Title: The Waiting Game
A/N: This is just a little something I felt I needed to write for myself... I don't own Avatar, The last Airbender. Just Toph's thoughts... Please review.
Aang sighed. Rising from his spot by the river.
"Hey where are you going?" Asked Sokka from his position on the floor. Suki was resting in his arms happily.
"I'm going after her." Said Aang with a sigh.
"Aang... Don't? It's just like old times, all of us together, out camping... don't let her ruin it just because little Miss earth-bender is in a bad mood." Said Katara annoyed.
"Katara this may be old times for you but travelling is our reality. It's Toph's birthday and there's something bothering her. I'm not going to leave her alone." He said evenly. "I'll be back in a while."
Katara huffed and crossed her arms mumbling something about spoiled earth-benders while her husband, Zuko, attempted to calm her down. Aang just ignored her and with a promise to return he left their camp.
The 17 year old Avatar sighed. Toph was 3 and a half miles away already according to his earth-bending. She must have been bending herself, knowing Aang would follow her and purposely making it difficult for him. It was always the same... Ever since their little group had dwindled down to a duo over 3 years before. Toph ran. Aang followed.
With another sigh Aang stamped a foot and rode a rock wave through the forest towards his very best friend.
Aang finally found her an hour later. She was standing on the ledge of an extremely tall cliff, facing the sunset. Aang knew from his years of travelling with Toph that she loved the feel of the sun's heat crossing her skin as it sunk.
He took a moment to watch his friend, well aware that she already knew he was there. 17. It seemed surreal that they had grown so much. Aang was now an impressive 6 foot tall, his voice a deep baritone. His bending had only gotten stronger since the defeat of the firelord. Particularly his earth-bending where he could boast the title of Master like in air. He seconded only Toph in the field, his own teacher.
Toph had grown a huge amount too. He thought idly. She definitely wasn't tall. Only 5'3" but gone was the child he'd first met. Although the tomboy tried to hide it originally she'd grown into her female curves years ago. She'd also taken to wearing her long black hair loose, only a headband keeping it from her eyes. She'd grown mentally as well, Aang had gradually chipped away at the mask of indifference Toph wore, getting to know his best friend better than anyone in the world. Even now Toph was still fiercely independent and extremely private but he knew it was just a part of her. It was simple really.
Snapping out of his thoughts Aang bended himself up the cliff face to his hurting friend.
"Hey Twinkle toes." She greeted quietly. She wrapped her arms tighter around herself against the wind... And, Aang knew, against him.
"Want to tell me whats the matter?"
"No." She replied stubbornly.
"I said no Twinkle toes!" Aang was shocked to hear the crack in the earth-bender's voice. She was really upset. Toph rarely cried in front of him and it hurt him to hear it now.
"Toph..." He deliberately reached out. Placing a hand on her shoulder. "Toph... Whats the matter?."
"Nothing important." She dimissed, Wiping away her tears.
"Toph. This is important." Pleaded Aang. "I know it is..."
"It's stupid!" She said angrily. Anger Aang knew was directed at herself for getting into the state she was in the first place.
"Try me." He challenged.
"Everyones happy..." Said Toph finally. "Everyones married, or engaged and in love..."
Aang's jaw fell at her words. This was definitely NOT what he was expecting from his strong best friend.
"What do I look like Twinkle toes?" She asked so suddenly it caught him off balance.
"Emmmm. You're short, and you have really long black hair. Delicate features and... ummm" Aang scratched his head. Unsure of what Toph wanted to hear.
"Oh! And you have pale Green eyes."
Toph nodded staring unseeingly at the horizon.
"Twinkle toes?" She said finally breaking the content silence.
"Do I look any different from everyone else?"
"Everyone looks different Toph."
"I mean my blindness. Does it make me different?"
"I guess your eyes are a unique colour because of it. But no it doesn't really."
Toph gazed sadly at the cliff edge.
"Toph. What is this about?" Prodded Aang gently.
"There's something wrong with me." She said quietly.
"I know. That's why I'm asking whats the matter." Replied Aang stupidly.
"That isn't what I meant Twinkle toes!" Said Toph. Stomping a foot in frustration. The cliff shuddered ominously.
"Toph. Please talk to me."
"There has to be something wrong with me." She reasoned to herself. "I know there is. I just know it!"
"What age were you the first time Katara kissed you?" She asked suddenly.
"I was 12... But-"
"What age was Sokka?"
"For his first kiss? 14. Why To-"
"That's why I know there's something wrong with me."
"I'm 17 years old today. Twinkle toes. I'm 17 years old and I've never been kissed. Not once. That's how I know... That there's something wrong..."
"You don't know how embarrassing it is. I should have been married a year ago. If my parents had their way I would've been and instead I've never been kissed. I know I'm not the easiest person to get along with Twinkle toes... But you manage just fine so it can't be that bad... I just want the truth... What is so different about me." She asked in a dejected whisper.
"Toph... you're beautiful..."
"I'm not lying! You know I'm not Toph just listen to my heartbeat."
"You aren't lying." She said softly.
Aang's heart broke a little as a lonely tear carved it's way down the Earth-bender's pale cheek.
"They why..." She asked in a cracked voice.
"Toph... Maybe... Maybe the spirits wanted something special for you."
Toph snorted tearfully.
"I mean it Toph. Maybe the spirits just want it to be perfect... I was a kid when I first kissed Katara. There was nothing special. It was just awkward both physically and emotionally... Maybe you deserve better."
"Right." She said in a sarcastic whisper.
She stilled at the feel of a cool hand against her cheek. Cupping it, Wiping away the tears with a calloused thumb.
"I don't want your pity Twinkle toes." She said softly, turning away from his hand.
"I don't pity you Toph. I never have and I never will..."
Toph felt the Air-bender step into her space. She could tell by the position of his body that he was looking down on her. One hand went deliberately to her hip. He was giving her time to pull away, she realised. The hand rubbed soothing circles over the bone with a thumb.
"Maybe it's my fault." Said Aang quietly. "I was scared. I'm still scared Toph."
She took a sharp breath. Automatically looking up to where his voice was coming from. Her heartbeat pounded in her ears and ever so gently she felt his lips whisper over hers. They came back down on her own with a very gentle pressure. Her arms instinctively slipped around his neck and taking her lead he drew her closer to him.
He bit the soft skin of her bottom lip softly causing Toph to gasp slightly. Tingles exploded throughout her body as the Air-bender's tongue drew softly across the tender skin he had teased. She opened her mouth a little more. He hand her permission.
One had slid into her raven black tresses as her carefully explored the blind earth-bender's mouth. His hand almost immediately snagged in a tangle remaining from their earlier bending practice and he couldn't help smiling slightly into the kiss. This was Toph, and he wouldn't want her any way.
Toph didn't like fireworks. They were loud and she couldn't see them. So she immediately decided that that wasn't what she felt. What she felt... She couldn't find any way to describe it. It ran through her veins from the crown of the head to the tip of her toes causing them to curl into the earth.
They parted gently, never releasing each other from their embrace. Aang rested his chin on the top of Toph's head.
"I love you." He said. Watching the sun finally sink below the horizon. "I'm sorry I made you wait."
Toph couldn't help but smile into his chest.
"I love you too Twinkle toes." She mumbled. "...And it was worth the wait."