Title: push push
Summary: Toph and Sokka need a push. Funny how our romantically-impaired Firelord-to-be is the one to finally play matchmaker. Tokka Oneshot
A/N: I've been working on this for FOREVER, lol. I don't think it's as good as my oblivious piece, but hopefully you'll enjoy it. ON WITH THE TOKKA!
Even though they've never been great friends, Zuko can read Sokka like a book. In all honesty, it's not very hard; his emotions are always pasted right across his face, just waiting to be unraveled.
Sometimes, he finds it funny that he can see things even the boy himself will miss. Sokka doesn't seem to realize how deeply he cares for his friends and family, but really, the whole story can be found in his eyes.
Zuko can see the way Sokka looks at Katara, fiercely protective; he sees the way he looks at Aang, so full of brotherly compassion and friendship; and he even sees the way Sokka looks at him, the way he might look a bothersome comrade that he might, just might, grudgingly care for.
It takes a while before Zuko can fully define the way he looks at Toph.
It's a look rich with adoration and affection, fondness, and a determination to shelter even stronger than that he harbors for his own sister. It's a look that makes Zuko feel a stab of smug pity for the person that hurts Toph, because they will be destroyed ruthlessly and mercilessly. Sometimes, if he searches hard and long enough in Sokka's grey eyes, he can discern a love that is only visible to those to those that look for it; so miniscule but so ready to burst forth at any moment.
So, even though they've never been great friends, Zuko decides that it would be fun to watch what this potential relationship will turn into.
It becomes clearer and clearer to him, as he pays closer and closer attention to Toph and Sokka as they go about their business, that what Toph feels for Sokka is not 'just a crush', as everyone else seems to believe.
He's had plenty of firsthand experience with girls and crushes, and it's completely obvious after only a few days of observation that this isn't like anything he's ever seen before.
Girls, as Zuko had learned over the years, tended to have crushes not on the guy themselves, but on an image of the guy that they projected within their minds. Toph isn't like that. She doesn't like to sugarcoat things, period, and Zuko's not naïve enough to think that she believes Sokka to be faultless.
He sees the truth in the many small differences in the way Toph acts around Sokka, compared to the way she acts around, say, Aang, but it's only one particular fixation that finally is able to completely and totally convince him.
The thing that makes Zuko absolutely positive it's more than a crush is the way Toph's voice changes whenever she's around Sokka. Normally, her voice is simply classic Toph, sarcastic and stubborn and unyielding. But when she talks to Sokka, a lilt of something else enters her voice, gentle and warm underneath the tough-girl act.
It's like Sokka in the fact that she can't really tell it's there, but still Zuko watches her as the crush continues evolving into something more.
3.Zuko is proud of the fact that he holds the record (with the exception of Sokka, of course) of being the fastest person to grow truly close to Toph. He thinks of her as the little sister he should have had more than anything else, and makes a point of showing the others that he will never, ever hurt her.
All the same, the rest of the group watches with wary eyes as he spends more and more time hanging around Toph, smiling at her jokes talking with her as if they were old friends.
Zuko is shocked, however, when, one day as he and the blind earthbender sit side by side the campfire, the latter leaning against him just the tiniest bit, he spots Sokka gazing at them with a decidedly jealous look. He walks around in a stunned daze until the warrior finally comes up to him and demands that he stop hanging around Toph, or he will find himself in a multitude of unpleasant situations in the very near future. Biting back laughter, Zuko explains carefully his lack whatsoever of romantic interest in Toph, and allows a small smirk at the relieved expression on Sokka's face at this news.
However, from that day forward, he made special care in not so much as brushing against Toph, for fear of somehow offending Sokka—or, perhaps, destroying the already fragile friendship he has built with the twelve year old girl more like a sister to him than Azula ever was.
Still, he makes sure to never mention the incident to Toph, in case of destroying her relationship with Sokka.
The very first party Toph and Sokka ever see is after the second invasion and the first success, full of rowdy drunk men and old traveler's ballads, courtesy of Iroh.
Zuko was rather ashamed to say that he fell into the first category.
After the sun has sunk beyond the hills of the palace and Zuko's head begins to nod, he remembers Toph and Sokka and his pledge to watch them. Eyes drifting to rest on them, he's not surprised to see the two together.
But what sends a jolt through his entire body is the fact that Toph's head rests on Sokka's chest, a drowsy smile on her face as she curls up beside him. Zuko knows with resolve that this could never happen while they were both awake and sober, but grows the tiniest bit more serious as he realizes what this could mean for the sparks already flying between Sokka and Toph.
The next day (full of hangovers and exhausted benders 'accidentally' dumping tea on his head), Zuko marches up to Sokka, pokes him in the chest, and explains in so many words that, if he ever hurts Toph, he will be killed brutally, mercilessly, and most likely through forms of torture known only to the cruelest samurai.
Nothing has ever convinced him more of his love for the earthbender than the solemn look on Sokka's face as he nods, quietly assuring Zuko that he'd never even dream of it.
Zuko was surprised that he was able to believe him without a second thought.
It's kind of redundant, looking back on it. Zuko has always been so hopeless at this thing, this thing called love—
Yet it's infuriating to watch Toph and Sokka deny their feelings so.
Since that day after the invasion, so much has happened. Sokka and Toph have spun together, then part—together, then apart—like an endless dance. Zuko's watched as they've sparred; and smiled; and laughed; and, finally, confused their own feelings to a degree so impossible that he doubts even Iroh could decipher the puzzle.
Now, they've turned against each other—in some bizarre attempt to ignore their feelings—and spending their days arguing like an old married couple.
Frankly, it was getting kind of annoying.
As Zuko watches Toph and Sokka lean over the dinner table, both blushing furiously and spitting out insults as fast as he can blink, he remembers.
Zuko remembers Sokka's eyes; and Toph's voice; and the promises he's made—the promises he's consecrated—and promptly decides that this is bull.
Purely, utter, bull.
Sokka and Toph need a push.
The Firelord-to-be reaches across the table, shoves their mouths together, and gives them just that.
The wedding invitation arrives three weeks later.
A/N: Hoped you liked it! Please, tell me what you thought!