Oh yes. I can write a Taang oneshot that has neither Toph nor Aang in it.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, really...
Katara sighed wearily, massaging her temples as her five-year-old daughter zoomed about the room.
"Would you please come over here?" she asked gently, but with a little bit of sternness in her voice. Her daughter caught it, and came over quickly.
"Yes?" she asked, feigning innocence.
"Sit down." Her mother commanded softly, patting the bed next to her. She obeyed. "The sun has long since set. It's time for you to lie down and sleep." Katara told her, kindly but firmly. Her face immediately clouded over.
"But Mom!" she protested. Katara gave her the strict motherly look that she was so good at. The little girl folded her arms and pouted. Her mother couldn't help but laugh a little. She was very cute. "Tell you what, I'll tell you a story now, and you don't have to get ready for bed until after it's over." she told her.
The girl rolled her eyes. "Oh come on, mom. I've heard all of your boring old stories before. I might as well just go straight to bed." She grumbled, moving to get up. Katara reached a hand out and pull her back.
"No. I have a new one. I promise you'll like it." She said sincerely. Her daughter looked thoughtful for a moment. Then she nodded and sat back down.
"Okay, but it better be good. What's it about?" she asked, looking a little curious. Her mother smiled, and thought it over. She actually didn't have a new story, so she knew she would have to think one up fast, lest she faced the wrath of her daughter.
She tried to think of some story, but couldn't. Then it hit her. Maybe she wouldn't have to make one up. After all, they say truth is stranger than fiction.
"Alright. I have the perfect story for you," she announced confidently.
"I'll be the judge of that." The girl replied, not sounding convinced. Her mother smiled and put her arm around her shoulder.
"Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who lived in an enchanted castle. She had skin paler than the moon, and hair blacker than the midnight sky. But she was no ordinary princess." She began with the melodic voice she could only use when telling a lovely story. Her daughter furrowed her brow.
"Why," she asked. "She sounds pretty ordinary to me."
She smiled at her knowingly. "She was blind."
Her blue eyes widened.
"Oh." she murmured.
"And because she was blind, her parents were very protective of her. They loved her dearly, and didn't want her to get hurt. So they kept their daughter a secret from the rest of the world, and hid her away deep inside the castle. Now, her parents certainly meant well, but this princess had a untamable spirit, and she longed for freedom. She felt like a fragile doll, being kept out of harm's way so that she wouldn't break, and she hated it. Every single, day, she sat in her lonely room and tried to entertain herself, but she never really had fun. She had all the most expensive toys and trinkets, but no one to share them with. And she had no one to talk to either, except for the maids who occasionally came in to clean."
Katara laughed softly. "Oh it was. Believe me, she hated it. But one day, the princess found something that she could do, and that no one, not even her parents could take away from her."
"What was it?" the child questioned eagerly.
"She could earthbend."
Katara beamed. She had really gotten her daughter's attention now. "And not only that," she continued, "but she found that with earthbending, she could feel everything around her through the ground. For the first time in her life, she could see. And so she began practicing her earthbending secretly, and she got really, really good at it."
Her daughter nodded, her eyes wide as saucers.
"And when the princess heard about an earthbending tournament being held in her city, she decided that she just had to join it. And guess what happened when she did."
"She won, didn't she?" the little girl exclaimed, completely engrossed in her mother's story. Katara nodded.
"Yes. All of the big strong men who considered themselves the greatest earthbenders around couldn't take on this one little girl."
Her daughter giggled.
"And for a while, that was the life of the princess. When her parents were around, she pretended to be the helpless little girl that they thought she was, but when the left, she became The Blind Bandit, the greatest earthbender in the world."
"Wow. She sounds so cool!" the little girl exclaimed, her eyes shining with thoughts of The Blind Bandit. Katara smiled sadly.
"Yes, but she was still missing something. Something very important."
Her daughter looked shocked. "What? What was she missing?"
"Sure, the princess had lots of fun kicking butt at the earthbending tournaments, but she always had to come back home. And when she did, she was always just as lonely as before."
The child frowned.
"But one day, someone very special showed up at one of the earthbending tournaments."
"The prince!" the girl exclaimed. Katara paused, confused. The image of a young man with a large scar covering half of his face appeared in her mind. Seeing her mother's puzzled expression the girl quickly explained.
"Well this story's got a princess but no prince! And that's just not the way it works in fairytales. She's got to have a prince to fall in love with."
"Oh," Katara said, understanding her child's logic. "Yes. Well this princess's prince happened to be a boy who was looking for someone to teach him earthbending. And he decided to come to the tournament to find the best of the best. And we both know who that was."
"Naturally. And boy, was that prince impressed when he saw the princess's bending. But, when the prince asked for her help, the princess turned him down. She was not interested in helping a complete stranger, and she told him to leave her alone. But he wasn't going to give up that easily. He followed her to her house and tried talking to her again, but she wouldn't listen. So he arranged to have dinner with her and her parents. He soon found out that she was keeping a great secret from her parents, and that they had no idea what a great earthbender their daughter was. So he talked to her in private that night, and she explained her situation to him. However, while they were talking, they were attacked and captured!"
The child gasped. "By who?"
"The other earthbenders from the tournaments. They…knew her parents had a lot of money, and wanted them to pay to get their daughter back. And they figured it would be best to take the prince too, so he couldn't bust her out."
"It is. But it worked. Her parents came, and they paid the money, and their daughter was released."
"And what about the prince?"
"He was not released. The kidnappers realized that the evil king had a reward out for him, and that they could make even more money if they handed the prince over to him instead. And so the princess was faced with a dilemma. She knew she was the only one who could beat all the baddies and free the prince. But to do that, she would have to reveal her secret to her parents and she wasn't sure what they would do. But she decided that she couldn't just leave the prince, and she was tired of hiding who she really was from her parents. So she fought."
"And she won, of course." The girl said confidently.
"Of course," her mother agreed. "The prince was freed. But her parents were shocked. They didn't want their daughter out fighting in tournaments, so they decided to lock her up and keep a much closer eye on her."
Katara smiled at her daughter. "But you don't really think the princess would stand for that, do you?" she shook her head. "No, the princess ran away with the prince that very night."
"Yes. She had made her first friend, and she wasn't going to let her parents keep her away from him. So the prince and the princess traveled the world over, having lots of fun adventures together, and they fell in love with each other, and…" she trailed off suddenly, not wanting to tell her little girl how the story really ended.
"And they lived happily ever after?" she supplied, wondering why her mother would stop at the very end. Katara forced a soft smile and replied, "Yes. They lived happily ever after. The end."
Her daughter was enthralled. "That…was the best story ever, mom!"
Katara smiled at her. "Yes, well…remember our deal? Go get ready for bed!" The girl nodded and raced off. Katara watched her go, then lied back and stared at the ceiling. If only the prince and the princess had lived happily ever after, she thought sadly. Then her daughter would have known them as Aang and Toph instead. She had been careful not to reveal that the prince was the Avatar, or an airbender, and she certainly hadn't mentioned his dating a certain water tribe girl before actually falling in love with the princess. She had removed her brother and herself from the story entirely.
She hadn't needed to be as careful with the princess, who had died before her daughter was born and was never talked about, especially not by Aang. The story probably would have left her daughter heartbroken if she had been truthful. And they lived happily ever after, until a monster stole the princess's face just wasn't a good ending. A part of her wondered if the girl would ever find out the truth about the Blind Bandit.
But for now, the tragic romance of her two best friends had become nothing more than a fairytale, with a happy fairytale ending.
Bittersweet, isn't it?