A/N PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE THE STORY – FINAL CHAPTER!
Well guys, here we are. The final chapter (and more than twice as long as the ones before!) I'm touched by all the love I got from this story, this was my first fan fic and I really can't imagine a much better experience. NEXT STORY is still up for debate in terms of the pairing, except that it must involve Aang (I love him, what can I say!). So let me know in the comments who you'd like to see, as well as what you think of the story as a whole. Thank you guys, enjoy the final chapter!
Chapter 13: Unexpected Complications
The flight to the wall of Ba Sing Se was…tense, to say the least. The main reason being the pit of anxiety in both Aang and Katara's gut, wondering what sort of metal fire nation monstrosity was awaiting them, and the other reason being that Katara was clinging tightly to the Avatar's lithe body as they flew, the same Avatar who currently despised her in a way he had never experienced in his life.
It wasn't pleasant.
Katara stared into Aang's eyes. She knew he must have felt her gaze upon him, but he was doing an awfully good job of pretending not to.
"But if we don't talk about this now.."
"I said, 'Nope'"
"Come on Aang, you know I didn't do it to hurt yo.."
"Katara, please be quiet! You know my responsibilities come to the world first, and right now that's where my focus needs to stay."
Katara was taken aback, the maturity that had been slowly fostering on the young Air Bender's face over the past weeks was starting to become more and more apparent. She was impressed, and embarrassed.
"You're right, I'm sorry. We'll talk about it later, Aang."
Hearing Aang address her by her name gave Katara a bit of hope. At least this meant she wasn't completely dead to him.
"Oh wow, people attacking us. What a refreshing change of pace."
Toph smacked away an incoming bolder as her cohort fought off the remaining guards with his boomerang.
"Toph! Grr…Ah! Can you please take this seriously..Woah! For like, Err..two seconds?"
"Excuse me? Look at this face…"
Toph stared at Sokka with an exaggerated stony face, "See…serious."
"Fine, fine! Enough messing around."
Toph braced her small frame into a rigid horse stance and shot her fists out in front of her chest, before separating them to either side of her body. The ground before her trembled, cracked, and gave way, revealing a clear pathway for her and Sokka.
"Sheesh, about time!"
Sokka and Toph ran up the newly formed path towards the entrance of the castle, hoping they would make it to the Earth King before the drill.
Aang landed smoothly atop the wall and sheathed his glider. Katara gently unwrapped herself from his body and looked at the scene below. The drill was gigantic - larger than every home in her village combined, plus the watchtower, plus the healer's tent. It was by far the most intimidating thing she had ever seen.
She knew there was a good chance Azula was inside. And although she would never admit it, just the thought of facing the fire nation princess again sent an icy chill of intense fear down her spine.
Katara began to quiver slightly as she stared down at the metal creature slowly but surely eating into the "impenetrable" wall. Her pupils dilated at the thought of what was to come. But the only thing she could think of was the possibility of never getting a chance to apologize for the mess she had caused. What if everything ended like this…with Toph being mad at her, Aang being mad at her, and Sokka being…well, probably mad once he found out the truth from Aang.
She was quickly snapped out of her thoughts by a hand on her shoulder. She jumped slightly and turned, her quivering stopped. Aang stared Katara straight in the eyes. He looked strangely taller, older, and somehow, at ease.
"You need to stay calm, nerves mean mistakes. We need to avoid those right now."
Katara stared into the Avatar's grey eyes for a few seconds before nodding in agreement. It certainly wasn't forgiveness, but she'd take it. At least for now.
Sokka and Toph made their way through the streets of Ba Sing Se on a wave of earth, the non-bender awkwardly clinging to the young girl's back. Behind them followed an equally intimidating wave of earth kingdom warriors, deployed by the king himself.
After about ten minutes of blabbering from Sokka, Toph had presented the Earth King with her prestigious family name and iconic flying boar seal. The Be Fong's had once been military prodigies, and responsible for keeping the peace in the earth kingdom streets. They had since retired to a life of intense luxury, but their name was practically royalty and all the Earth King needed to hear.
Sirens resounded through the streets of the City, announces to its residents that the warriors would soon be coming through on waves of earth. People flocked to get out of the way as Toph's first wave made an appearance.
"Toph, do you think we'll make it in time?"
"You tell me Snoozles, I don't even know what we're up against yet…"
"It's uh…really something."
"Do you think the others are okay?"
"I'm sure Aang is fine, I'm just worried about my sister."
Toph felt her heart leap a little. Aang would indeed be fine. Katara on the other hand…
She quickly shook her head to erase the thought.
"I told you before Sokka, your sister is tough. She can handle herself. Better than you, that's for sure!"
Katara looked up as she heard Sokka's yell. He and Toph popped up on a large block of earth that she had slid up the "safe" side of the wall. Katara's breathe hitched, Toph looked absolutely beautiful. Her hair was slightly ruffled from the ride over and the tiniest hint of flush shown on her cheeks from her recent physical activity.
She wondered if Toph was still mad for admitting her feelings on the walk over. She figured she had to be, but if so she certainly wasn't showing it. In fact…she didn't seem to be acknowledging the Water Bender's existence at all. Katara supposed, and hoped, that it was because of the dire situation at hand and nothing more.
Toph walked towards the other edge of the wall and felt the drill far beneath her feet. As terrifying as the actual sight was to Katara, the feeling of the enormous metal presence was almost too much for the little Earth Bender to handle. She began to tremble in a way very similar to how Katara had moments ago, but this was different. Toph never showed fear.
All the events of the past three days seemed to fade from memory as Katara watched. All that mattered now was that her closest and dearest friend was in petrifying fear, and she needed to be there for her.
Toph balled her fists in an attempt to stop her shivering. She wanted to brace herself against the wall's ledge but doing so would only give an even clearer view of what lay below.
Katara placed a gentle hand on Toph's shoulder, as Aang had for her. But it didn't help, if anything the young girl seemed to shake more. Aang and Sokka talked plans of attack behind her, and she knew soon it would be time. Time to make their move, strike from all angles, and hope to Spirits that Azula and her friends weren't the ones inside.
Toph couldn't fight like this. She would be taken down, immediately. Katara recognized the fear as the same kind that had petrified her and left her open to Ty Lee's attack, back in the forest. If Toph hadn't showed up, she wouldn't have made it out alive.
The events that had started Katara's infatuation with the small girl seemed so very long ago at this point, like a distant dream. They seemed that way, she guessed, because her love for the girl had started long before that. She simply had not realizing it.
"Toph, I know it's terrifying. I'm scared too."
"But can you feel it, Katara? I can. It's going to crush us, we won't even put a scratch on it!" The beautiful color that had been in Toph's face had faded to a sickly pale.
"Don't say that, Toph…we've made it through messes like this before, and we can do it again. If we all work together…"
"Psh! What planet do you live on Sugars…you know this is nothing like anything we've seen before. I don't think the WORLD has seen anything like this before!"
"Well…I definitely know it's nothing like you've seen before."
Toph abruptly stopped her shivering, "Wait…did you just make a blind joke?"
There was a pause, Katara quickly pulled her hand back from Toph's shoulder, perhaps the blind jokes were only funny when the actual blind one made them.
An agonizingly long moment went by before Toph finally cracked a smirk, then began to chuckle. Katara let out the breath she didn't realize she had been holding.
"Wow Sugars, I didn't know you had it in you!"
Katara stared at Toph and found tears pricking the corners of her eyes. Before she had time to process the thought, she grabbed Toph and pulled her in close, enveloping her as much as possible and holding her close. She wouldn't let go for anything.
Toph's eyes widened in surprise. But the shock quickly turned into understanding. None of it mattered anymore - the fighting, the petty arguments, the catty games, the possible lying. Because when it came right down to it, and now was surely as "right down to it" as could get, it didn't matter.
Katara spoke into the top of Toph's head, silky black hair muffling her words, "I'm so sorry Toph, for everything. I just want you to know, if I could take it all back, I'd do it in a heartbeat."
Katara's muffled words were still in close enough range for Toph to understand. And she definitely understood…
"I wouldn't. I wouldn't change a thing."
The Water Bender removed her head and looked down at her companion, searching for signs of an ulterior motive. There were none.
"And besides, I should be the one who's sorry. I was really mean to you and…you didn't deserve it. So…I guess that means I'm sorry too."
Toph looked away as she said this, a pointless and yet all to human gesture. Feeling Katara's gaze resting on her, she took a tanned hand and squeezed it tightly, "I changed my mind, I'm not scared anymore."
Katara couldn't help but smile. It was clearly a lie, but she'd play along, "Oh you're not? What made you change your mind? Too much work being scared?"
"Yeahhh you know, I mean what's the point? If two kick-butt bending masters and the Avatar can't destroy that thing, I doubt it's even of this world!"
Unbeknownst to the girls, Aang and Sokka had finished their plans and were patiently waiting for a moment to interrupt this touching moment. Sokka took the opportunity, "Excuse me! I'm here too you know!"
"Yeah…but I'm pretty sure a boomerang isn't gonna' take that thing down!"
Sokka looked genuinely perturbed but Aang interrupted, "We need Sokka's mind to beat this machine. And he's come up with a plan. A good one."
Standing in the direct path of the Drill was almost too overwhelming to comprehend. The fire nation had clearly outdone itself this time. The whir of the gigantic metal bit cutting into the largest wall in the world was more than enough to shake someone to their very core. And Katara was definitely not an exception.
It took every ounce of strength she had to will her body into motion. Every nerve tingled and made her feel somewhere between complete alertness and on the verge of mental breakdown.
The four stood their ground before the machine. It felt like a bad joke.
Sokka finally spoke, "So we all know what to do. Toph, can you handle it?"
"Don't you worry about me, I'll slow this thing down the best I can. Just worry about yourselves!"
Aang nodded and knocked a funnel off the bottom of the drill, creating their entrance. He floated in, followed less gracefully by Sokka. Katara lingered, wanting to say something to Toph, but not sure what.
Toph realized the other female of the gang hadn't followed, "Go! They'll die without you!"
The small girl flashed a toothy grin and began to brace herself to grip the underside of the machine, in hopes of slowing its destruction and buying her friends time.
"Katara there's no time, you gotta' go, now!"
"But I have to tell you something! You didn't believe me earlier, but.."
"Katara! Later, please!"
Toph pushed forward against the metal and remarkably the drill slowed. Clearly it wasn't an easy feat, as beads of sweat immediately began to form on her forehead.
Katara quickly bent them away, knowing that more would soon replace them. But there was no point arguing with someone stubborn enough to even slightly slow down a metal contraption of this magnitude.
"Alright, later then. Promise?"
"I..err..pinky swear…ah, now go!"
Katara pulled herself up into the belly of the beast and looked around for her brother and momentarily (she hoped) ex-friend.
"Katara up here!"
Looking up, she saw Sokka and Aang standing aside a metal pillar they had picked out like it was the perfect holiday tree. Now it was time to chop it down.
She quickly made her way to their side and opened the leather pouch strapped to her hip, bending out a good handful of water. She looked at Aang, he still looked quite pissed.
Dang…he's been taking lessons on being stubborn from a certain Earth Bender…
She didn't bother trying to sway him, Aang had been very clear in not wanting to talk about it until later. Between the Avatar and the Blind Bandit refusing to talk about things, Katara was feeling more and more like a child. What was that an angry Gran Gran used to say when she was little? Children are better seen and not heard? She always hated that one…
Katara snapped out of her thoughts, "Whenever you are, Aang."
Aang put up his hands, ready to catch. Katara shot the water at the Avatar with dizzying speed, hitting the edge of the metal pillar as it passed. Aang returned the water in the same manner. Nothing happened.
The three held their breath as the water was passed back and forth..2..3…4 more times. Then…
Even the sour-faced Avatar couldn't help but smile when the first chip into the metal was made.
"Yes! It's working! Good work guys, keep it up!"
And they did...Toph was no longer the only one pouring sweat.
What felt like hours passed, with nothing but the sound of the water hitting the beams. Aang and Katara were on number eight now. Thankfully, Sokka had realized that if they only cut the beams in half, Aang could hit the top of the drill with a final blow and the rest of the work would be done for them. Aang had been right, they definitely needed Sokka's brain…
The young Water Bender felt exhausted and the Avatar wasn't looking much better. But it seemed like his rage towards Katara was giving him somewhat of an advantage, as she seemed to feel his anger with every catch. She tried to give it back in spades by thinking of her poor Toph, waiting for them to finish their part of the job.
Just when she felt like she might keel over from the strain of intense bending coupled with the heat of the drill, they reached half way through the beam and Sokka yelled for them to stop.
Oh thank Spirits…
"Alright, good work guys. Now we go to phase-two. Lets move out!"
But as Katara prepared to do just that, the fire nation girls she had prayed weren't in the Drill appeared in the entryway to the boiler room.
"Look Mai, the cutie came to see us! Heeeey Cutie!"
Katara felt her stomach drop, she turned and saw the girl who haunted her nightmares - clad in pink and completely oblivious to how terrifying she really was. Azula had been the one who tried to kill her, but this girl was the one who would have made it possible…had Toph not shown up.
Sokka, ever alert, whispered to his team, "Aang, get to the roof..it's the only way."
Aang whispered back, "But what about you guys?"
Katara answered for her brother, "Don't worry about us, we'll be fine. Just go."
Aang hesitated a moment as Katara had with Toph. He turned in the opposite direction to flee to the roof. But before he did, he once again placed a hand gently on Katara's shoulder, holding it a moment. Without turning to look, for doing so would be dangerous, Katara placed her hand over Aang's.
A silent moment passed between them. An understanding that if they both survived, things would be okay…eventually. Then Aang removed his hand and was off.
Suddenly Princess Azula herself appeared behind her two minions. Ty Lee exclaimed, "Azula the Avatar is getting away! That's the one you wanted, right?"
"No Ty Lee, we've been spending all this time chasing the flying bison just to make him into a coat."
"Oh…but fur is mean."
Azula grimaced at her "friend's" stupidity, "Just get those two, I'll take care of the Avatar."
Mai let out an exasperated sigh and begin to pull weapons from her long sleeves, "For just two seconds I wanted to ride in the drill without talking about the Avatar, or tracking the Avatar, or fighting for the Avatar…"
"Well Mai, it seems soon you will no longer have to concern yourself with such matters, because there will be no Avatar."
Katara narrowed her eyes at Azula and her cronies; she wasn't going down without a fight. Fool me once, shame on you…She was ready for that Chi blocker this time. She hoped…
The stand off was broken as Azula leaped in the direction of the Avatar. There was no point in following, as the other two girls were quickly giving the Water Tribe siblings chase.
Katara dragged her brother down a long corridor, where she was heading was anyone's guess but she'd know it when she saw it.
And when she saw it, she almost wished she hadn't. A disgusting slurry of dirt, freshly drilled from the wall of Ba Sing Se, mixed with water and something else that smelled rather foul. Clearly it was flowing somewhere, and wherever it ended up had to be an exit.
Katara pushed her brother in, knowing he would complain if given the option, and followed after. The disgusting mixture quickly carried them away, down the dark and smelly tunnel.
She heard a splash and realized the Chi Blocker had followed them into the sludge. Mai seemed to have opted out, but it was the pink one Katara was really scared of.
Toph felt something change within the Drill. She couldn't "see it" with Earth Bending, but she could feel the pressure shift with her hands. Someone had opened another entrance to the Drill, but where she could not say.
"Alright that's it, I don't know who but somebody needs me!"
Toph raised as much Earth as she could and pushed it into the bottom of the Drill. It would soon break through, but she couldn't be concerned with that anymore. The fight had taken itself outside and she was going to be there to meet it.
As Katara navigated her way through the dank tunnel with her bending, she felt as if she was in a bad dream. Only instead of being chased by a giant shark-ray, as her nightmares normally did, it was the girl who had only day's prior shaken her to the very foundation of her being. She had to get out, had to stop her predator, save her brother and Aang…and Toph.
The notion hit Katara like a ton of bricks. Azula was outside, outside and out for blood. She clearly wanted them all out of the way or she wouldn't have told Mai and the pink girl to give chase. Toph wouldn't be able to hear them or feel them coming…
The thought gripped Katara tight and wouldn't let go. But suddenly her fear of the Chi Blocker didn't seem so important.
Feeling the flow of the water, she knew they would soon be exiting. But not the girl following them…Katara would make sure of that.
Toph felt a rushing of water towards the back of the Drill, and clearly a large amount was being dumped if she was able to hear it with her current injuries
She began to sand skate towards the sound of the water.
Katara and Sokka were unceremoniously expelled from the tunnel into a heap of dirt, water and other questionable material. Sokka quickly slipped and fell onto his back, letting out a groan. Katara stood her ground and waiting for the girl to appear.
Her heart pounded in her ears. If she didn't time it just right, the Chi Blocker would make it out and the fight would continue. She couldn't let that happen. Her nerves stood on edge as her eyes darted through the sludge pouring from the drill, searching for a sign of the person who had once paralyzed her and left her for dead.
Finally, she appeared.
Katara whipped her hands in front of her as fast as she could, bending back the large amount of water and holding the pink girl in place.
Ty Lee looked confused and struggled to get free. As she stared down, she saw the source of her capture. The Water Tribe peasant was fighting back this time. And it seemed she was winning.
Toph arrived on the scene soon after, still unable to hear properly and not able to "see" well in the sand. She stood about twenty yards away.
"Katara, that you!"
"Toph! Get over here, you're a sitting duck-pidgeon out there!"
Like it was her cue, Mai suddenly appeared behind Toph, ready to attack her blind and injured prey.
Katara saw her begin to strike, as if in slow motion.
Katara released her hold on the water blocking the pipe, and holding Ty Lee in place. She rolled across the sand once, and with lightning fast reflexes, sent out a sharp strike of water, just as she had used with Aang to cut the pillars.
The water struck Mai across the hand, slicing her palm and knocking her weapon away. She yelled in pain, alerting Toph to her presence. And it didn't take long for the Earth Bender to take the situation from there…
Katara whipped back around, the water from the back of the drill had nearly hit the ground, therefore freeing Ty Lee. It seemed to be over, but she had to try…
Thrusting her hands out once again, Katara tried to catct the water, vainly attempting to stop it before it reached the sand.
And somehow, it did just that.
Ty Lee looked as shocked as Katara, sure that her freedom had been imminent. The young girl took a slow and tentative step towards the pipe, pushing the water back further. Katara had been called a Master Water Bender, but she wasn't sure she believed it herself. Until now.
It had to be true, because somehow, she was defeating the force of gravity. She was pushing a tital wave of water back into a massive metal pipe.
Toph appeared by her side, panting from her near life threatening experience. She assessed the situation quickly, and blanched. Katara had truly just done something miraculous, and was continuing to do so.
The Earth Bender was finally snapped out of her awe by Katara's labored breathing. She felt the Earth in the slurry that was holding the Chi Bender back and blocking the pipe, and did her part to help ease the load by doing the same as Katara with her own element.
Katara felt he load lighten significantly and turned her head toward Toph.
"Yeah..thanks to you."
Sokka rose from the ground, still dizzy from his fall,
"Good job guys! Toph, when I tell you to, seal the pipe so when Aang gives the final blow the whole thing will go…KABOOM!"
Sokka gesticulated wildly and fell to the ground…again.
The two girls stood side by side, both holding back a massive wave of filth and both exhausted. It was just about too much.
"I have to tell you something, something you probably don't want to hear…."
Katara swallowed hard, almost to tired to be concerned. Almost…
"What is it, Toph?"
"You lost the bet."
Katara stared blankly, letting the words resonate through her head, giving them time to find meaning. They did not.
"Yeah, remember our game? You lost the bet."
You gotta' be kidding me? Our stupid "game"!
Katara racked her brain to remember what the bet had been for…or about, but she couldn't for the life of her. All she remembered was needing to break up the date with her and Sokka by any means neccessary, the rest were just trivial details.
"Remind me, would ya? I'm kinda tired believe it or not."
"The bet was: Whoever gets their boy to kiss them first wins a favor. And earlier this evening, I kissed Sokka. So you owe me sista'!"
Katara flashed red with anger for a moment, knowing all too well what a favor owed to Toph could possibly entail. Nothing pleasant. Plus, it was a lie!
She managed to stand up straight from her slouched position.
"You did notToph, I know you didn't kiss him!"
"Oh really? And how would you know that, Katara?"
Katara's brain went dumb. Toph stared at her with that perpetual, infuriating smirk of hers.
It couldn't be…
"Because uh, Sokka told me he didn't?"
Katara was at a complete loss for words, so instead she lowered her head in shame. It was all over. And of all the moments for Toph to bring it up, the poor girl couldn't even lower her arms.
"So anyways, about that favor."
"You're right Toph, I lied."
"I know…so about the favor…"
Katara's brain was snapped back into action by Toph's nonchalant and Earth shattering words, "You knew?"
"Hm...well, not at first but…"
"You knew MOST OF THE TIME?"
"Well I had a pretty good idea but…thanks for confirming it for me!"
Toph grinned widely at Katara, who quickly slumped forward again. She was humiliated. Caught in a lie, and then left to continue with the lie while Toph knew all along! She deserved it she supposed, the punishment was just.
"So about that favor…"
"Spirits Toph! Okay I get it, I owe you a favor, I owe you lots of favors! I'm a bad person who tricked you and everyone else for my own selfish desires!"
Toph ignored this heated confession, "The favor is…"
Katara was amazed by Toph's lack of anger over the severity of the crime comit upon her.
Why in the world is she so calm?
"Fine Toph, whatever you say. What's the favor?"
"The favor is…don't freak out."
"Don't freak out?"
Sokka looked up from his spot on the ground and saw Aang fly high above the Drill for his final blow.
In the blink of an eye, Toph sealed the pipe with hardened earth as Aang came down on the Drill. Before Katara could realize what was going on, the small girl had raised them both up on an island of dirt, the pipe exploded and a wave of sludge came crashing down around them…
And Toph had pressed her lips firmly against the Water Bender's.
Katara waited for the moment to be stopped by something – Another explosion, a bout of throwing up, Aang, a drunken escapade, Sokka, waking up from this dream…but seconds passed and Toph remained.
And not only did she remain, but she thrived there. Toph wrapped her small arms around Katara's neck, holding her close to her small frame. Her lips had found new bravery and made their way around Katara's mouth, jaw and face…wanting more.
Katara momentarily pulled away from the kiss. She was happy, but also outraged.
"Are you kidding me Toph? After the hell I've gone through? And then just like this?"
"Hey I've been through hell too, Sugars! And after all your little tricks, I had to make you suffer a little!"
Toph moved in to silence her with another kiss but Katara pulled away yet again.
"Toph I know I did some rotten things, but you completely messed with my head! I confessed my love for you, and you just said I was lying…that really hurt!"
Toph removed her arms from Katara's neck and scratched the back of her head nervously, "Yeah um…I'm sorry about that. That part wasn't for torture…I just, had never felt this way before. About another girl I mean. I was confused I guess…"
Katara saw the truth in Toph's eyes. They had both been confused. Confused and scared. But not anymore.
Katara cupped Toph's cheek and gently moved her face to meet hers. She smiled sweetly, "Never feel scared of me again, okay?"
Toph smirked, "That shouldn't be too hard Sugar Queen, you aren't very scary!"
Katara made her young love shut her big fat mouth by replacing it with her own, which Toph had no problem with. The taller girl pressed her close to her body, as she had at the Wall. Too scared to loosen her grasp, in fear that it wouldn't last.
Toph noticed that Katara smelled terrible from swimming in the garbage that now flowed all around them, and that her entire body had been coated in it. The sight of the former clean queen made her chuckle lightly into Katara's kiss.
"What's so funny?"
"You look a little…dirty."
Katara looked down at her appearance and gasped. She indeed looked like crap.
"Oh wow I uh…didn't want to look like this, if this ever really ended up happening. Us I mean…" Now it was Katara's turn to look away nervously.
Toph laughed again and bent a stream of the sludge off the ground, splashing it all over herself.
"There, now we match!"
Katara was a bit surprised. Toph did like dirt, but this sludge was just gruesome.
"You'd cover yourself in that stuff…for me?"
"Well where I come from we like to like to call it a healthy coating of Earth!"
Katara laughed as Toph patted the mess on her tunic for emphasis. A moment of silence passed between them, the weight of what had just happened between them finally sinking in. Katara had to ask, there couldn't be any more doubt in her mind…
"Toph…are you sure this is what you want? What will your parents say?"
"Katara, if I cared what my parents thought would I even be here right now?"
"Let me tell you something about Earth Benders, Katara. Water may encompass everything in its path, but it also goes with the flow and cooperates with things. Air is light and graceful, so it easily yields. Fire may be passionate and strong, but it's easily doused out. But earth is different, once it decides where it wants to be, it doesn't move."
Katara stared on, rarely hearing such insightful speeches from the small girl.
"And I've decided that this is where I want to be. Here, with you. So I hope you're okay with that, because I'm not moving."
Tears welled up in Katara's eyes, she couldn't think of anything she wanted to hear more.
The Water Bender lept forward and engulfed Toph in another tight hug, holding her close and resting her chin on the young girl's shoulder. She turned her head and whispered into her neck.
"Good, because I wouldn't want you anywhere else."
Katara couldn't tell how long her and Toph stayed like that. She cried into her neck with relief and joy and sorrow, and she could have sworn Toph did the same (if only a little). Eventually they were brought back to reality. The Tank had been defeated and everything was back to normal.
Except nothing was back to normal, and never would be again. Toph had made that clear. And Katara certainly wasn't going to argue with the girl she loved. Because finally, there was something that they agreed on. Quite the unexpected complications, but that's how things tended to be between the two.
And Katara wouldn't have it any other way.
A/N – Well there you have it…the end of the story. Oh gosh, who's chopping onions at this hour! I really hope you guys enjoyed it, this was my first attempt writing fan fic of any kind and I'd love your thoughts on the completed story. My next story is still up for debate in terms of the couple (as long as Aang is involved!). I'm thinking of making the couple a little older than canon in the next story. I felt weird doing anything too mature with this one because I couldn't get around Toph's age. Please tell me your thoughts! Because how often do you get to influence what you read? (answer: not that often!). Thank you all again, it's been great!