A/N: It's finally here! The day I can put this fic to rest! I think it's been what, 4 months? And I come back with this just this stuff? Anyway, go ahead and read.
Extra Lessons 2: Post-war Lessons
First Aid Lesson
"Ow... that really hurt."
Aang lay face down in the middle of a barren field. He had overdone it a bit with his bending training. Maybe it was a bit too soon to try moves that used all four elements together.
Now that the war was over, Aang travelled the world doing anything and everything that concerned the duties of the Avatar, such as settling disputes and stuff. It was a pretty boring gig, but someone had to do it.
Aang slowly picked himself off the ground, wincing as he felt the cuts, bruises, and burns on his body. He was going to need some help getting patched up. It was a good thing she was with him at the moment.
Not too far away, Toph was done cleaning up camp. Well, actually, she had just thrown everything into a pile on Appa's saddle as soon as she heard a large explosion in Aang's direction. Whatever Twinkle toes was doing, it was bound to be dangerous... and fun.
Toph was the one who joined him the most during his travels. With Katara teaching waterbending at the South Pole, Sokka and Suki dating, and Zuko being Fire Lord, everyone was pretty busy nowadays. And Toph being Toph, she always went were the fun stuff was. Remembering Aang's offer, she took up the unofficial position of co-Avatar.
"Hey, Twinkle toes!" she yelled as she ran up to him. "Let me join in!"
"Twinkle toes?" Some of the excitement had drained from her voice. She could tell by the way he was moving that he was pretty badly hurt. "What's up? Your new technique blow up in your face?"
"Actually, yes," he groaned. "A little help, please?"
"Baby." Nevertheless, she hooked an arm under his shoulder and helped him get back to Appa. As he leaned on her, Toph could feel the extent of his injuries. They weren't major, but they were still pretty bad. He had even burned off most of his robe.
Aang shuffled through their bags, looking for bandages, disinfectant, and ointment for his wounds. Having found the proper bag, he got down the saddle slowly.
"Help me out, would you?" he asked, holding out the bag.
"Don't be a baby and do it yourself." She didn't even turn to his direction. It was as if this happened everyday.
Aang puffed his cheeks out in irritation. She could be a little more helpful. It wasn't that big of a problem though. He knew how to deal with her now.
"I see... and who exactly is the baby who comes to me for first-aid whenever she gets injured in training?"
She shot up, her face showing defiance. "Hey! I don't ask you to patch me up!"
"Fine, but you'd be groaning the whole day if I didn't," Aang answered cheekily.
They stood in silence, having another one of their glaring matches.
Toph sighed. It was amazing how persistent the airhead could be. "Fine."
"Owowowowow! I said gently! Gently!" Aang yelled.
At the moment, Toph was disinfecting the more serious wounds on Aang's body. Rather than dabbing the open wounds, she was practically scrubbing the disinfectant-soaked cotton into it. Aang doubted she would have gone easier on it if he had given her steel wool to work with.
"Quiet down, will you? I don't whine when you treat me."
"That's because I don't try to rub your skin raw when- OW! Not too tight!"
Toph had finally started wrapping bandages around the first wound. Unfortunately for Aang, the way she was doing it was as if she were tying a boat to shore, pulling the bandages as hard as she could. She had actually placed a foot on his back and was pushing against him to pull the bandages tighter.
"OWOWOWOW!" Aang was starting to think that getting Toph to give him first aid wasn't such a great idea.
"Quit being a baby! That's just the first one!" Aang shuddered, thinking of how many times he would have to go through the ordeal. He'd probably pass out from the pain.
Toph paused to think, putting a hand to her chin.
"Hm, we need a way to distract you from the pain..."
"That's not the case! You just have to do it more gently!"
Toph just ignored him. "In that case, I should just..." Toph slowly reached out and gently wrapped her hands around the back of Aang's neck. He froze. Toph's face was slowly moving closer to his. What was she doing?
Toph suddenly cocked her head back, and then pulling on the back of Aang's head, gave him a powerful headbutt. The monk instantly went unconscious.
Toph rubbed the sore spot on her forehead, hardly minding the sting. "There! He should be nice and quiet for a while!" She took the bandages in her hands once more but paused, just as she was about to resume tending to the wounded boy.
"Er... how do I do this again? And where was he injured again?"
When Aang woke up, his whole body was bandaged together. He had to burn the stuff off, injuring himself again. He didn't bother asking Toph for help this time though.
Riding Lesson (suggested by AvatarAiris)
Aang and Toph were on the usual routine, travelling around, checking situations in villages, settling disputes, the regular stuff. At the moment, Toph was leaning against Appa, a bored look in her eyes, while she played with Momo who was taking a nap on her stomach.
She shuffled around in Appa's fur, finding a more comfortable position. Maybe she could get a quick nap in before...
Aang quickly rushed out of the building where he had been meeting with the village elder. From what she coult tell from the pace of his heartbeat, something big was up.
"Quick, get on Appa!"
"What's going on?" She jumped up into Appa's saddle along with Momo and sat at the back, waiting for Aang to take the reigns. Surprisingly, he landed right next to her.
"I have my hands full right now, so I need you to fly Appa!" There was a definite note of urgency. She could hear the rustling of paper from Aang's hands. Whatever it was, it needed his full attention.
"Um, Twinkle toes, I don't think-"
"Hurry! There's not much time! Just pull the reigns in the directions I tell you."
"Argh! Okay!" She ran up to Appa's head and took the reigns in her hands. "Yip yip!"
Soon, they were up in the air, with Aang giving Toph a crash course on driving air bisons. Toph definitely preferred riding a glider than steering Appa. She couldn't feel the air currents very well, and she didn't have as much freedom as a glider.
"Here! Bring Appa down here Toph!"
Toph quickly nudged Appa downward, managing a relatively safe landing. Relatively, meaning that there were no life-threatening injuries.
"Come on, Toph!" Aang was already up, pulling Toph to her feet. "We gotta go!"
Aang didn't bother answering and continued to pull Toph from the crash site, instructing Appa to stay put. They rushed to a nearby structure where Aang showed the scroll in his hands to a man waiting outside. The man nodded once, and opened a large gate.
"What is that?" Toph yelled.
"It's a komodo-rhino," Aang answered. "Quick, get on! You're driving again."
Toph was panting as she got off the latest animal they had been riding. They kept on moving from place to place, riding different animals with her always steering. So far, she had ridden a flying bison, a komodo-rhino, an elephant koi, a rabbi-roo, an eel hound, and a lot more.
"Toph! We're almost there!"
She grunted irritably. Aang would never answer whenever she asked what the heck it was they were doing. They made it over the crest of a hill. From the top, Aang could see another village about a mile away.
"There it is! We're gonna make it!" Aang yelled with excitement. "We're gonna win the race!"
It was as if time froze the moment Aang uttered those words. Everything fell silent as the two stopped in their tracks.
If there was a voice that could kill, that would be it. The menacing tone in Toph's voice sent a chill down Aang's spine as he quickly broke into a cold sweat.
"You dragged me halfway across the Earth Kingdom... giving me crash courses on riding every animal imaginable... for some race?"
Toph began advancing toward Aang. For every steady step forward, Aang took a shaky step back.
"But you wouldn't have agreed," he said shakily, "and the rules said... and look!" His voice grew more confident, thinking he had found something they would both agree with. "We're almost there! Aren't you happy you got to learn how to ride so many wonderful animals?"
A mile away, in the final stop of the race, a deafening explosion was heard. A cloud of dust rose in the distace forming a giant mushroom in the sky. Aang would always remember this moment as the time he was closest to crossing to the spirit world.
Reading and Writing Lesson
"Hey, Twinkle toes."
"I said I'm bored!"
"Mmhmm... that's nice..."
"Would you put the stupid book down and actually listen?"
Aang didn't even glance up. He had picked up the book as they were passing by a village. It was apparently quite a hit among young adults around the different nations. With Aang too it seemed. Ever since they had paused for a break between towns, Aang hadn't put the book down.
"What's so good about that stupid book anyway? You make it look like it's more fun than training."
Toph's eye twitched. That was the last straw. She had been looking forward to this stopover. She had been itching to have another sparring match with Aang. But now getting Aang to look up from the book was a complete chore.
"Why don't you read a book?" Aang asked. "We've got a lot more."
"Hm, let me think about it... No," she said flatly. "Can't read."
Though Toph couldn't see it, she knew that something had suddenly sparked in Aang's eyes.
"No!" Toph yelled.
"I haven't said anything yet!"
"You want to teach me to read, and I say no!" Toph paused. "That goes for writing too!"
Aang smirked. "Fine. Then I'll just read this book on my own while you can just sit there bored."
Toph growled at him. She knew he was messing with her again. But this time, Toph wasn't going to fall it, no matter what. Just as she was about to walk away, she could feel Aang bending something on the ground's surface. It didn't feel like he was making a structure, but rather simply making marks and ridges in the ground.
She was unable to contain her curiosity. "What are you doing?"
"I'm writing a message for you."
"But I'm right here."
"I can't read."
Aang turned to face her, a glint in his eyes. "Exactly."
An internal battle started inside Toph's head. There was no way she was going to let Twinkle toes play with her again. She had already decided that she didn't want to learn how to read. That was that. Toph could feel Aang adding a few more words.
But... what was he writing?
Was he baiting her? That was almost a given, but after the beating she gave him the last time he pulled a stunt, she doubted he would mess with her lightheartedly again. That probably meant knowing what he had written would be of great benefit to her. Probably...
Toph grumbled. How many times so far did Aang have her swallow her pride? "Alright... teach me."
Aang smiled. Taking the proper stance, he earthbended a symbol into the ground.
"Then let's begin. This is the letter 'a'. It makes the sounds..."
Toph dragged herself away from the forest clearing, practically crawling. She had pride in her physical endurance, but mental endurance was another thing. And to think she had been getting reading and writing lessons eight hours a day for a week.
But she was finally done! After a week of hellish training, Aang had finally announced that lessons were done and she was finally allowed to read the message. He had been very careful to keep her away from it so that she wouldn't read it before her lessons were done.
Now, she stood before the message Aang had etched into the earth a week ago. A week's work of pain about to pay off. She gave the ground a hard stomp, reading the letters with earthbending.
I got a present for you. I left it for you by the creak, where Appa goes to get himself washed. Congrats on learning!
Aang made his way to the spot where he had left his present. He wanted to see whether Toph had gotten it yet. It had taken a while, but Aang was actually able to rewrite the book he was reading on stone tablets, so that even Toph could enjoy the wonder of books.
Upon reaching the place, he noticed something. He had left the 'book' on a stone pedestal, so that Toph could easily find it. The book was gone, and the pedestal's face was now covered with the marks of a message. Aang smiled, happy that Toph had actually left a message for him. She really was applying what he had taught her. He bent down, reading the text.
It was supposed to be 'creek', not 'creak'.
Chakra Lesson (suggested by Larkawolfgirl)
It was peacefully quiet. A gentle wind blew across the silent ruins that were the Eastern Air Temple. Yet even though the place was in ruins, there was a certain serenity in the area that added drama to the moment. Aang stood on top of a ledge, gazing out at the vast scenery in front of him with over a hundred years wisdom in his eyes.
"Toph, it seems that your co-Avatar lessons are coming to an end."
She lay spread-eagled on the floor, completely uninterested. "Since when have I been taking co-Avatar lessons?" It was almost amazing how easy it was for her to destroy the atmosphere Aang had tried so hard to create. Still, he persisted.
"The time has now come for you to open your chakras and let the energy inside of you flow."
Toph yawned openly. He still wasn't getting any form of reaction from her.
It doesn't matter though, he thought, hiding a smile.
He sat down in a meditative position, facing her. Toph sighed, mimicking him. It was another one of those times where it was better to indulge the airhead than ignore him. "Let us begin by opening the earth chakra, located at the base of the spine. It deals with survival and is blocked by fear."
"Now..." This time, he didn't bother hiding his smirk. "What do you fear?"
"Nothing." Absolutely no reaction.
Aang was at a loss for words. He was hoping for some kind of reaction, like getting suddenly embarrassed or something like that. But she was completely calm.
"C-C'mon Toph, no need to be shy," Aang said, trying again. "Everyone has something they're afraid of."
"Yeah, I suppose that's true, but I can't think of anything."
"Well, I supposed I used to be afraid that being blind would stop me from being a great earthbender, but I got over it."
Things weren't going the way Aang had thought they would. Even when she was admitting her fears (albeit past ones), she still wasn't showing any kind of reaction. It wasn't exactly his intention to embarrass Toph. It was more of a side show, entertainment as they unlocked her chakras.
Aang sighed. He supposed Toph had gotten used to being more honest with herself and others. Where was he supposed to get his kicks now?
Still, there was something he had to check. He stood up and took a seat behind Toph, ignoring her curious gaze. He reached out and lightly touched her lower back, where the earth chakra was supposed to be. Unfortunately, from Toph's point of view, it wasn't the base of her spine he was touching, but something a little bit lower.
It only took a second from that moment to Aang being sprawled on the ground, bordering on unconsciousness. Toph was getting a lot faster with her earthbending. "W-What the hell do you think you're groping?"
Aang allowed himself a groan before answering. He spoke from the ground, not moving to let the pain pass. "What are you talking about? I wanted to check your chakra. I said it was at the base of your spine, right?"
Aang propped himself up on his elbows, looking at Toph. "Why? What did you think I was doing?"
"Sh-Shut it! Just get over here and do what you were going to do."
A few minutes later, Aang was crouched behind Toph, checking the flow of her energy through the earth chakra. It was as he thought. Toph had already opened her chakra on her own. She had already come to terms with her own fears.
Aang stood up. "Hang on, let me check something."
"Huh? What's up?"
He moved to her front and knelt down. "Your earth chakra is already open. I want to check your water chakra now."
"And the water chakra-?"
"-deals with pleasure, blocked by guilt, is at the groin." Toph had to smile. Aang knew not to bore her with the details.
Wait, did he say groin?
Toph backed away as fast as she could, her face darkening several shades of red. "G-Get away! You are not touching me there!"
"W-what!" The red in his face matched Toph's perfectly, if it wasn't worse. "Of course I wasn't going to touch your... er... that place. I just need to be close enough to feel the energy, though it will take longer."
Toph reluctantly conceded, allowing his to come close enough. Though, Aang's 'close enough' was really close in Toph's opinion. He was actually close enough for her to give him a full hug, close enough that the air between them was starting to get warm from their body heat. Add to the fact that there was an absence of light conversation, it made for a very awkward moment.
Finally, just when Toph was at her limit, Aang stood up. She breathed a sigh of relief, glad that some measure of personal space had returned.
"Your water chakra's open too. I should have figured though," Aang said, smirking teasingly. "Have you ever even felt guilty about anything?"
"Well, there were a few times, but I got over them too," she answered with a smug smile.
"I already checked your fire chakra too, since the two chakras were close. It deals with willpower and is blocked by shame. Apparently, you don't have anything to be ashamed about either, or you've accepted those parts of yourself."
Toph grinned cockily. "Wow, this turned out to be a piece of cake. What's next?"
"The air chakra, found at the heart. It deals with love and is blocked by grief. Can I-?" Aang made a motion to come closer.
Toph nodded, allowing him to invade her personal space once more. It hadn't been ten seconds when Aang reacted to something.
"Huh? That's weird."
"I dunno, but I need to check it out." Aang paused, slightly embarrassed. "Er... do you mind?" he asked, raising his hand.
Toph realized he was asking for permission to touch her. She turned a light pink at the thought. 'Permission to touch' was not a good way to word it.
"F-Fine... but if your hand moves any lower..." Toph trailed off, letting Aang's imagination do the rest. He gulped. It was enough to do the trick.
He reached out and lightly pressed his hand over her heart, feeling the energy circling withing the chakra. There was definitely something weird.
Trying to lift some of the awkwardness in the air, Toph tried to start a conversation. "So? What's going on?"
"I... don't really know. It's not blocked that's for sure. But... it's like energy isn't circling, it's just sitting there."
"And that would happen why?"
Aang furrowed his eyebrows, thinking as hard as he could. "Well, since there's nothing blocking the chakra, you haven't experienced grief, or you've accepeted it. No problem there."
He moved closer, pressing his hand a little more firmly onto her chest. Toph could feel her face heat up again from the contact.
"Huh? Hey, the energy's starting to move a bit. What's going on?"
"I-I dunno..." Toph was really starting to feel uncomfortable. "Anyway, you were saying?"
"Oh, right. Like I said, nothing's blocking your chakra. There is energy in there, meaning you have no problem in experiencing love, but the energy inside is-"
"Waitwaitwait, back up. What's this about 'experiencing love'?"
"Oh, didn't I explain it yet? Since chakras deal with things such as survival, pleasure, and such, it also becomes a sort of energy source. For example, the stronger a person's willpower, the more energy there is in his fire chakra. So if we go by that logic..."
Toph wasn't listening anymore. She had never thought about her 'loving' anything in her whole life. And then it turns out that she had some sort of 'capacity' for it or something, that she's already experiencing it, if she understood Aang correctly.
"Hm..." Aang stepped back, fondling his chin in thought. "The only thing I can think of is this: you're not expressing your 'love'."
Seeing Toph's jaw drop open, he knew she thought it was ridiculous, but it was the only thing that seemed right. "Think about it," he said. "There's energy inside the chakra, so you do feel love. There's nothing blocking the chakra, so energy is supposed to flow freely. But it doesn't, because you're holding the energy, or your love, back."
Aang paused, realizing the opportunities, his mouth curving into a matching smirk. "So... is there someone you want to express your love to?"
Toph face grew redder a few shades. "N-no! Of couse not!"
"Really? Then why the stuttering? Why the violent reaction?"
Toph couldn't say anything. She had nothing to answer to that. But the simple thought of her expressing love to someone was just too... actually, she didn't know, but she didn't like it.
Aang laughed, unable to help himself. He wouldn't be surprised if Toph suddenly collapsed judging by how much blood was rushing to her face. Well, he supposed he's had his fun. It was time to help her out a bit.
"You know, Toph, it doesn't have to be a 'boyfriend' kind of love. It can be love for a friend, pet, or family. For example..." He grinned again. Maybe just one more jibe. "How would you show your love for me?"
He had expected her to flush a darker red, stuttering incoherent words. But what happened was the opposite. Her embarrassed state disappeared as if the past few moments never happened. An evil smirk spread across her face.
"I see... All I need to do is express myself..." She started cracking her knuckles. Definitely not a good sign.
Aang staggered to Appa, completely exhausted. He allowed himself to collapse into the saddle with a groan. Judging from the sore spots that covered his body, he estimated that he wouldn't be able to move for about a week. They never even got around to finishing the task of opening all of Toph's chakras. She had gotten too enthusiastic about expressing her 'love'.
Toph sat down next to him. "Wimp. That wasn't even four hours."
He ignored the insult. "Toph, do me a favor."
"Don't love me so much."
A smug smile spread across her face. "I'll think about it."
A/N: Honestly, I'm kinda disappointed with this chap. I kinda ran out of steam for writing, especially since the Avatar stuff is starting to die down, and some of the readers already viewed this fic as complete. Also used the good ideas for the last extra chap. But I really didn't want to mark this as completed when I said I would pull out another extra chapter. So I kinda pushed for this. Unfortunately, this is what turned up, a somewhat rushed and not-so-well-put-together final chapter. I guess I only really liked the last lesson, even though it might have gotten a bit too shippy for my taste.
Actually, I have to admit, I also have another motive for completing this chapter. I've recently had a number of ideas for stories, but since none of them can fit in any fandom I'm comfortable with, I've decided to start working on original works at fictionpress. So this is some kinda weak attempt at some publicity. I have the same pen name there and there's also a link in my profile. Hope you read my stories there too.
So, that's it! It's done! Thank you guys so much for supporting this fic! And I hope you review my other stories in the future!