77. Mirage

Sokka blinked and coughed, the fog the cactus juice had created in his head finally seeming to clear. He slid oceanic eyes sideways to look at the masked lemur next to him. "You holding up, Momo?" Surprisingly, Momo completely ignored him and kept his round, green eyes fixated on the moon. "I know," Sokka conceded with a sigh. "Really beautiful, huh?"

"Sokka…"

The Water Tribe warrior narrowed his eyes. The moon had been in his direct line of vision. Now…it was blocked by a girl. She had pale, pale skin and wide, questioning eyes. "Yue?" He mouthed, his throat closing so that nothing would come out.

"Sokka?" The voice came again, unusually worried.

What is this? It can't be real. Yue's… He figured his head wasn't as clear as he thought it was.

"I don't care," he finally muttered, more to himself than the vision he was sure he was imagining. He reached out a gloved hand to cup one side of the girl's face and brought her lips to his own. Wait a minute…this isn't…

It was both Momo's frantic chattering and the faceful of sand that brought him back to reality.

"What was that?!"

Sokka spluttered and clawed the tiny grains of torture out of his eyes. They revealed a slightly blurred, but otherwise perfectly evident, image of a red face, enrage and embarrassed. And not white hair, but black. "T—Toph?"

"Who else would it be, moron?" She snarled. "Why did you—?"

"I thought you were…someone else…"

"Really?" She asked, small voice dripping with sarcasm.

A cloud was blocking half the moon, so she was difficult to see now, but Sokka imagined her glaring at him with her liquid eyes and little hands on her hips.

Sokka fumbled for an explanation. "I—I thought you were a mirage."

The anger seemed to be sucked right out of the tiny earthbender. "A mirage?" He squinted and he could see her cross her arms and lift a dark eyebrow. "Not a hallucination?"

Sokka smiled sheepishly. "I think the cactus juice wore off a while ago."

A cold gust of wind and sand slapped against him as he waited patiently for his punishment. "A mirage," she repeated, looking contemplative.

He squinted again. Had he hurt her feelings? He felt guilty instantly. "Look, Toph. I'm really sorry. I didn't—"

"Hey, Sokka," she turned her head towards him. "Isn't a mirage…a vision of something you want?"

Sokka felt his jaw go slack in confusion. "Huh?"

She tilted her head to the side and lowered her voice as Katara and Aang turned over in their sleep. "You know…when someone is travelling in the desert for days without water and then sees a mirage of a waterfall or something."

"So a mirage is…something you want…and need?" Sokka asked her, glancing at the moon and then at her light green eyes.

Toph suddenly smirked and Sokka felt like coughing again. "Maybe," and she shrugged and walked away with the air of knowing something that he did not.

Sokka stared at her retreating form before looking at Momo, who'd been silent throughout the exchange. "Did you get any of that?"