Earthlight: A Tokka fanfiction
The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. Carl Jung.
Toph sat down on the guest bed she'd been given in the Northern Water Tribe palace. Sick and tired of all the ice and cold, she'd decided to take refuge in her room away from all the guests from around the world that were coming in daily in preparation for the Avatar's wedding day.
Putting her feet down onto the ice, she found that she felt worse than before with the cold ache in her feet growing. With all the ice and next to no dirt she was only given a weak idea of what was around her, and found that she was growing more and more dependant on her hearing as her feet grew numb with the cold.
Eventually she would have to cave in and wear shoes like everyone else, or risk getting frostbite and ruining her vision and her earthbending abilities. But with shoes on, she would be trapped in her own disability, entirely dependant on her hearing and those around her to make her way around.
She laughed at that thought; she did not want to be caught depending on some of the people that were here for the wedding. Most of them had been ready to skin her alive for not being in formal attire while walking around the palace. Like she really wanted to walk around in heavy dress robes.
Taking extra time to pick her toes, she lay down and contemplated what she was going to do while she was holed up in the palace. Toph groaned and turned over in her bed as she realized that there was nothing to do. She shivered, and thought to herself, It's not that I don't want to be the bridesmaid; I just can't stand all this ice!
Standing up and walking uneasily to her pile of things, she grabbed a pair of fur-lined slippers she'd bought for the occasion. Shoving them onto her feet, she felt instantly worse and better at the same time.
Blinder than ever, she walked over to her bed and sat on it once more, getting the feel for the warmth around her feet and the eerie nothing surrounding her. Slipping off the Bracelet once given to her by Sokka, she played with it until it began to grow late. Knowing she had too, she put the bracelet back onto her arm and began her slow shuffle to the banquet hall.
"They just had to pick the Northern Water Tribe for their big fancy wedding, of course, couldn't have it in the Western Air Temple, or one of the Earth Kingdom capitols where there was room and dirt!" she muttered under her breath. She now was out in the hall where people were able to see and run into her, so she crept along at a snailturtle's pace. Suddenly she was next to an old woman she didn't know, like many of the people that were flooding in every day claiming to be close to the avatar and his bride-to-be.
"Back when the war was going on they didn't have places like this in either of the tribes, though I hear that the Southern Tribe is rebuilding expanding now that they have waterbenders. Do you remember before the war? I suppose you would've been too young…" the old hag droned on in Toph's ear. Toph fought the urge to scream at the senile old woman that she was nearing her twenties and the war had ended less than eight years ago.
But she could understand people believing she was still a kid; she'd hardly grown more than a few inches in the past years. 'I just like to keep close to the ground,' she would say when people commented on it. And even though she was short and blind, even she knew she had matured in other ways along the years.
The old woman was still droning on while Toph made her way clinging on to the wall throughout the journey. Suddenly a familiar voice called out to her rescue, "Ah, Sowa Fea, I see you have met the lovely Toph Bei Fong, who I'm sure has been delighted with your company, but there happens to be a nice young man at the entrance who is looking for your company."
The old woman named Sowa thanked Sokka and left, leaving the two alone as far as Toph could tell from listening. "She waved goodbye, just so you know," he remarked, "I feel bad for whatever poor boy she traps. Now, may I ask why you are holding that wall for dear life?"
Toph let go of he wall except for with one hand and grinned and him, holding up a foot in explanation. In answer to his chuckles, she remarked, "Yeah Sokka, missed you too. It's only been three years since we last saw each other, but that's okay, I didn't really want to see you. And no, thanks, I don't want any help at all making my way around."
"Still the same old cuddly Toph, as always I see. I'm here five minutes, save her from the Tribe loudmouth, and still get my head chewed off."
He grabbed her arm and began to lead her down the hallway at a faster pace, "If you keep going at that pace, we might've eaten in a few weeks Toph. So, why don't you fill me in on all the great wedding details? How's my sister look in her wedding dress? What are the colors?"
"Ask me like I know," she muttered. "Why haven't you been here this past week Sokka? I thought you'd be one of the first to arrive, I mean it is your sister's wedding after all. Everyone's been talking about the Avatar's marriage. What's kept you?"
He laughed, "I've been in the South Pole, and needless to say it was hard to arrange transport up here. Y'know, sometimes I really do miss Appa, with him I'd have been here a week ago. But I came by boat."
"What were you doing in the South Pole?" Toph asked, eager to steer the subject away from the marriage that was going to be in just a few days, "I thought you were staying on Kyoshi Island with Suki."
Even preoccupied with walking in the blackness, she could tell he was hesitating. "Me and Suki had a falling out a little while ago; we couldn't make it work with each other. I've been staying in the South Pole since then."
Toph was shocked by this sudden fact, Suki and Sokka had been together for eight years now, if anything she had expected to hear about their wedding soon enough. She briefly gathered herself and replied lightly, "I'm so sorry Sokka."
She knew that it had been Suki's call by the way he'd spoken about it, "It's alright Toph, it isn't your fault. I've been fine with the whole thing, I know why it happened. And in truth I'm kinda glad. Have you ever gotten into a fight with a Kyoshi warrior, physically or verbally? Let me tell you, they're impossible."
He sounded so much like the old Sokka, the one she used to like so badly after the war, the one she'd had to give up. "I'm glad you've taken it well then, I remember what it was like after me and Teo were together. But I know you and Suki were together a lot longer."
Sokka laughed, "True, we'd been together a lot longer than normal, but hey, even the best of things aren't always the best."
Toph looked in what she hoped was Sokka's general direction and said, "You'd better watch out, you'll turn into Iroh if you keep talking like that. Anyway, Katara and Aang will be thrilled to see you; they've both been worried sick. But now everyone's together again for the first time in a while."
Aang and Katara greeted Sokka with great enthusiasm in dining hall, which was full of bustling people here for their wedding. Some were old friends, some new, and others utterly unknown but there with the best wishes for the couple. Zuko and Mai were there with Aang and Katara when Toph and Sokka arrived, Ty Lee was on Kyoshi with the other warriors presumably.
This was the first large gathering for a while, and all around the hall voices bounced around, trading news and stories and giving Toph a headache as soon as she walked in.
Halfway through the meal she pushed her plate away and rested her head in her hands. This went unnoticed at first, but then Katara asked, "Toph, are you alright?"
Suddenly she felt a number of people staring at her, but the noise of people talking did not cease. She raised her head up with slight pain and nodded only to slump back into her open hands.
A while later she felt someone's hands grab hold of her shoulder gently and then begin to pick her up, "My room's are closest to hers, it's not a hassle at all." Sokka's voice was soft, and she slowly realized that she had fallen asleep due to the pain. In the midst of her grogginess she felt a deep embarrassment, hoping only her friends had noticed her slip.
She felt the jostle of him walking down the halls, all was quiet now, and she presumed that it must've been quite late. After a few moments where she'd almost fallen asleep again, the movement of his body told her that he was trying to put her down.
As she felt the softness of the bed, she sighed and smiled lightly, and he gave a light gasp, "Did I wake you up? I'm sorry; I should've let Zuko…"
She laughed and said thickly, "I've seen Zuko, not you, I've missed you."
He laughed so lightly she could hardly hear it, she was so tired, "Don't go Sokka, don't go. You went last time, not again…"
"Your tired Toph, go to sleep, I'll see you tomorrow."
"No Sokka," she said, barely able to hear herself, "Don't."
She reached out with the last bit of her strength and reached for his hand, and surprisingly found it. She was almost asleep, her consciousness fading fast, and then, out of the blue he said, "Alright Toph, I won't."
Toph awoke the next morning with a headache the reverberated throughout her skull. She groaned and then remembered why, her mind shoving aside her headache. She listened intently to the room, greeted by loud snores from Sokka, and was surprised they hadn't woken her up before now.
"He stayed though," she murmured.
Getting out of bed slowly and quietly, she put her slippered feet to the ground and began to feel her way around for the large empty closet so she could get ready for the day. After she found it and her clothes, she went in and managed to get fully dressed in what she hoped looked okay.
After listening for a moment to hear if Sokka was still asleep, she headed out the door to a route she knew well by now, heading down into the more common areas of the North.
She had to have been out for at least three hours when she ended up on a bridge, looking out over what sounded like the ocean. A sharp tap on her shoulder made her whirl around and use her meteor bracelet as a weapon, only to hear a laugh in response, "You still have that thing? I gave that to you ages ago! And the ocean is this way Toph."
She felt the heat rise up in her cheeks, so she turned her head defiantly away from him, "I wasn't trying to look at the ocean."
"Right, you were trying to observe the rooftop about three feet away over there, I see. Very clever."
"Leave me alone Sokka! What're you doing down here bothering me for? Katara is probably looking for you. The wedding is tomorrow!"
"She probably is, but after two hours of that stuff I got hungry and ditched to come down here for some food. Now what're you doing down here Toph? At least I was there for a little bit," he retorted.
"I've been here for the past week enduring this crap, so don't even act like I'm being a hypocrite," Toph said, irritated with him now.
"Okay, okay," he resigned, "Why don't you come with me to eat? If we keep standing here like this I'm going to die of hunger! And if I die before this wedding thing is over, Katara will kill me!"
Toph laughed, knowing this was probably true and agreed, allowing him to guide her through the less familiar paths that she couldn't make her way around on. Never did she feel more grateful to have a friend like him with her to make this icy hell bearable in her darkness.
When they reached the little eatery that Sokka had heard about, they sat down and she waited while Sokka listed off what sounded like half of the menu. When the paused she waited for a moment before Sokka remembered she was blind and ordered s dish for her.
"Sorry Toph, but its too easy to forget that you can't see, you pull it off really well," he excused himself. Smiling at him she said, "I try."
Eventually around an hour later he finished the last of his food, and sighed, "That was good, I needed that."
"I swear Sokka, I have never met anyone who can eat as much as you and still get hungry."
"It's a skill I've learned from many years of training," he bragged.
Toph scoffed at him and he grabbed up her hand, "Fine, doubt me if you will, but it's only because you can't see how much I really do eat."
Laughing, she tried to lower her face as he led her out of the place by her hand. It was a small gesture, and he didn't seem to notice anything strange about it by the way he spoke, but to her it brought back a world of things from when they'd been young and travelling. Cursing herself inwardly, she allowed herself to be led backup to the palace.
"I'm going to guess by that sullen look that you don't want to go and face the wrath of Katara?" he asked once they had gone a little ways.
Nodding, she mumbled, "You have no idea."
Sokka laughed and gave her hand, and unknowingly her heart, a small squeeze, "Well, we can't miss the ceremony tonight unfortunately, but until then I can leave you in your rooms to get ready, okay?"
She nodded glumly, wishing for more of his company and jokes that had made lunch so enjoyable. He chuckled, "I'm sorry I can't stay like I did last night, but somebody has to face Katara's irritation, and I'd rather it be me than you. I can come and get you and escort you to the ceremony hall tonight though, if you'd like."
"Thanks Sokka," she said weakly, giving him a smile in reply. They stopped after a moment and he replied, "No problem Toph, I'll see you tonight."
He let go of her hand and she reached out and put her other one on the wall to find the doorway. Inside she was reeling with thoughts, and swooning over how kind he'd been lately toward her. She felt herself blush and it wasn't until there was a slight shuffle that she realized he hadn't left yet.
Panicking she tried to cover it up by letting go of the wall and heading for her room, only to slip and fall forward, only to be caught by Sokka himself.
"Watch yourself Toph, what was that about?" he asked, shaking with laughter.
"I didn't know you were still there, it freaked me out to hear you still beside me, you were so quiet," she replied, standing herself up and then reaching out a hand for him to take.
Once they were both up, she rounded in on him, "What were you doing still standing there for anyway?"
"Well, I was debating about doing this," he said softly, his confliction clear in his voice to Toph. Then he came up close to her and leaned down, kissing her briefly on the cheek before stepping away quickly and saying roughly, "I'll see you tonight."
Toph was sure he was gone this time and slowly touched her cheek before feeling her way into her room, face on fire.
Around two hours after this incident a pair of maids came to take care of her hair, clothes, and make-up for the ceremony that night. It took an hour an a half of much poking, prodding, and musing to get Toph to fit to their standards of beauty, let alone allow her to go around he palace. By the time they were through, Toph was ill-tempered and ready to snap.
It was only when someone knocked on her door that they released her from their binds to answer the knock. Standing to get her bearings adjusted to the weight of her robes, she heard a gasp from the door, "Toph, you look good."
She laughed uneasily at Sokka, who'd kept his promise to escort her to the ceremony, "Just don't draw a picture of it and I'll be fine."
"Oh, ha ha, go ahead and make fun of my drawing abilities when you've never seen them. Everyone rag on Sokka, because he can't draw," he said. Toph heard him walk up to her and he took her hand once again, and this time she knew he meant it in the same way she wanted him to.
"Sokka…" she started.
"I know Toph, I know," he said, a bitter edge to his voice, "Suki told me."
"Oh," she said quietly and then followed after him, thinking on the incident so long ago in the Serpent's Pass and how it must've seemed to Suki. The two of them kept walking on in silence, Sokka keeping his grip light on her hand and Toph wishing more than ever before that she could see.
They arrived last and the ceremony in preparation for the wedding the next day began right after their arrival, with Sokka as Aang's best man. After the ceremony was over and everyone was sure of their places, Katara kept Toph behind while Aang and Sokka caught up with each other.
"What's up Katara?" Toph asked lightly.
Katara had let Toph put a hand on her shoulder as they walked on behind the guys, so they went along in their robes as Katara began, "Sokka's been talking to me today about you, and what's happened lately and what Suki once told him."
"Oh, I see," Toph said in a low voice. She had no idea what to expect from Katara now, and she was wary of what was coming.
"It's difficult for him, you know, knowing how you felt back then. He feels bad for not being better to you. He really had no idea, and the thing with Suki… It was bad Toph; you should've seen them, at each other's throats like that. They're lucky they managed to stay friends after it. I don't know why, but they finally just broke, and it was really hard on him. This is the first time I've seen him be normal around people, and I think it might be because of you Toph."
"Me? What did I do?" she said taken aback.
"I think you remind him not to be to down on himself, and show him to make due. But I also think he sees a missed opportunity," Katara replied, giving her hand a small pat of reassurance.
"I dunno Katara, I haven't been with anyone really but Teo, and that was pushing it with our friendship."
Toph could feel Katara hesitate, "Sokka's had difficulties with past relationships, and they've been pretty bad. Yue turned into the moon, and now this thing with Suki. I think that's why you'd be good for each other."
"What?!" Toph near shouted. Her shout grabbed Aang and Sokka's attention as she heard their voices stop ahead and their footfalls come nearer.
"Everything okay?" Sokka asked Katara. She felt as though she was nodding, and handed Toph over to him as she joined Aang, "Just think about what I said to you Toph."
Toph nodded toward her voice and then began to follow along Sokka toward her room. He said hello to a number of people that passed them by and continued on for an appropriate while until they finally stopped and she let go of him to find her rooms when he stopped her.
"Toph?" he asked. Even by his voice she could tell he was confused, and another emotion lingered under that she couldn't identify.
Trying to pass off innocence, she softly said, "Yes, Sokka?"
"Look Toph, I know I've been awkward lately, it's just, this is the best I've felt since me and Suki split up. I just don't want you to think that I'm toying with you or anything, I really did mean the stuff I did earlier."
Toph hesitated before beginning, "Sokka, I…"
She was cut off then by Sokka's lips on her own, a sudden thing that she hadn't expected. She stretched up and leaned into him, enjoying the moment that she'd only dreamt about not so long ago. He held her gently and then slowly pulled away from her, letting go of her entirely.
"I-I have to go," he whispered in a throaty voice. She heard him run off and was once again left alone with her thoughts.
"Why?" she groaned to herself.
The next day she got up late, with two maids already knocking on her door to get her ready. They came in and shoved her onto the chair, so she presumed they had gotten sick of waiting outside her door for her to wake up. It took a lot longer to get ready this time, as they were all irritable and it was the real thing today.
When all was said and done, Toph could hardly breathe and the two maids agreed they were satisfied and left her to wait for an escort down to the main hall. She sat there and began playing with her bracelet as she waited, wondering who would be coming to get her. It was a little time later when she heard a knock on the door and looked up in its general direction.
A bold voice surprised her as it called out, "Hey Toph!"
Toph blinked for a moment at the voice, before replying, "Hey Suki, I wasn't expecting you."
"Yeah, I figured that much, but the maids said you needed an escort, and I ended up being the one picked to come and get you."
Toph sighed, "Oh, please, don't all come running at once."
Suki chuckled and came over to grab Toph's arm, "Same old Toph."
Toph began to follow her as they went off toward the main hall, she could tell Suki was hesitant as they walked off down the hall. They both walked stiffly as they tried to deal with the growing silence that was filling in around them as they were the only ones walking down the hall. Everyone else was down in ceremony hall or in the main hall, preparing for the wedding that was to take place in less than an hour.
"When did you get here Suki?" Toph asked suddenly, her voice a little harsh.
"I see you heard about what happened with me and Sokka. But I got in early today, I won't be hanging around to make things any worse Toph, I promise," Suki said softly, her voice a little hurt. They continued on the rest of the way in a stony silence, broken only by Suki opening a door where Toph presumed Katara waited.
"Thanks Suki," Katara said, and Toph heard her walk over amidst a large amount of cloth, "I was wondering if she was going to show up at all."
"No problem Katara, I'll leave you with your maid of honor, I think Haru wanted to talk to me before the ceremony anyway."
Toph heard the door close behind her and let out a sigh, to which Katara reached over and patted her back.
"That bad? I'm sorry, I would've sent Sokka, but he's been with Aang since this morning. Here," Katara said, handing Toph the silk ribbon she was to follow down the isle, "Hold on to it. You look wonderful Toph, you really do."
Giving the best grin she could, Toph said her thanks and wished Katara luck as she heard the music start. Katara gave her a little push when it was her turn to go down the isle. Toph took the steps with the timing she'd been told, hoping she didn't look like an idiot or trip.
Gripping the silk ribbon for dear life, she felt it begin to turn just as she heard the gasps signaling that Katara had stepped out, probably outshining everyone in the room. Counting slowly in her mind, she only half listened as the ceremony went on. The only thing that really touched her was the pride in each of her friend's voices as they swore their oaths to each other.
Soon enough the ceremony was over, and just like that Toph was whipped into confusion as people began bustling about. She tried to find her way back to Katara's dressing room by following the silk ribbon once more, but was faced with the obstacle of people crowding through the large and cold room.
Her frustration mounting, she growled under her breath slightly and she heard a laugh behind her, "Need help?"
Sokka grabbed up her hand and began to lead her away with the other guests to the dining area. They wandered around the hall and gave their congratulations to the newly wedded couple, mingling with other friendly faces (or voices in Toph's case) along the way, but never once did his hand leave hers. Toph inwardly thanked her spirits for this as they wandered through the chaotic business of the party.
After a while of chatting and light eating, Toph felt Sokka pull her off into a new direction where she was greeted by the cold night air. She gave a little shiver, and he chuckled, "I know its cold tonight, isn't it? But I'm glad this whole wedding business is over; too hectic for my liking."
Toph nodded in agreement, but before she could speak ha began again, "I'm leaving the North Pole tomorrow morning."
Toph was instantly stuck with a feeling of guilt, wondering if she had brought this on or not. Then she felt his gaze fall upon her and he took her hand in his again.
"I was wondering, Toph, if you'd like to come with me. I know that ice isn't your favorite thing, so I got an extra ticket, just in case," he said gently. She reeled at this admission on his part.
"I know it's soon, but we'll both see them again in the near future, right?" he said finally, adding a weak laugh at the end to make it all seem natural.
When she said nothing, he began to fluster and splutter, "I mean, you- you don't have too, I just wanted to, you know, make the offer."
She then broke out into the widest smile she could manage, wishing she could see his face, and then she cried out, "Finally! I won't have to put up with anymore shoes!"
Sokka laughed at this outburst and then pulled Toph closer to him, still chuckling. She felt a blush creep up her face as he pushed her chin up to presumably look her in the eyes.
"You look great tonight Toph," Sokka said softly. At this he pulled her into another kiss that Toph expected this time. Sweeter and longer than before, they pulled away from it slowly.
"Sokka…" Toph whispered, but then she felt him pull away suddenly and panicked, "What is it?"
"I think they just announced dessert, come on Toph, we've got a long while to talk, but dessert is now!"