Dancing in the Rain
Summary: For once, Toph is glad she's blind; it makes everything feel so much better. Set towards the beginning of Book 3, after the Fire Children's Dance Party. Taang, Zutara and Suuka might be implied. OneShot, rated Kplus for mild language.
Aang sighed and looked out from the cave in which he hid. It had been a long day at Fire School. Angie was making things difficult; he just didn't feel about her the way he'd felt about Katara. Katara… something hurt deep inside Aang's chest when he remembered what she'd said about Zuko, that damn Fire Prince. She'd said she loved him.
"She hardly knows him!" Aang whispered fiercely, slamming his fist into the rock wall.
"Hardly knows who, Twinkletoes?" Oh no, Aang thought, anyone but her. He knew Toph wouldn't put up with his angstiness. The Earthbender was too down-to-earth for all these emotions—no pun intended.
"Nobody, Toph. I was just talking to myself."
"That's obvious. So I was wondering something." That perked his attention. He looked at her. Adorned in a new red dress that fit her frame like a glove, Toph was very pretty.
"Helloooooo…" To his horror, he realized he'd been staring. Good thing she couldn't see him.
"I asked why you never danced with me at the secret dance party."
"Oh." (Isn't it obvious?) "I just assumed… well, you're blind."
"I am? Seriously? OHMYGOSH I'm blind! Why didn't anyone tell me?" She faked surprise. "But honestly, Twinkles, I can dance as well as any girl with 20/20 vision, and at least twice as well as Sugar Queen." He could tell she wasn't just bragging. This was the same tone of voice she'd used to describe her Earthbending skills on that day they first met. Aang couldn't help but smile.
"How can you tell?"
"I was schooled by the best. Maybe I can't see myself dance, but others can, and I've gotten some pretty sick reviews." Her smile sent a flush to Aang's face.
"Prove it," he challenged her, extending a hand. "Let's dance."
"Okay," she accepted. "As if I don't know that what you and Katara did was an ancient Water Tribe ritual. Well, no established pattern this time. No rules—just do what you feel." And that's exactly what Aang did.
They spun, flipped, whirled, and dipped, and for a good twenty minutes, Aang forgot the world. Even Katara was wiped from his memory, replaced instead by the black locks that had fallen loose from their usual place atop her head, the strange translucent eyes that glimmered in the candlelight, the white skin that so starkly contrasted his own that when they touched, it resembled the Moon colliding with the Sun… Was he seriously falling in love with Toph?
There was no music, but Aang begun to hear a melody. The closer he got to the blind girl, the louder the phantom music grew. It was intoxicating, like he'd drank an entire pod of cactus juice. Liberating, like he was flying above the ocean on a clear-sky day. Sanctifying, like the whole world had been waiting for the two of them to come together, and now it was Toph and Aang against the evils of this world. Satisfying, like he was no longer alone. Who was Katara?
At some point—Aang had realized as it was happening—they had danced their way out of the cave and were dancing in the pale moonlight, as the light rain kissed their skin. Aang wondered if Toph could tell he was rapt with the sight of her… the blind Earthbender had an uncanny way of knowing things about the Avatar that even Aang didn't know. Maybe that was more proof they belonged together… he shook his head. There was no way she'd ever feel the same.
"You're thinking too much, Aang," Toph complained. "Let go of worries and just dance!" The phantom music drowned out his confusion, and the young Airbender did as he was told.
It was late, late at night when they collapsed onto the earthy floor, drenched and exhausted and glowing with exhilaration. Whether by mistake or design, Toph laid her head on Aang's chest.
"Hey, Toph?" The Avatar asked.
"Remember when you said 'just do what you feel'?" He quoted nervously.
"Yeah," she said casually, "And you weren't so bad once you—"
She couldn't say more, because the Airbender had taken her advice. He had pressed his lips on her own and kissed her as though tomorrow would never steal her away.
And without thinking, without reasoning the pros and cons to make a logical decision, Toph kissed Aang back.
All in all, Aang thought after Toph had run away, as she always did when something startled or threatened her, it had been a good night.
He now loved dancing in the rain.