AN. And thus did the Author start wading back into A:TLA fic. (...:3)

I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender or any related characters. This was written out of enjoyment of the series, and no profit is being made.

Ships: (Romance) Toph/Aang. Mentions Mai/Zuko/Katara and Suki/Sokka. (Friendship) Ty Lee&Suki.
Spoilers: Season 3 - Episode 21 (only in terms of romantic relationships)
Warnings: None.
Notes: Takes place sometime after the war ends.

Running and A Way

She doesn't want to talk to anyone.

She's tired of chasing after the boy that will never look at her that way. She might've talked to Suki about it, but how could she? Ty Lee would do, but of course there's the connection to Suki again. Which leads to Sokka and the stupid emotional mess that's splattered across his name.

She's tired of Zuko and Mai pretending. She's tried of Katara pretending. She's tired tired tired of everything.

So she runs. She runs for many days and nights, across oceans and over mountains.

Until she gets tired again and she lies on her back under a tree in a warm forest. Everything is so warm in sunlight, but no amount of sun gives her what she's looking for. Until it catches up with her.

The wind blows the fallen leaves around him, lotus position on the tree root just off the little toe on her left foot. He's been sitting so still she hadn't even noticed him arrive. Or maybe, he was already here?

"You found me," she said, turning her head so her black bangs dust her bare shoulder and the dirt.

"You were missing?" he asks quietly.

The wind breathes through the trees and ruffles his robes. There is a silent thread humming, thick and silvery, running through their chests. It links them. It aches.

"Run away with me," he says. It isn't a question, but it's not strong enough to be a statement.

She shakes her head. "No more running away." She takes his offered hand and stands up, but doesn't let go after that. "Just running forward. And when things catch up, you turn around and face them."

She turns blank eyes towards him. "Understood?"

He nods once, crystal clear, and they walk into the woods.

The thread tangles around their hands again and again. They can't let go.