Author's Note: Hey! So, I came up with this believable post-war Tokka story, and I thought it would be only fair of me to share it with all of you Tokka fans out there who still believe in post-war Tokka. I know I do. Also included: Kataang and Maiko. It starts out as Sukka, but that's probably how any post-war scenario would start. Also, I hate bashing of any kind, so there will be no Suki/Sukka bashing in this story.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: the Last Airbender or any of its characters. Mike and Bryan, the people who created this magnificent show, I worship thee.
"Move out of the way!" a young woman called into the crowded streets. "The Blind Bandit's here, and if you don't want your asses kicked, I suggest you let me through!"
Immediately, the people lining the roads frantically pushed and shoved their way to the sides of the road, hoping to give this threatening person enough birth as to not invoke her wrath. They learned long ago that the Blind Bandit was not one to be messed with, and it was best to avoid her altogether. One unfortunate soul, however, let slip a sullen thought traveling through his head at the moment.
"Why should we have to listen to a small brat?"
A collective gasp came from the crowd. The woman abruptly stopped in her tracks, letting the pedestrians take a good look at her. In reality her height was not on the small side, although the pedestrian may have been referring to her adolescent stature with that remark. Obvious to the audience, she was well into her teenage years, despite the fact her clothes could be considered unsuitable for a young woman to wear. She sported a green and yellow tunic, and despite the fact that it fit her comfortably, appearing as if it was recently tailored, it was smothered with dirt and mud. Finishing the rather brash outfit was a headband that complimented the green and yellow color scheme.
The woman adjusted this headband slightly, moved her foot swiftly, and before anyone realized what was going on, the man was soaring through the air only to land in a pile of trash. As the crowd started panicking, however, the young woman was well on her way.
She traversed the streets in the Lower Ring of Ba Sing Se until she reached a respectable looking building. Without bothering to knock, she slammed the door open and announced to the people gathered inside, "Here she is! The one, the only, the Blind Bandit!" As an afterthought she included, "Also known as Toph Bei Fong, for those who can't remember."
"Toph!" The crowd gathered exclaimed with joy as they all crowded around the surly young woman and hugged the life out of her, or so it seemed to Toph. Secretly afraid of being crushed, she choked out, "What is it with you guys and group hugs?"
Not showing any sign of letting her get some air, the person closest to her, the one and only Avatar Aang, rolled his eyes and commented, "It's the price of being apart of the group. That, and you get hunted down by angry jerks all of the time."
"Hey!" exclaimed Zuko, said angry jerk.
"No denying it, Sparky," Toph commented. "And Twinkletoes, either I've shrunk some or you shot up half a foot."
"Thanks… I guess. You've grown too!" Aang tried to compliment, which resulted in a shove out of the group hug. Toph was enjoying her breath of fresh air, while others smirked at Aang.
"What did I do?" he asked, clueless.
Toph merely glared at him. "I can't believe people mistake you as a ladies man. How have you kept Katara for two years?"
"Aang, you have a lot to learn." The annoying voice that just spoke made Toph's heart skip a beat. She wasn't about to let anyone know that, though.
"You're one to talk, Sokka," she said dryly. "Aren't you the same guy that gotten thrown out of that haiku class for girls?"
"Umm… it's great to see you again."
Toph rolled her eyes at the lame change of topic. "It's so great to see you too!" Sokka seemed cheered up by that, but Toph continued, "At least that would be what I would say if I could see, but even then, I'm still not sure."
While Sokka looked around for any help, his girlfriend simply smirked at him. "Oh come on, Sokka," Suki said, "You were asking for that one. And what is this about girls and haikus?"
While Sokka blushed and stammered about how the embarrassing story was in reality not worth listening to, Toph squeezed her way through to the other people who haven't had opportunity to chat with her yet. She didn't have to search that hard, though, since one of those people ran up to her and gave her a tight hug.
"Toph!" Katara exclaimed to the girl she considered to be her best friend and younger sibling. "It's so great to see you! You look really great!" Toph smiled, which to others seemed unlike her, considering her previous actions.
Sokka interrupted his stuttering to exclaim in frustration, "If guys try to compliment you, they get beaten up. But it's totally okay for girls to. Why?"
Toph replied with a smirk, "It's more fun to beat up guys than girls. But it's especially fun to press your buttons," she added under her breath.
Katara rolled her eyes and took back Toph's attention. "So, how are things with you and your parents?"
Toph frowned. "This is supposed to be a happy occasion. But, if you must know, since I'm turning sixteen in the coming year, they're bringing up the idea of marriage."
"Marriage?!" Almost everyone exclaimed. Sokka seemed especially startled about this. He suddenly popped up besides Toph, and asked the first question that came through his mind. "This wouldn't happen to be an arranged marriage, would it?"
"Of course," Toph replied sullenly. "My parents would never consider letting me choose, considering my poor taste."
Sokka's eye twitched. Without another word, he stormed outside. Exchanging an assuring look with the others, Suki followed after her boyfriend.
"What?" Toph asked aloud. "I'd probably ditch my parents before then, and my birthday is not for another half year or so."
Aang and Katara exchanged a glance, and Katara explained, "Sokka's a little touchy when it comes to arranged marriages. He'll probably tell you about it sometime."
Toph momentarily looked to where Sokka previously was, and then shrugged her shoulders. She moved towards the last two people she hadn't talked to yet, both conveniently located at the same table, so she pulled up a chair.
"Arranged marriage, huh." Mai commented in her usual monotone, throwing a stiletto onto to a bull's-eye attached to the side wall. "That sucks."
Toph snorted. "I don't see what the big deal is, Sharpy. I was gonna ditch my parents sooner or later, anyways. Now I have an actual reason to." Addressing the other, much older person at the table, she inquired, "Do you have any more tea, Iroh?"
"Certainly," Iroh smiled and handed her a cup he had been holding. "I brewed this special blend just for you, Toph. It enhances the senses of touch and hearing. I thought this would be something you would especially enjoy."
"Thank you," Toph said with much appreciation in her voice. Iroh was the one person she respected the most, and secretly, it meant a lot to her that he cared so much about her. After sipping her tea thoughtfully, she widened her eyes and proclaimed, "Wow! This stuff does wonders!"
Handing Toph some packets, Iroh said, "Here are some tea bags. Who knows? They might come in handy." He paused, and then started with a more serious tone, filled with wisdom, "So, why do you want to go against your parents wishes? They just want the best for you, I'm sure, and to secure you with a future."
Toph stated with an offhand attitude, "I can take care of myself. Always have, always will." She took another gulp of the tea, and felt a much larger rush from the effects.
Mai leaned in across the table towards her friend, folding her arms across her chest, and stated in a matter-of-fact tone, "I'm an observant person, you know. I can tell when a person is lying almost as well as you can most of the time. And that's not the only reason you don't like this whole arranged marriage thing. The other reason is because you want the guy you've been crushing on for years: Sokka."
Toph's face turned beet red. Iroh raised his eyebrows. Mai picked at her nails with a dull knife. Finally, Toph asked in a strained tone, "Couldn't you have been a little more subtle with that?"
Mai raised her arms in defense. "Hey, I've been watching you and that guy for two years. Little blushes, accidental touches, it was making me nauseous. It was like watching my childhood with Zuko all over again. Too bad no one ever pushed anyone into a fountain this time around. But," she pointed towards Iroh, "the all-knowing Iroh is here, and no one else is here to make you embarrassed. Zuko tells me that Iroh's advice works miracles, so I figured that I'd help him help you solve the problem."
Toph raised her eyebrows. "So, in other words, you care about me enough to help me?" Mai shrugged her shoulders.
"You're easier to relate to than all of the other girls I know: crazy Azula, peppy Ty Lee, and the girly-girls Katara and Suki. We basically come from the same type of family, and have boy troubles. Besides that, Zuko and I made a bet on whether or not I could create a friend in the group."
"What are you wagering?"
This time, Mai blushed. "Umm…"
"On second thought, I don't want to know." Toph shuddered. "But back to me. What advice can possibly help me? I don't want to steal Sokka from Suki. That just seems wrong, and Suki doesn't deserve that. And plus, he can barely stand me as a friend. There's no way he could ever love me like he loves Suki."
Mai rolled her eyes. Iroh entered the dispute and commented, "Behind all of the clouds in the sky, there is a beautiful sun."
Mai translated, "Basically, beneath the show of bickering you two put up all of the time, you and Sokka are really close."
Iroh nodded his head in approval towards Mai, and Toph groaned. "So? Sokka and Suki are together. End of discussion."
Iroh said, "Love is a funny thing. It is like the mighty tides; always changing, eroding and shaping the cliffs into different structures. Sometimes, the cliffs crumble because of the erosion, and sometimes the cliffs are smoothed out into safe and peaceful hills, and other times the cliffs remained unchanged, looking upon the beauty of the waves that crash against its side. In any instance, the waves will act on the cliffs. Just like love will act on you. It is up to you to decide how to stand against the waves."
Mai explained nonchalantly, "Love is powerful. It can destroy your relationship, won't change your friendship, or will turn it into something stronger. It's all up to you. But there's no avoiding it. Did I get everything?" She asked Iroh in a bored tone.
Iroh smiled and nodded. Toph, however, was even more disgruntled. "Sokka. Likes. Suki. Not me. Put it through you brains! There is no hope for me! Do you really want me to tell Sokka how I feel and make everyone miserable? I'll survive, and don't waste your time giving me any advice that won't work! Just drop it!"
Toph stood up and stormed off to outside of the tea shop. Staring out into nothingness, she detached the special meteor bracelet, her most prized possession that Sokka gave her long ago, from her arm and smashed it into a ball. She then formed a heart from that ball, and broke the heart in half. Why does love have to be so confusing? She never asked for it; she never wanted it. It just came from nowhere, and it seemed to be crushing her. Whenever she and Sokka were together the feelings that came made her believe she was drowning and floating at the same time. And then she remembered she could never have Sokka. And she came crashing down. Hard.
Toph tried to fall out of love. She tried to pay attention to other guys. She isolated herself from Sokka, hoping that the feelings would fade. But it never worked, and the burden she carried continued to cause her more anguish.
After her grief started to fade away, she suddenly realized that Iroh's special tea still had some lingering effects. To her amazement, the lingering effects on the actual earth were even more incredible than the full-blown effects felt through the wood. She could "see" every nook and cranny of Ba Sing Se perfectly, and even a fuzzy image of the area surrounding the city. The tea helped her "see" flawlessly. As Iroh, Mai, and Zuko talked, she "saw" the precise movements of each of their jaws and tongues as they formed words. She "saw" Aang and Katara eat each other's faces off, although that could have probably been something she didn't have to "see" so vividly. She "saw" Suki hugging Sokka, and she felt as if her heart had suddenly been torn out, for she could never comfort Sokka as his love, only as his friend. Friendship was good enough, of course, but Toph would always be left wishing. Wishing and suffering and yet somehow still content enough with Sokka at the same time.
Suddenly anxious for a distraction, Toph downed the rest of the tea Iroh gave to her. Pupils dilating, hands shaking, she collapsed on the ground. It was all overwhelming; she could "see" the desert, every grain of sand. She could "see" the ocean, the undiscovered creatures that hid deep below the surface, and its depth that went deeper and deeper. She could "see" it all. She could "see" the entire Earth Kingdom.
Dazed with this new strength, Toph suddenly found herself "seeing" the other side of the Earth Kingdom. She "saw" a cliff, a meadow, and in the middle of it all, something otherworldly yet very familiar…
Toph lazed in that spot for ten more minutes until she was sure she could stand up without falling down. As she got up and took a wobbly step forward, a figure burst out of the building, and ran to Toph, helping her stay stable. Of course, fate made the person that came the one she wanted to speak to the most at the moment.
"Toph, what happened?" Sokka asked her in an anxious tone.
Toph angled her head so it seemed like she was looking directly at Sokka. In a shaky voice, she answered,
"I found your space sword."
If you're confused, I promise it will all come together in the end. Comments greatly appreciated!
If you're confused, I promise it will all come together in the end. Comments greatly appreciated!