Title: Toph Bai-Fong's Lifechanging Field Trip with Zuko the Prince of Fire
Summary: What it says on the tin.
Rating: Fluff. Fluff. FLUFF. (Gen)
Toph Bai-Fong's Lifechanging Field Trip with Zuko the Prince of Fire
Toph does not approve of beaches.
The shifting gravel underfoot messes with the echoes she uses for sight, mushing them up and making her nearly blind. It is just like in the desert, except here there are screaming kids, whisky incessant surf noises, flying ninja icecreams, and soggy piles of kelp. She stops and shakes that last off her foot.
Zuko bumps her in the side impatiently. "Here," he says, offering an arm. Swearing to herself, Toph hooks her hand around it and holds her head up to make it look like she walks on the beach with a piece of eye-candy man-meat for decoration every day because she wants to, so there. Zuko's arm is, hmm, quite solid – muscly and long the way she likes it. Maybe he is eye-candy and all the Ember Island beach bunnies are eating their hearts out with jealousy right now. Sweet.
Still. "What are we doing here?" she demands.
"I can't see, dammit."
"Well neither could I."
"You said you wanted a fieldtrip," he says, sounding irritated. "My uncle Iroh took me out here once."
"Oh, him," says Toph. "Sweet guy. What's he up to, now?"
Zuko's arm tightens. He guides her to the side, and suddenly they are dabbling through warm water over dimpled hard sand that shifts under her soles as the water steals it and brings it back. Toph squeaks. Remorseless, the Fire Prince leads her deeper and ever deeper until she is up to her armpits, shaken and buffeted by the waves.
"What are we-"
"Just wait." Gentler, "I won't let go."
She mutters something foul about crazy firebenders and the whole crazy pack of them and they'll all be shot when the revolution comes which is going to be soon, yeah?.
But – in time her tense shoulders ease, and the sun is warm on her scalp and the moving water cool. She dares to lift her feet to float, linked to Zuko's hand and, when she ducks her head she can hear the dolphins calling and far off the songs of whales...
Later, as Toph towls the funny-tasting saltwater and the annoying sand out of her hair she tells him: "You never saw me giddy as a schoolgirl."
"We'll never speak of this again," he agrees, very solemnly.