We all know Toph and Zuko are perfect matches for each other. Both have fiery personalities(no pun intended) and are the most aggressive members of Team Avatar. And lets be honest, Toph deserves someone just as awesome as herself. Can you see Sokka or Aang filling the role? Maybe you can, but there isn't any accounting for taste. But Zuko? Oh yes. Our favourite Firebender can keep up with Toph if he really tries. And for Toph, who wouldn't?
I should probably credit Lioness for fully completing my conversion to Toko, and for providing me with the affectionate nickname 'Sunshine' for Zuko. I originally considered making a full Toko story, but in the end decided that I couldn't do it as well and would just end up stealing some well deserved thunder of Earthquake and the prequels, along with other great Toko stories that first fired up my passion for it.
Toph was a rebel. She chafed under authority, constantly striking out on her own wherever she could. Katara had initially chafed equally at Toph's refusal to help with anything or even acknowledge the most basic parts of being in a group. But Katara chafed at anything new and unexpected, so that wasn't really surprising. They still fought, but it was more…sisterly? Zuko made the newly minted coin dance, flipping over and over, back and forth across the backs of his fingers.
The newly accepted Firebender had watched on with some amusement as Toph and Katara argued about everything from Katara's cooking, the way Toph taught Aang and recklessness. At the time Zuko couldn't help but wonder if he should say something, but he inwardly cringed at the thought that those two would turn on him as an easy target. Especially for Toph. She had ammunition. Her feet were still red, and the Firebender regretted it more for personal reasons and less out of shame every time he had to carry her from place to place. He became even more worried when he ended up carrying her even after her feet had healed.
Later he learnt from Aang that they argued all the time, and the topics were generally recycled every couple of weeks. It was just how they worked together and coped with the fighting. Well, how Katara coped with all the fighting. Toph loved it, and reminded Sokka, Aang, or her favourite Firebender with rather physical examples fairly regularly. She was a rebel and loved every second of it.
Toph was the Blind Bandit. She didn't fight with the flowing grace of a Waterbender, the smooth and circular movements of an Airbender or the passion and aggressiveness of a Firebender. She was like a rock herself, even as she moved it around herself as a shield, a weapon. The Earthbender seemed so incredibly solid as she swung her foot in abrupt and brutal kicks to the earth, sending it rumbling outwards and inspiring a far deeper fear than naked flame. What can you do when the ground you walk on strikes out against you?
She seemed so calm, face completely calm as arms slowly drifted from one place to another as if the threat would wait for her to reach it, and it always did. Zuko had learned to accept it was simply the way the Blind Bandit fought and it only seemed deceptively slow, but it never stopped his heart leaping into his throat every time. He had stopped actually flinching when he saw Toph training with Aang. Not even the Avatar could lay a finger on her. There were still the occasionally amusing moments where she batted the Airbender away like a fly.
After a while those soft and cloudy pale green eyes ceased to be so disturbing and became oddly comforting. Zuko knew that even though she wasn't looking at him, she knew more about what was happening around him than he ever possibly could. Zuko had been convinced of that when she instantly told him how many ants were crawling round his feet. Toph wasn't just the Blind Bandit, she was a protector that never stopped watching. Smiling wryly, the prince flipped the coin up into the air with his thumb.
But most of all, Toph asked the most inconvenient questions without the tact Zuko knew she possessed somewhere deep down but refused to use. Zuko, how did you get your scar? Can I feel your scar? Who was your first crush? Who was your first love? Can you teach me how to swim? Can you warm up this water? Will you get in the water? All were irritating questions, and for each one he refused to answer or help at least once, but Toph was unyielding, and not without penalties for refusing.
The Fire Lord caught the coin mid-fall and looked at the back speculatively, the pad of his thumb grazing over the emblem of the Fire Nation. Toph's voice again rang in his memory. Will you fight with me? Will you drink with me? Will you marry me? Zuko chuckled at the memory of her proposition. He was convinced at the time that every part of him that was masculine had just withered and died. Looking back down at the coin, now worn with age, Zuko smiled at what he knew was coming as he turned it over, gently stroking the faint grime of everyday use off the two faces emblazoned on the other side of the coin. Feeling the side of his mouth tug upward, he turned his head to look over his shoulder.
"You know, we look a lot younger on these coins." Footsteps approached behind him as he turned to look back over the balcony, the crater of the volcano glistening with the light of a thousand people and a thousand lives, the soft hand gently being laid on his shoulder belonging to just one of them.
"That would be because we were a lot younger, Sunshine." Toph's voice had lost none of its characteristic ring or edge, as if constantly reprimanding a resisting Firebender. Zuko had grown to love it, though he always privately insisted to the aging and sceptical Avatar that it had a more gentle tone to it than it used to have back in the day.
"Yes, much younger…" Zuko chuckled and nuzzled his wife, pale white hair cascading down his back as those fingers played with his topknot and upset the delicate arrangement, the metal of the golden flame gently vibrating as her fingers tapped against it, the symbol of the Fire Lords almost quivering in what Zuko imagined was fear. He smiled, closing his eyes contentedly and transferring the coin to his left hand, brushing the pad of his right thumb across Toph's lower lip, gently dragging it downwards. "Don't you dare bend that, or I'll be in trouble…"
"I suppose I'll need some persuading, then." Withdrawing, Toph shot him a mischievous look and moved away, leaving Zuko to look back over the balcony for a moment, taking the sight in for a few moments longer. "Sparky." Zuko smiled, putting down the coin and retreating into his inner chambers, leaving it shining as the lights of the palace and the moon shone down onto the faces of the Blind Bandit and the Fire Lord.
This is a one-shot, but reviews are still important. It won't mean more chapters, but it will mean more motivation to do stories with similar themes or more oneshots. Horrible things happen to writers that don't get reviews. They say if I don't get reviews they will hurt me. Please don't let them hurt me.