A/N: Once again I'm participating in Tokka Week. Enjoy. Actual prompts will follow the prologue.
"The distance between here and the edge of the Earth Kingdom. It's three thousand miles."
"What? Can you not count that high?"
"Aang looks pretty good as a statue doesn't he?"
"Don't change the subject."
Sokka shifted uncomfortably in his tight Water Tribe clothes. He had outgrown them. He leaned against the metal guardrail, his face turned towards the early evening sun. In the distance, a plume of smoke billowed from a train that slowly made its way towards Sokka and the station platform he was standing on. Besides him, a lazy Toph sat on the rail, swinging her feet. Around them were unfamiliar faces, men and women of all nations passing through.
"Is anyone coming with you?" Toph asked. Her ears perked at the sound of the train.
"Suki says she'll go as far as Omashu once I pick her up at the Serpent's Pass. She'll be returning with the Kyoshi warriors then," Sokka shrugged. "We'll write though."
Their silence continued. All she heard was the frustrating sound of everyone but Sokka. All he saw was the train that made its way towards him. No matter how slow it crept towards him, Sokka wished the train would come even slower. A cold wind blew through the station. Sokka held onto his hat and Toph's green dress fluttered. The luggage shook.
"This is boring," Toph whined, shaking her legs a bit faster than before. "I'm a bit surprised to see you speechless at a time like this."
"Will you be okay?" Sokka blurted spontaneously.
"Sure. Why wouldn't I be?"
The question was poorly timed, spoken awkwardly, and most of all, directed towards the wrong person. What else did Sokka expect other than a straightforward answer from the self-proclaimed world's best Earthbender? It was a waste of time, and the train was closer than ever before.
"I guess it can't be helped," Toph sighed and jumped off the iron railing. She came face to face with him. She was taller now, and her forehead now reached Sokka's nose. "When will you come by?"
"They said it could be months before I get a return trip-" Sokka started.
"No, that's not what I was asking," Toph shook her head, and gripped Sokka's shoulders tightly. "I'm asking you. When will you come by?"
"As soon as I can," Sokka replied firmly.
"I was afraid you'd say that," the Blind Bandit loosened her grip and turned to face the noise of the incoming train. There was a long pause before she turned back to Sokka, a warm smile coming to her face. "Let's make a promise, shall we? This one's actually important."
"What is it?"
"Let's promise never to see each other again."
"What?" Sokka yelled in a panic. "What do you mean by that?"
"I'm building a city," Toph clenched her hands into fists and showed them to Sokka. "It's going to be the greatest city on earth, just like how I'm the greatest Earthbender alive. If I have to, my bare fists are all that I need to make that happen."
"You're fighting for that city," Toph continued. "You're fighting to keep our dream of building a city for all people to live in alive. And I would strangle you if I found out you failed because you wanted to come back and see my unfinished project."
"I want to see the world," the Earthbender frowned. "There are so many things that I haven't felt with my feet, but I'm the only one that can stay here to make this happen. So that's why we have to promise to never see each other again. Until I've built this city, and until you've finished protecting it, I won't let us get distracted."
"I will complete your vision," Toph finished. "And in return, you must be my vision."
It wasn't often that Sokka was speechless when he had conversations with Toph. And yet here was Toph, who seemed to have planned this conversation at least days in advance, since she wasn't one to talk too often about promises, let alone dreams and haphazard metaphors. Sokka suddenly had a feeling that Iroh had helped her write a portion of it.
The train came and parked. Sokka attempted to shout back an answer, but the train's horn filled the room and was followed with a cacophony of sounds. The station platform grew noisy and bands of sweaty people headed towards the train to board. As Sokka realized that it would be impossible for Toph to hear his voice over the train horn, he pulled her into a quick hug and thrust her luggage into her hands.
"Make sure the city doesn't ban meat," Sokka chuckled nervously as the horn died down enough for Toph to hear.
"That's the Sokka I know," Toph closed her eyes and warmly accepted the embrace. They stood for a while in mutual silence. It was a comfortable one. The train sounded again as the last few remaining passengers began to step onboard.
"So," Sokka stuck out his hand after they parted. "Do we have a promise?"
Toph grinned, squeezed Sokka's hand, and slugged him on the shoulder. "We sure do."
"Ow. Your punches are as hard as ever."
"It comes with training."
"If the Dai Li act up, let me know."
"I'll let you beat all the enemies this time, since it's usually me doing it for you."
"I'm a better swordsman than you think."
"Then I'll be hearing about it when Iroh reads me the news?"
"You can count on it."
"Toph, I'm going to m-"
"Oh," Toph shook a finger at him, her eyes already looking away. "Hold that thought for a moment Sokka."
Toph turned and stepped aboard the train as the horn sounded for the final time. She swirled and faced Sokka again. "Okay, Sokka. Now you can say it."
"Toph," Sokka started, slightly confused. "I'm going to m-"
The doors of the train closed and the wheels of vehicle began to move. Beyond the window, Sokka stared blankly at Toph, who merely shrugged. Sokka followed the train as far as it could go before it exited the station and gained speed. The monorail grew smaller and smaller, but that didn't matter to Sokka. Toph's face was already gone, and the important thing now was to keep the promise that he and Toph had formed together.
Turning around, Sokka walked in the opposite direction.