Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender or YuYu Hakusho, but I do own this story. I'm not getting paid or anything, I'm writing this for enjoyment. No suing.
Toph Bei Fong was enjoying some leisure time, chewing on a cattail and staring into the deep nothingness in front of her. They hard ground below her was calming, and she only half paid attention to her students.
They'd learned fast that she didn't take any clowns in her class. If they wanted to be funny, that was fine—they could also dodge boulders, holes, and pikes of earth while doing it, just to make sure they stayed on their toes. So they were acting behaved, going about their warm-up exercises.
"Chao, you're foot's too far out. You're off balance," she called out, crossing her arms behind her head and laying back. Chao immediately tucked his foot in farther. It wasn't a solid stance, even if he was Bending, so she tapped her foot. A rock sprung out from below him, making him fall. She got up and walked over to correct Chao's stance, saying, "Stop doing that—it's not the correct stance, and it won't feel good when you're fighting. You'll lose." She said that mostly to curtail any arguments, and left to sit back down against her rock after making sure that Chao was standing properly. He was glaring at her, but she didn't care.
She could feel everyone's muscles stretch and loosen, all ready for a fight. "Alright. You're all good to go." She rolled over on her side and stroked the earth beneath her hand.
There was a silence behind her. "Um, Sifu Toph—who are we paired with today?" asked one of her students that never called enough attention to herself for Toph to remember her name. She knew that the woman was older than Toph herself (a rarity for Toph's students), but the woman didn't seem to mind. She was competent, at least, unlike Chao. After Toph, she probably wouldn't need any teachers.
And from the tone in her voice, she was probably hoping that they'd fight Toph again today.
"Whoever's the toughest for you to beat." She dug her hand in. She knew she wasn't the best teacher—she was too stubborn and too hard, according to various students. But she'd make an even more terrible leader. She knew the moves of higher society quite well, but ever since she'd left her parents she dreaded going back to that formality. It was grating to her head-on attitude in life. If Aang had forced her (not that he would have or could have forced her, but still), she'd have gone crazy with the need to be herself, as she'd found out when going to that party to try to see the Earth King—dressing up had been okay, but she preferred her regular clothing to those dresses in the long run, and acting polite had been a nightmare. It was a lonely life, but she got used to it—and it's not like people didn't know who she was. She was a part of the Avatar's gang, and she could bend metal. This made her very well-known after the war, as word traveled like wildfire about everybody's escapades—some grossly embellished, but most amazing enough in their own right that they needed nothing added to make them good adventure stories.
Although she still missed them all. Especially Sokka. She spent so much time learning to work with them, and then she left. It hurt, even if it was her own choice. And when she regretted it, she just reminded herself to stay strong, that she'd see them again soon, that this was better than the alternative, and the longing to return to her friends stepped back to be felt another time.
Her students were still talking to her, saying that the toughest person to beat for one person would not coincide with another, and she told them to place some names in a hat and pick their own teammates, then, but to stop bothering her because she was meditating.
She wasn't really meditating. She wasn't doing anything at all. But she'd learned that people took her rudeness better when they thought she had a reason for it and that it wasn't just her personality. She wouldn't even bother anymore, except that sometimes she just got so tired of verbally fighting people.
She reminded herself that she was too young to be a battle-weary soldier and pressed her whole body to the ground as her students attacked each other with the earth. Maybe it was something else, then, that was making her tired. It had only recently happened—within the past month. Maybe she was coming down with something. But what disease took a month to incubate, showing only tiredness and migraines as a symptom?
She wasn't a healer, or anything. She didn't know any names for any sickness besides flu, fever, and cold. Well, chicken pox, too, but that was a given.
She was getting a migraine now, actually. It started off as an almost-pain that quickly accelerated into a pounding headache. She'd never minded being blind, but besides her mastery of Earthbending and her heightened senses, not being able to see the light during a migraine was a definite plus. She'd learned from various sources that it hurt.
After her students had all either defeated their opponents or been defeated by their opponents Toph had them do a cool down and think about their actions/reactions in their respective fights before sending them away so that she could return the terrain to how it used to be. Some stopped by her place on the ground to ask her if she'd still be in town the next day, and she confirmed that she wasn't planning on leaving any time soon.
"Most likely I'll leave next week." She sunk back down and started picking at the grass beside her.
"Okay. But we can still come tomorrow?" asked a hopeful little girl. Probably one of her fan club members, by the sound of her voice.
"Do whatever you want." She spit out the cattail as the girl walked away with a bouncy step. Toph was still sometimes surprised that so many people looked up to her. Many didn't even question her dubious teaching habits, which was such a difference from Katara that it made her miss Sweet Cheeks all the more. Toph knew her style of teaching worked, but she also knew that there was a certain resentment when she expected so much from her students.
And only a few ever spoke to her about it.
Well, argued with her about it.
None had actually ever left her classes, though—she'd left before they got tired of her. A lot of the time she stayed just long enough for all the people in the village to know her by her face before hiking away to the next place.
She generally also found someone in the village to read her the latest message her friends had sent by Hawky. Then she'd ask someone to write what she said to them and off Hawky would be to her friends with a letter, always written in a different person's handwriting. They never said they missed her in their letters, but they had said they'd miss her when she left them, so she didn't mind. She hoped they knew she missed them, too, because she'd never repeat herself.
But she hadn't seen them since their get-together last year to celebrate Sokka's marriage to Suki. That had been fun, if vaguely bittersweet. When it was proved that her crush for Sokka hadn't dissipated she'd become depressed and, therefore, acted angry for all of two hours before Katara told her that she was being a jerk during an important event in Sokka and Suki's lives. The resulting argument had blown off steam and allowed her to be happy for her two friends through the ceremony and the two days following before she left once again to travel and teach and fight. (Mostly she fought the people who attacked her, and not battle trained warriors that would prove to be a bit of a challenge, but it was fun all the same.)
She decided that maybe the next place she'd go was to was Sokka and Suki's place (she'd heard that Aang and Katara had traveled to the North Pole recently—Sokka had settled down with Suki someplace until the child was born, and it wasn't in a place covered in stupid ice and snow) when the migraine took a turn for the worst. It suddenly felt as if her brain was too big for her head—like it was trying to force its way out through her skull. She choked on the pain and raised her hands to her head in a futile effort to both keep her brain firmly inside her head and contain the pain. The pain ignored her wants and traveled throughout her entire body, ending at her toes and taking away all ability to see.
She would have panicked about being blind if she could think.
Then she blacked out.