bToko Week – Fieldtrip/b

Aang, Aang, Aang. They had to find Aang. That was the mission. That was the purpose of all of this. Aang. They had to find Aang.

She knew this.

So why couldn't her mind just concentrate on that objective? Why was her mind so muddled?

Maybe it was because she was finally getting the chance to talk to Zuko. Maybe it was because she would finally get to be his friend. Yes, she'd welcomed him in the beginning, and he'd been grateful for that… but then he'd steadily gotten closer to Aang, Sokka, and Katara… but not her. He was even friendlier with Suki than he was with her.

Maybe, because he'd never really messed her life up, he didn't feel the need to make anything up to her with some friendship that the others had gained.

His footsteps remained steady—and somewhat hard to keep track of in the sand. He didn't seem to be conflicted at all.

It was times like this that she really wished she could see.

What was he looking at? Was he looking at her? What did his ieyes/i look like? Were his cheeks burning with a blush, like she figured hers were? Couldn't he tell that she never blushed? Was he even looking? Did he even care?

Who was she kidding? She was just a kid to him.

All this proved it.

She'd tried to tell him her story—to connect with him. She knew a bit about his past… how his father had burned and banished him, how his sister was trying to take him prisoner, how he'd given up his life at the palace to help Aang learn firebending—just as she'd left her home to teach Aang earthbending.

And she could tell from the way he acted that even their personalities were a bit similar. They could easily bond, if given the chance.

But she probably iwouldn't/i be given the chance. After all, he couldn't even listen to her story for a few minutes before he'd told her to stop talking and focus.

Right, focus. Aang. Like she could think about Aang, focus on Aang, while Zuko was around?

"Toph," his voice suddenly murmured.

Toph jumped. When had he stopped moving? Stupid sand. She could never see through sand. Sand sucked. And why was he right beside her? "What?" she growled. The bitter edge was inevitable—she wasn't going to let her sorrow show, so she had to replace it with something.

Zuko didn't answer for a moment, and she could hear his heart pounding softly in his chest. "Listen, I… I'm sorry about what I said. I just need to focus on this stuff right now."

"Whatever."

Zuko hesitated again. "I would like to get to know you, Toph. Maybe we can take another fieldtrip sometime, when the world's in a little less jeopardy?"

Toph snorted. "How do I know I can trust you, huh?"

Zuko seemed taken aback. "You're the only one who's trusted me the whole time, I thought. You don't trust me?"

Toph sighed. "I do. I'm just mad."

Zuko was silent for a moment. "Well, I promise we can take another fieldtrip, okay? A better fieldtrip."

Toph rolled her eyes. "Better than this? That won't be hard."

Zuko was quiet again, and then she felt his feet shift. He moved carefully to stand in front of her, and then brought her face up to his. His lips met hers just briefly, and Toph gasped, but didn't move. Zuko pulled away a moment later. "There. Now I'll have to work a bit to make the next time better."

Toph just blinked.

Zuko frowned. "Uh, Toph?"

Toph blinked again, clearing her mind. "Yeah. It better be better, Sparky. Now stop distracting me and let's find Aang."

Zuko smiled. "All right, let's go then."

As Toph followed Zuko's light, cloudy footsteps, her heart pounding loudly in her ears, she couldn't help but hope that the next fieldtrip happened very very soon.