the puzzle. To tell you the truth I had no idea how I'd do it, but I knew one day I'd put together the pieces.


a/n: Still not sure if I liked that at all... The conversation I wrote seems completely unlikely and they're pretty out of character in my opinion... but it's your opinion that counts! You know what that means... review perty please. I've still got 3 or 4 ideas for more oneshots so keep watching!