Author's Note: I love Toph, so I really wanted to play with her. Plus, I thought it was time that I gave some Tokka a shot. XD
I hope this isn't too OOC… (If so, please be kind!)
Secretly—and only once in a great while—Toph wished she knew what her friends looked like, and not what they weighed.
Her hands were not as useful as her feet. With her feet she could earthbend; feel human vibrations and the pulse of life; know what was below, above, and around her person. With her feet she could walk, run, see. Her hands… not so much. They were useful— she was glad she had them, anyway— but hands were made to hold, or so they say, and there was no one Toph really wanted to touch, let alone embrace. Holding hands reminded her of her parents, who insisted that she be led everywhere: cared for, pampered, treated as a pet. And Toph knew— as did everyone else around her, now— that she had need for no one.
She didn't need anyone to hold her hand.
"I know," Sokka calmly replied when she told him this, albeit with lingering notes of surprise in his voice— a response to the vehemence in her own. "I didn't ask because I thought you needed me. I asked because I want to."
…what? Toph blinked her glassy green eyes. That had been… unexpected— so much so that she didn't really know what to say. Frustrating, really. And embarrassing. So to counter this, she glowered, snorted, stuck out her palm, and spat out the first thing that popped into her mind:
"All right then," she groused, studiously ignoring the heat she could feel rising to her cheeks. "Get it out of your system."
He did so with a smile.
She succumbed. Only once— and no one else would ever know, for it was midnight, her friends were all deeply asleep, and she would never admit to it— but still. She did it.
Stupid, really. She knew that. Dumb. And yet, after nearly a year, Toph could stand it no longer; even though she knew it was childish, almost inappropriate, to do so… even though she knew that she could get caught, and then she'd have to explain— admit that her earthbending vision was less than perfect… even though she knew that Sokka would laugh if he ever found out…
Well, that was just the way it was; she'd accepted that it was risky. That it was foolish. And still she decided to go through with it, because she wanted to know that badly.
So, in the dead of the night, when all of her comrades were sleeping, Toph slunk to their sides…
And carefully ran her fingers down their faces. Gently, smoothly— with a grace that only the blind could master— memorizing the feel of their skin, the contours and angles of the bone structure, the alignment of their features… Katara's long, thick lashes; Aang's soft, rounded cheeks; Sokka's high, distinctive brow.
And as she ran her fingers over them again and again, reading them more and more thoroughly with each movement, a tiny smile crept onto Toph's face— her sightless eyes sparkling with pleasure as she "saw" her friends for the very first time.
Toph knows that they forget that she can't see, and she can't decide whether to be annoyed or amused by their resulting (and frequent) embarrassment.
So many things are foreign to her, even though she encounters them daily. Often she wonders about light… what does light look like? What does it feel like? It's not something she can touch, smell, taste, or hear, so she must accept the fact that she'll never know. At least, not until it becomes tangible— until it leaves something more than lingering warmth in the dirt… but that seems about as likely as vision returning to her eyes.
She's told it looks awful. She's told that the design is jagged and rough, that the token is slightly off color, and that the leather strap is rather worse for wear. But when they say this, she merely smiles; after all, she's been told that her personality is just as jagged, and knows that he's a little off color himself, and that the leather was the best they could afford. Besides, it's not like she can see the engagement necklace anyway; all that Toph cares about is how it feels. Which is wonderful, incidentally— a warm, meaningful weight that gracefully accentuates her pale throat, its constant pressure an eternal promise…
And that's more than enough for her.