Engagement one, actually
Toph can feel the ring on Suki's finger, can hear the excitement in her voice, but wishes it was her that got to be so happy. Frankly, she thinks Suki doesn't deserve it.
Sokka was her hero. Was, that is, until she caught the two of them together, that one night in the Fire Nation. Now she thinks of him as the villain waiting at the end of the tunnel for her. Tears won't fall, but she knows they need to before she earthbends him into next Tuesday.
An image in a dream of the two of them together. Although Toph can not see the photographs herself, she remembers the day perfectly. "Let's get drunk and do crazy stuff," Sokka had suggested. It had also been his idea to kiss her cheek in the photo booth.
It holds all her possessions, except her heart. She's leaving tonight
Running away is more like it
She knows that's how everyone will see it. Even though they know she's strong in her own right, they also know this could be enough to crush her if she stayed. A few weeks in the Fire Nation with ol' Sparky should do the trick, she thinks. There's a brief hawk-letter exchange, and she's on her way to meet the brother she never had, also known as the only man she still trusts. (Aang will forever be a little boy, her Twinkle Toes, so he doesn't count.)
Why flying sucks
As if trudging through the forests and desert and everything weren't bad enough, she runs into a huge storm two days into her journey. Just my luck, Toph thinks as the first drops touch her skin.
Through the rain she feels like a little girl again, one clinging to her mother's skirts. Though this little girl is reaching for anything at all she can not see to try and make it. Her fingers slip as her feet leave the ground and…
…She finds herself in water, her head knocking painfully against a rock. Thank the spirits she let Sokka teach her how to swim. The ringing in her head becomes too much, and just as she thinks she hears her name on the wind, she blacks out and lets the water claim her.
It's all she knows. Sharp, sweet pain that means she's still alive. The gentle hands massaging her temples, though, she can not place.
"Drink this," a male voice soothes, "you'll feel a lot better, Toph." Surely she didn't hear right. It couldn't have been Sokka that saved her. After all, he had a wedding to plan, didn't he?
It's dark when she wakes again. A fire roars inside the small cave, close enough to warm her shivering body. He's still stroking her hair absently, and she's still savoring every touch. Toph knows he's praying to his lost Yue on advice. She hopes that the moon will give him the answers she wants it to.
Tastes so sweet
"Sokka?" her voice rings out in the dark the next night. He answers only by pulling his arms around her tighter as they get ready for the rest of the journey to Zuko's manor. "Sokka, why did you do it?" She knows he realizes she's asking about Suki.
He knows he broke her. She knows only that his heart goes into a crazed frenzy as soon as she asks.
"I had to," his voice, always so nice to her ears, states. "Oh, Toph, I just had to. There was no other way."
She settles next to him, new gown of the fanciest Earth Kingdom silk flowing around her petite form, and hugs him close. "There is always an alternative, Snoozles. No one's destiny is set in stone."
He's glad for it, and her blindness, because both shield her from seeing the tears of love and gratefulness that stream down his cheeks.
"Toph?" he questions, staring into the space beyond her left ear. "Promise that we'll figure this…us…out when we get to Zuko's?" She nods with an almost violent vigor, feeling tears of her own stinging her eyes.
Don't want to wake
She dreams only of him, of their future and their plans, when she finally lets sleep claim her. The dreams wander into uncharted territory in her mind, a direction she never let herself go, and she imagines the wedding they could have. The wedding she would never see.
Can't hold one to you
The dreams wander for a long time, then stop on his face. She's "seen" it before, memorizing every curve and plane. Oh, spirits, he is beautiful. Toph knows there is no one else in the world quite like her Sokka.
They don't need to speak. Everything they need to know can be seen in the other's unseeing eyes or felt in the soft patter of their heart beats.
Warmth and Passion
They stop the next night to rest, let her injuries heal. The fire is warm, the affection and attraction is there, and it's all she can do to keep from kissing the boy she's loved for four years.
Is it enough?
He's trying to be strong. To keep his fears from her, and keep her safe. But he sees the emotion in her sightless eyes, and it takes all the strength he has to keep from caving in to the one thing he knows she wants most in the world.
Her's is slipping
She knows it won't work. There's too many complications in both of their lives. The mask that had been fading away slips right back upon her face and she is once more Toph Bei Fong, royal liaison of Fire Lord Zuko – not just Toph, the girl who loves a man so ridiculously it makes it hard to breathe sometimes.
Spirits, why is she acting this way? He thinks. Why is she so cold? The answer is simple to her – she can't harm Suki. Toph knows how the warrior would feel with Sokka taken from her. Toph also knows that she would rather spend the rest of her life in shoes than let Suki have him.
Is this it?
They dance around the issue, tenderly stepping to try and make it all go away. Neither mentions the enormity of what they must come to figure out. Would it work out? Who would be hurt? What about tradition? What about Aang and Katara (for they both know Zuko doesn't care)?
They are only two days from the Fire Nation when it happens. He knows he should be sleeping, but spirits is it hot! The only thing he can do is sneak down to the river. Imagine the surprise when he realizes he's not the only one there.
The body is a temple…
She's so beautiful Sokka can hardly stay standing. Clothed only in her under-wraps, it leaves little to the imagination. Water dripping from her unbound hair, her innocent-looking face turns up to his as she notices the faint vibrations in the earth. "Hey, Sokka. Up for a swim?"
Goodbye old times
Both know that the moment they step inside Zuko's walls that everything that they know to be true is gone. "Farewell problems of the world, send yourselves to Aang. We've got bigger fish to fry: us," she whispers as they enter the palace.
It's a small one, after all
Imagine the surprise when Zuko brings up the plans for their 'peaceful get-away': "Well, erm, uh…since I thought it was only Toph, I kinda, uh, planned a big party and invited all the 'important' people so you could meet them. And so I could officially appoint you Princess of the Fire Nation. My sister. If you want it, you know." Toph just hugs him fiercely, mouthing to Sokka that it wouldn't take all their time anyways, so why not enjoy it?
Dresses and Suits and Bowties, Oh My!
Who could have guessed that Toph could be so wrong? There are so many dignitaries surrounding her and Zuko that it seems a rarity to even be in the same room as Sokka. "How long are they here?" she mumbles out the corner of her faked smile as still more people rush forward to shake her hand. To her dismay, Zuko avoids her gaze – it's enough to tell her she's not getting out of this easily. Or soon.
Laying a hand on her new brother's arm, Toph announces to everyone, "I feel a terrible headache coming on. So sorry, but I really must retire to my rooms." Vaguely, she notices the footsteps of a certain blue-clad warrior slip away from the crowd, headed towards her destination.
Fooled them, huh?!
As she rounds the last corner to her room, Sokka takes Toph in his arms and swings her around, both laughing. "That was great," he whispers into her hair, "You are brilliant, truly brilliant."
How could it be anything different?
Toph stiffens, not used to compliments from the boy she loves. "It wasn't anything really. Just a quick white lie to get out of royal stuff. Nothing big at all, Sokka." She thinks he couldn't have meant to give her a compliment. It's not his style. But the blush rises in her cheeks just as well.
Can we be nothing? I heard it lasts forever.
He holds her out at arms' length, searching her face. "Toph, I have news. I sent my hawk the day we got here, with a letter to Suki." There's a dark cloud that passes over the Earthbender's face, one that he clearly wasn't supposed to have noticed. "I broke off the engagement."
For a second, Toph can't remember how to breathe.
Soft words of love
"Why?" she whispers into the darkness that always surrounds her. To her dismay, her voice sounds more like the little love-sick girl she is than she ever thought it could. It doesn't go unnoticed by Sokka, either.
Acting as though everything is obvious, Sokka sputters, "Well, I can't marry two girls, can I?" Seeing the look on her face, he isn't sure whether Toph is pleased or if he's about to be 'bended into next week.
"What are you going on about, Sokka?" Toph asks, still not sure if she's dreaming or not. "Who else are you planning on marrying besides Suki?"
Look into your eyes.
He searches her blind eyes with his blues ones. "You, if you'll have me," he whispers softly enough that Toph thinks she imagined the words.
Please be true.
His heart rises somewhere near his throat as he waits for her answer. Toph smirks before answering, "Of course, Sokka. Of course. But you have to ask Zuko, since my dad's not here. Chivalry and all."
Toph is cut off by soft lips against her own. It's only as they pull away that she realizes they were Sokka's.
Where have you gone?
The next few days pass in a dizzying blur of moments that make Toph feel like the earth isn't under her feet, but somewhere high up in the clouds, just like her. Preparations are being made, frantic sisters flown in with Aang in tow, Fire Lords graciously offering his home for his sister's wedding, and excitement in the air.
Mine is always with you.
"You have always been the thing guiding me from place to place. Even if I had no idea, even if every instinct was telling me to do the opposite, I always made sure you were safe before moving on. It took me long enough, but I figured out that other instinct as love. I'll never ignore it again. Forever and for always, Toph, I love you. In sickness and in health, til never do we part. I do." Toph can tell by the acrobatics his heartbeat is doing that he didn't write his own vows; rather he made them up on the spot. She thinks she may love him a little more in this moment, but she loves him so much it might be impossible.
"I've never been able to see anything," she begins, "but I feel like I have seen your face. I had memorized every plane of it, every feature, shortly after we met and I've never forgotten a single feature. You taught a blind girl to see, and what she saw was love. Thank you so much for that. We shall never truly part, even in death, so, I do, forevermore." Funnily enough, she made up her vows on the spot as well. And man, were they cheesy.
The strongest lock is merely a ring
Rings slipped onto fingers, lips meet, rice is thrown and the newlyweds are off to get away from all the suffocating people.
In and out, in and out
For the first time in a long while, Toph can breathe freely. Sokka is her's. It's a wonderful feeling. Looking towards him, she knows an identical grin is stretched across his face as well.
AN: I used the base format and words from "Still Breathing" (Not exactly sure who wrote this one, so if you know please tell me so I can give due credit), but I didn't stick to the "one-sentence-per-word" thing. Couldn't do it justice if I had.
Just to clear it up, Toph starts the story on Kyoshi with Suki and everyone else. When she starts the Seven Days' Journey to the Fire Nation, Sokka follows behind her to make sure she'll be okay. He never really intended to have her know he was there, just kinda follow behind and keep away any would-be attackers, but circumstances changed and she needed him. Then he realizes that he doesn't just care about her the way he cares about Katara. He loves her more than he loved Yue. More than Suki. So much that he knows he could never go back to Suki knowing how Toph makes him feel.
This whole story probably took….hm, about eight days for the journey (Toph was out for one of them), two weeks of Fire Nation people, another three weeks to get the wedding prepared…about a one month and a half? It seemed kinda rushed when you read it, so just wanted to say it was a longer time period than it seemed.