Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or Avatar: The Last Airbender, or any related characters.

This is just my supposed meeting between my two favorite earth elements. I wanted to write something not quite canon (obviously, it's a crossover), but could still happen. Please note this is pre-series in Avatar land. Enjoy.


Lexaeus exited the portal and found himself in a peaceful forest-covered countryside near a mountain range. It was nighttime on this world, and it seemed it could actually be a nice place to relax if this quiet wilderness was common here. Still, he was on a mission, and for now, he had to focus on just that.

A Dusk appeared in front of him, hopping around excitedly. "It is here. This is where we found it. It is coming this way."

"Very good. Slow him down."

The Dusk twisted its body awkwardly, then took off in flight. Lexaeus followed at a leisurely pace. His actual mission was just to get to the bottom of all the fuss some of the Dusks were making about a strong heart in a being with a signature similar to Number V. Translation, there was someone with a strong heart who wielded the earth element. The Dusks naturally wanted to aid in the expansion of the Organization to thirteen members, while the number was currently ten. Lexaeus, therefore, was the one sent to appraise the supposed earth master. Whoever he was, he must have been pretty good to separate himself from the other fighters in the Dusks' minds.

Lexaeus held a respect for the natural order of things that most of his comrades lacked. As a result, he made a practice of blending in rather than walking up and attacking people at will. Zexion, though questioning the fun in not mind-raping anyone he could, conveniently kept notes on all the known worlds and gave Lexaeus some tips for blending in "if he insisted on boring himself so," which he reviewed in his mind as he approached the other earth wielder.

For your practical purposes, you are an earthbender, and do not call the manipulation of your element by any other name.

Earthbenders can manipulate anything made directly from stone or earth, but not other materials such as wood or refined metal.

That being said, using your tomahawk would probably be counterproductive to blending in.

You may also want to consider wearing something less... dark. Have a safe trip.

That last piece of advice came a little too late, as Lexaeus had already sent the Dusk and could see a large estate off in the distance. He was getting an idea of the earth warrior now: obviously from high society, most likely very disciplined from years of training and honing his skills. He would probably think little of Lexaeus's ability in battle and decide to take it easy on him in the beginning before realizing that he was up against a formidable enemy.

He saw the Dusk floating around its target, not putting too much effort into actually attacking. Lexaeus halted quickly. This wasn't right. He launched a medium-sized rock at it and the Dusk fled, knowing better than to take more than one attack from a higher-ranking Nobody. Lexaeus sighed. It wasn't unheard of for the blind lesser Nobodies to mistake family members, but this was a bit ridiculous.

Toph launched herself over the wall around her home with a pillar of earth that shot from the ground. After landing, she ran as quickly as she could from the estate, though she wasn't quite sure why. All she knew was that the further she got from home, the further away she felt she was getting from being a trapped animal, like a flying boar kept in a cage all its life because no one figured it would be okay if it were ever let out. Sometimes in the past, she almost believed that she was helpless and would always depend on someone else. The badgermoles taught her different.

She stopped running, but continued walking away from her home. Toph knew that ultimately, she would always have to return home in the morning. Still, this secret rebellion was her way of reassuring herself that she was not helpless, that she could go out by herself and be okay. Besides, she never ran into anyone out here. Though, about a week ago, she ran into what must have been some strange flying animal and it really freaked her out.

Toph stopped walking completely when she realized that the weird animal was back. Its feet were tiny and seemed to barely touch the ground, but she knew she could feel it there. She tried a few times to fight back with earthbending, but to know avail, once the thing was off the ground she had no way of locating it. It headbutted her in the shoulder and she turned, ready to attack it when she felt a rock being flung at it. It flew away as she realized there was another person there.

"Are you alright?" he asked her.

"Uh, yeah." She never thought she'd have to deal with this situation, so of course, she was unprepared as to what to do. At least in her commoner's clothes, no one would know she was from the richest family in the earth kingdom.

"You're very far from home, aren't you?" Lexaeus noticed the girl wouldn't look directly at him, then realized her cloudy eyes. She was blind as Xigbar with his left eye shut. The Dusk had made a huge error in locating the correct target.

"No, no. I'm not." Her first time meeting someone from the "outside world" other than her useless tutor, and he was an earthbender - and she had no idea what to say. Still, she amazed herself with how much she could tell about him. He was pretty big with heavy footsteps and probably tall, and he was wearing shoes despite being an earthbender. Normally, she knew guards and servants from one another by the voices she had heard all her life, but this new-found ability was pretty neat. She rubbed her shoulder absently where the animal had butted her, still unsure what to say.

"Let me look at it." He was unable to keep from shaking his head. The girl was probably only ten, eleven years old at the most. How could the Dusks have made a mistake like this? He lifted her sleeve to inspect her shoulder. "It's not bruising or anything. I'm sure it will be fine." With her upper arm uncovered, he noticed that it was surprisingly toned for a little girl, especially a blind little girl. Maybe this warranted some looking into after all.

"Thanks."

"Would you like an escort back into town?"

"Um, sure." Maybe Toph could just let this guy tag along until they got to Gaoling, then she could lose him and get back home before morning.

"Then let us go." He began walking away and noticed the girl followed him without needing to be guided in the proper direction first. Still, that was only coincidental. She very well might have been following the sound of his steps.

The pair walked for several minutes and Toph was surprised that the man said nothing the whole time. He didn't even ask why she was out here or even her name. He just stayed silent. But then again, he wasn't taking her to the town, she could tell that much. The path to town didn't get all rocky; she knew that much from her temporary escapes. And there wasn't a tall rock face along the way to town.

Lexaeus climbed up the rock wall then turned to see the little girl hanging off the edge by her arms. "Let me help you up," he offered.

She raised a hand, her palm facing him. "I don't need any help," she retorted. Normally, she would just use earthbending to get up anyway, but she wasn't sure if she should have just anybody know she was an earthbender. Besides, she didn't drag herself through badgermole tunnels for nothing. With a grunt, she pulled herself up the rock face before straightening up and dusting herself off. She gave a smug grin, but the man made no comment and kept walking. She huffed at his silence and continued following him.

"You don't talk much do you?"

"I speak when I must."

"But aren't you wondering why I'm all the way out here?"

"If you want me to know, you'll tell me."

"And you're not taking me to town, are you?"

"I am not. But you wouldn't know that unless you had some special connection with the earth, now would you?"

"Oh." Toph's eyebrows raised with the realization that he already knew she was an earthbender. "How'd you know?"

"Well for one, little girls usually don't have very much upper body strength." He stopped walking. "Do you know where we are?"

"Not exactly, but there must have been a rock slide here or something."

"Very good. Now..." He hurled a rock at her, catching her off guard and throwing her back.

"Hey!" she yelped. "What was that for?"

"As you know, earth is a sturdy thing. In the event that the earth cannot stand up to an attack, it can at least take the hit and continue about its business. When the earth does strike back, it is no small matter. Humans try to shape the earth to build cities, to dig mines, to create pathways. Yet, an earthquake can destroy a city, mines can collapse, and roads are blocked or ruined by landslides. The power over earth is both the ability to give and to take heavy attacks. Now, if you're truly an earthbender, get up and give me your best blow."

Toph pushed herself up and stood with her feet apart and knees bent for steadiness. She called one of the small boulders nearby to her, then punched it so that it flew to the man.

Lexaeus crossed his arms in front of his body and took a similar stance to how the girl stood. The boulder crashed into him and broke to pieces on contact, causing him to use a notable amount of energy to remain standing. "Very good. This time, something a little harder." He summoned the largest fragments of the boulder to levitate around her, flying quickly.

Toph rushed to call forth rocks and crash them with the ones floating around her. She couldn't feel them while they were not touching the ground, She couldn't stop a smile from forming; she never really needed to use earthbending like this before. Now, it took aggression just to call up the heavy rocks, and it took even more force to knock them together powerfully enough to smash them. They were moving fast around her, but she managed to destroy all of them. Save for one, which she realized was coming at her fast. She held the palm of her hand up to it, and it smashed violently against the extremity. It hurt her wrist, but as the man instructed, she took the hit and shook it off.

"That all you got? I'm not even breaking a sweat!"

A fraction of a smile tugged the corners of Lexaeus' lips. The girl continued to jeer at him, even while rubbing her hurting wrist. That last attack seemed to awaken the confidence in her that lay under the surface. If it was any indication of her actual skill, she was hiding plenty of it, or at least potential, under her fa├žade of helplessness.

"Come on! Scared a little girl's gonna send you home crying? Come and get me, you big giant baby!"

He probably should be careful if she could afford to taunt him like that. He sent a trail of sharp stalagmites erupting from the earth toward her. She grinned and kicked the ground, sending a fissure toward the pointed formations and stopping them. With an upward swing of her hand, the stalagmites were torn from the ground and redirected to launch at Lexaeus. He regained control over them again and made them crumble harmlessly to pebbles in mid-flight. She stomped, sending Lexaeus flying up into the air with the forceful thrust of a pillar of earth. The little girl managed to judge where he was quite effectively as she hurled boulders at him. He punched the projectiles as he fell and prepared for contact with the ground. A yell of effort sounded, the Nobody bringing his fists downward. The girl buried herself in a foot-thick layer of rock attached firmly to the ground at once. He made contact with the ground and it quaked and split violently, but the girl's rock armor took the brunt of the attack while saving her from being thrown off balance. She broke free of it at the same time Lexaeus realized his arms were incased in rock up to his elbows. He tore his arms free just too late to protect himself from an approaching boulder and was thrown backward.

"Want some more?" The child taunted, folding her arms.

Lexaeus sat up with a smile. "I was mistaken. You are a very skilled wielder of the earth element. That is something I can admit."

"You bet I am! And don't you forget it, either!"

"I may see you again at another time." He stood and walked away, leaving the world through a corridor of darkness. Disappointing. He actually had found the being that the Dusks pointed out, and she was a very skilled fighter, either in spite of or due to her blindness. Yet, he could not possibly try to drag her into the Organization because she was so young. It was not yet fully understood, but before a certain point in emotional development, even beings with seemingly strong hearts yielded unstable Nobodies that eventually settled into low-ranks, usually Creepers - Dusks at best. To let the darkness take her heart now would be to waste all her power by letting it be destroyed in the transition into twilight.

Maybe she would be ready in a few years, but that was troubling to consider as well. Would the Nobodies still be without their hearts in the next few years? If so, how long would it be until they had their hearts? Three more years? Five? Ten? An eternity? Would they all fade before Kingdom Hearts was even complete?

Toph was momentarily puzzled. The man walked away and just... vanished. His footsteps were completely gone. Instead of letting this faze her, she pointed to where she last felt him walking and laughed.

"Haha! You better run, you big wuss! Think you can run me over cause I'm a blind girl? Well think again! I just went easy on you this time!"

It was her first real fight with a real human earthbender. And it felt so good. It was like once she got started, she was finally able to be herself completely for the first time since she left the underground badgermole colony for good. It was wonderful. The taunting, the violence, and best of all, the earth. The hard, sturdy, unapologetic earth. If only she could do this all the time, it would be great.

That wasn't a bad idea, actually.

-x-

Toph couldn't help grinning in the enormous mountain tunnel. She could feel all of it. In the chamber she was in, the cocky muscle-bound men hoping to showcase their strength stomped and got in each other's faces as they talked trash until Xin Fu told them to save it for after being signed up. In a nearby chamber, a couple of badgermoles that were trained for cleaning slept, their claws occasionally scraping the floor as they twitched in their sleep. And deep at the end of the main tunnel, a gigantic arena lay under a crystal ore ceiling, surrounded by rows of earthen seats waiting to be filled with wild stomping, roaring crowds of spectators.

"If you think you'll make it past two rounds, you must be crazier than a squirrelfox!"

"You're the one who should hope The Boulder takes it easy on you - if you even survive the first round!"

"Will you two pipe down? Neither one of you is going to win anyway, so stop arguing about it"

The room became quiet at her comment. Most of the fighters had failed to even notice the small girl in the room until she spoke.

"The Boulder does not understand how a small child sneaked in here for autographs so easily."

"Aren't you a bit lost, little girl?" Xin Fu asked. "Tickets don't go on sale until next week."

"I wouldn't be able to watch anyway. I'm here to sign up for Earth Rumble 2," Toph explained.

Laughter broke out all over the room, while Xin Fu just stared down at her sightless eyes and she smiled. "It takes more than a few classes at the Earthbending Academy to make it in this arena."

"Just sign me up for the fight."

"Very well. Preliminary fights will weed out the weak anyway. Your fighting name?"

"The Blind Bandit."