Through the Darkness

Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly enough.

Warnings: Speculation, Spoilers up to Season Three

She imagines that laughter is golden. It's a silly thing, she knows. Toph can't see color and never will. But she can still wonder what it's like. Match names to shades even when she has no way to know if it's ever true or not.

They tell her that the sky is usually blue – though sometimes grey and black at night. That grass is green unless it's sick or dead. That water can sometimes be clear or murky. And it can be white when it's ice or hazy as vapor. Fire is red and orange but occasionally yellow. Earth is grey and brown. Air doesn't have a color and can't really be seen.

Aang's tattoos are blue. Zuko has black hair. Katara and Sokka have dark skin. And her own eyes are a pale shade of green.

Toph can sense an ant crawling up a hill and feel Momo's heart beating from over ten yards away. She knows whenever Sokka sneaks off to practice with his sword for hours at a time. She can tell that Zuko always worries and doesn't get nearly enough sleep. That Katara fidgets when she thinks no one is watching and fingers her mom's necklace. That Aang's afraid and fights not to cry out at night.

But she doesn't even know the color of her hair or what she looks like in a mirror. What the curves of her face come together to form. If she resembles Zuko more. Or Katara. Or even Suki.

She doesn't know what light is like through leaves. The shape of a cloud or the brilliance of a rainbow. The lines of the mural on the Western Air Temple's ceiling. Toph only knows what they tell her. Only the words they say softly and gently that are still more than her parents ever managed. Things that she can't grasp or touch because it's not possible or not allowed.

The stars are beautiful. Katara resembles her mom. Aang has a goofy grin, while Sokka looks more like an adult every day. Suki is strange without her face paint. And Zuko has scars in places he shouldn't.

All Toph can do is listen. Never able to see for herself. Just listen to them and all that they don't say. Make a couple of sassy comments. Offer a punch to the shoulder. And hope the distraction lasts more than a few minutes. Hope that their faces are as relieved as their breathing. That they actually look at ease and feel the lightening of their hearts as surely as she does.

Toph will never know if they actually do. She can't see anywhere but her imagination.

But laughter is golden. Hope is silver. And family – love – is all the colors under the sun.

Ever Hopeful,