Toph decided that for her sixteenth birthday, she wanted to be left alone. Naturally, everyone ignored her wishes and showered her with gifts, treats and songs. It wasn't until Aang found her retreating and gave her a gift – one small kiss- that she decided she'd do the same thing next year.
"It's just a stupid toy," she teased. "Look, I can do everything it can do in half the time."
Aang rolled his eyes and made the toy robot reach under the lowest toy shelf to retrieve a folded piece of paper. "Read it," Aang said. So she did. While breaking her promise to herself that she'd never let a boy make her cry.
Being blind, Toph picked things up faster than the most talented dancer could. When she felt Aang hold his hand out to Katara, she wished someone would come along and show those two noodle-heads how it's done.
"It's processed meat."
"It's processed meat!" she mocked.
"That has to be the worst thing you can put in your body."
Toph laughed. "That's what she said."
"Why do I even bother?"
Appa was being tended to by a healer who'd found refuge at the base of theMountain Range. After making the long grueling walk to the temple, Aang took inventory of the things they may have dropped in their climb while Toph wandered off. He was sweaty, covered in dirt, and looking forward to a long soak in the fountain. He stopped at the body distorted by the running water. He could only make out milky white skin and striking dark hair on a beautifully figured body. He barely had time to blush before he dodged boulders twice his size.
It was Toph's idea of a game. They both had impassable faces, though Aang's was beet red. He had only his jeans on, while Toph wasn't as lucky. She called it beginner's luck. He glanced at his cards, then back at her face, very careful not to stare at her bra and panties. He felt his heart spike when she smirked.
"Read 'em and weep!" she said, smacking her 9, 10, and Jack of hearts on the table.
Aang sighed and prepared himself for the embarassment ahead. He laid his cards on the table, not taking his eyes off hers.
"You've got to be kidding me!" she yelled when she saw his royal flush.
"Alright, well I guess the game's o…" he trailed off when Toph reached behind her back to unhinge her bra. He covered his eyes and ran from the table, hitting the wall and succesfully knocking himself unconcious. Toph laughed hysterically and began gathering her clothes. "Poor kid can't call a bluff." She walked over to where he lay on the floor. "You couldn't handle it anyway, Twinkle Toes."
"Remember that time Sokka made you pee your pants?" she laughed.
"No," he blushed.
"Yes you do!" Toph said. She turned to the girls from Aang's calculus class he'd been chattng with. "He remembers. He's just shy. Oh, and you won't believe what happened when we were playing poker the other night!"
Aang did a running back handspring with ease, landing with a back tuck.
"Show off," Toph muttered while trying to perfect her cartwheel.
"Keep your legs straight," Aang instructed. He helped bring her legs over her head, causing her arms to collapse and sending them in a heap of limbs on the grass. "This is impossible!" she said, struggling to move his weight from on top of her. They ended up locking eyes and haulting their struggles for a moment.
"Uh…" Aang blushed and backed away as if her skin was on fire. "Sorry."
Toph, never letting an embarassing moment pass, decided to have a little fun. "Are those your car keys in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"
She didn't expect the metal deck of the fire navy fleet to be boiling hot under the sun. The second Appa touched down, she hopped off…then hopped right back on again with a startling scream about how her feet were burning. Aang had to carry her below deck, but he didn't mind the earthbender depending on him for a few minutes.
"How the hell did you manage this?" Katara asked, cutting the dried glue from Toph's hair. Aang was no where in sight.
"Ask your stupid boyfriend. It was his idea. Ow! Not so hard!"
Katara tsked and alternated between scissors and a comb, trying to save what she could.
"Aang is not my boyfriend. How did this even get stuck in your hair?"
Toph sighed. "I bet Aang that I was a better glue bender since it's made from things from the earth. He laughed and said he was better and we..well you know the rest."
Katara shook her head. "I swear, you two are the most mischevious twelve year olds I've ever met. Where is he anyway?"
"Probably the ceiling if the glue's dry."
"The c…." Katara ran outside to discover Aang covered in green goop, stuck to the ceiling of the beach house. Toph emerged from the room waving the scissors in her hand.
"I won the bet."
He never noticed Toph in a romantic way. It wasn't until they decided to play volleyball (a sport that she managed to dominate at, despite her height) Aang couldn't help but appreciate every spike, set and bump she made while prancing around in those little white shorts. When the ball smacked him in the side of his head, he focused more on the game he was losing.
Toph heard a high pitched ring, waking her up from her sleep. She left the comforts of her bed to search for it, discovering it got louder as she left her room. She opened the front door of the student apartment she shared with some friends and was greeted with an icy bucket of water to the face.
Aang was grinning on the stairs. "Rise and shine! It's five A.M on this beautiful Saturday-" he couldn't finish the statement because Toph lunged for him, chasing him down the block of dormitories, screaming how she'd murder him slowly and cruelly. He easily outran her, laughing at his revenge but decided he'd take it up a notch.
"Nice underwear, by the way!"
Toph stopped in her tracks and looked down at her panties. She covered them the best she could with her hands and doubled back to her dorm.
"What do they say on the back?" Aang yelled.
"It says 'You're dead, Twinkle Toes!"
Aang eyed the shot glass carefully as Toph tilted her head back once again.
"We're under age," he said.
"Who cares? We're young! We have time to make stupid mistakes," she said, letting out a loud burp.
"Very lady like," he commented. He ducked out of the way of her punch and sipped his soda again. He wasn't looking forward to carrying her across campus back to her drom once she passed out, but he knew someone had to take care of her.
Toph groaned at the splitting pain when the sunlight hit her eyes. She barely had time to roll over and wish for more sleep when her stomach clenched. She ran to her bathroom and hurled.
"I told you not to drink," Aang said, getting up from his spot on the floor to hold her hair.
"So, technically you're a princess?" he asked.
"Sort of," Toph shrugged, walking on the railing of the bridge that crossed the small stream in her back yard. It was only six years ago that she and Aang had been in that very spot, right before they were captured by her earth rumble rivals.
"So, you'll get married to someone who's sort of like a prince, right? Someone who's held with the same honor, widely known and admired, travelled the world?"
Toph laughed. "Yeah, I guess so. Wait, do you know someone like that?"
"Nope," he said, and immediately regretted it. Toph tilted her head to the side when she felt his lie, but she decided not to press him on it.
She never liked flying on Appa, but recently she'd been hating it more and more. She asked Aang to stop for the third time that day, and jumped the second she smelled the earth.
"Did you eat something bad?" Aang asked.
Toph shook her head."No. It just doesn't like what we've packed to snack on."
"What doesn't?" Aang asked, wondering what unseen force was making his fiance ill.
"Zuko told me about this game," Aang said, placing the apple on Sokka's head. "Since you're not a firebender, we'll do it with earth bending."
"Why am I doing this again?" Sokka asked.
"Oh, hush Snoozles. It's only a game," Toph said, reading Sokka's nervous vibrations before finally feeling the apple on his head. She shifted her foot and punched just as a rock went flying out of the ground and crushing the apple. Sokka ran away, and Aang coughed up five copper pieces. He stopped just as she held out her hand.
"Wait a second…Zuko told you about this game, didn't he?"
"I'm asking him."
"Hey, don't do that!"
"Why do you waste your time on that stupid website? No one cares what you're doing every second of every day."
Aang ignored her and continued browsing his news feed. "It's an easy way to stay in touch with people. You should check yours."
"Fine." Toph logged on and was immediately bored. When she saw Aang's status, she decided to play a harmless prank, hoping to get him unhooked from networking. It wasn't until Aang got home that he noticed something off. There were several posts on his wall from friends. He started at the top, and scrolled his way down finally seeing what the sudden attention was about.
Katara: A social network with hundreds of people is not the place to share this information.
Suki: Whoa…wait, what?
Sokka: Way to go, Champ!
Zuko: Well…this is unexpected. And a little gross.
Toph: Thanks for the pity sex. Try not to go so hard next time, my head kept hitting the wall.
Aang knew Toph couldn't see the sunset, and he knew it was nearly impossible trying to explain it to her, so they sat at the top of the hill in silence. Appa dozed behind them, providing the perfect place to lean on. He glanced down to comment on the breath taking scene before them, when his breath caught in his throat. Her alabaster skin held every color the sun projected like a dazzling canvas brought to life. When she glanced up at him, confusion written on her face at the sudden speeding of his heart, he saw the sun dancing in her eyes. It was his hand that went out to touch the curve of her cheek, but she was the first to lean in to their innocent kiss.
"We're going to be late!"
"Relax, they're just playing the previews!"
"The previews are the best part!"
"Your gay little vampire movie will be there tomorrow. And the next day, and the next week and the next month!"
"You should have taken a shower earlier! You know I wanted to see opening night!"
"Why? So you can listen to a bunch of twelve year olds can scream for two hours?"
"What's taking you anyway?" He was leaning by the door, waiting for her to come down the stairs. She did, annoyance written across her face and her hands on her hips. She only had time to put on her bra and panties when Aang began getting impatient.
"Just go without me."
"They'll show it next week," he said, running up the stairs and scooping his girlfriend into his arms.
Toph listened in partial disgust as Aang devoured one custard tart after the next. He offered her to try them on more than one occasion, but she declined. She didn't feel like eating much.
"What's wrong?" he finally asked.
She sighed and shook her head. "My parents. Same old, same old."
"Anything I can do to help?"
Toph thought for a moment about his offer. "Remember the first night we met? When you came over for dinner?"
Two minutes later, and after a very loud, dramatic sneeze, everything on the banquet table was either splattered on the extravagant halls of the Earth King's palace and on a very angry aristocrat's clothes. The Bei Fongs greatly understood the sudden disinterest the young man had in their daughter after that. Toph couldn't imagine a better day.
Black and Blue
Katara was used to the earthbender's frequent visits to the tiny healer's station just outside of Ba Sing Se. She'd gotten used to the lifestly since the world no hadn't needed saving in nearly seven years. But it was always something new with Toph; some local thug challenged her and sliced her arm with a dual sword, she made bets that she could take down three of the toughest guys in a tavern who she didn't know were firebenders until her eyebrows got singed off, a rock sliding contest with some young children new to earth bending. Katara enjoyed the visits. It gave them a time to bond since their unfortunate split up after the war. When Aang came to visit, Katara expected more injuries due to Toph's competitive nature and her love of training. When Toph walked in a week and a half later, she wasn't surprised at the trivial cuts and bruises.
"I swear, it's like you two are twelve again," she said, placing a hand glowing with water over a bruise on Toph's temple.
"Trust me, we're not twelve."
Katara sighed at the memories. "I remember travelling the world, seeing all those people. The only problem was not getting the pampering I've gotten used to since settling down."
"There's nothing wrong with taking care of yourself. Sometimes a girl just needs to…oh my goodness, what happened to your neck?"
"What do you mean?"
"It's covered in horrible dark bruises!" Katara moved Toph's collar down lower. "They're all over your chest too! What in the world have you…" she trailed off, reality setting in. "Toph," she said in a warning tone.
"Well, it's been nice seeing you," Toph said, standing and heading towards the door. Katara reached out for the earth bender, grabbing the hem of the outer robe and causing it to pull from it's knot and fall on the floor.
"Are those finger shaped bruises? On your hips?"
"I've got to go."
"Wait, we need to have the talk!"
Aang was more than pleased with the way his plan to humiliate Toph succeded. Those girls from his Calculus class still snickered when he walked by, but his ego was slowly building back. Aang sat back, prepared to give his full attention to the lecture when a campus security officer walked in and whipsered something to the teacher.
"Aang? They need you downstairs," the professor said. He gathered his things and walked outside to the elevator. The security officer handed Aang a folded piece of paper and led him to the elevator.
"You're supposed to go to the front lobby," he said, watching Aang enter the elevator and pressing the button that would take him downstairs.
"You're not coming with me?" Aang said.
"No, I'm supposed to stay up here."
"Oh," he replied, unsure why he was needed if the gentleman wasn't escorting him. "Thanks anyway officer….?"
"I'm not a real officer. She just paid me to make sure you got out of class."
"Wait, what?" Aang said, but the doors had already closed, making the elevator start it's descent. He wasn't sure what waited for him in the lobby, but he was suddenly very nervous. The elevator haulted, causing Aang to lose balance and hit the floor. The lights began flickering and the air turned off. Aang noticed that he dropped the note during his fall, and decided to read it since he didn't know how long he'd be stuck.
"Payback's fun when the joke's not on you!" It read. "See you in a couple hours! Tell the firefighters I said hi. Sincerely, Toph."
The worst time of the year had to have been those stupid company formals. Toph's father required them to get all dressed up for the dozens of cameras, hoping to have a picture taken with a socialite. She slid the silky off- white chiffon material over her legs, letting her mother help tighten the bodice.
"That nice young man from the Arbor Salvation Company will be there tonight. Maybe you should introduce yourself," Poppy suggested.
Toph rolled her eyes and adjusted her floor length gown. "Mom, no offense but that's a terrible idea. He'll be surrounded by interns all night, telling some stupid story about how he nursed a baby goat back to health."
"Oh, just give him a chance Toph. He's been helping out your father's company recently. They've actually considered hiring his team to help Bei Fong Industries go green. It's supposed to save us a lot of money."
Toph agreed to be on her best behavior, then followed her parents down the elevator and into the ballroom where the party was being held. Sure enough, there was the young CEO, surrounded by the company's interns who were lucky enough to be invited. Toph didn't see what was so special. Alright, so he was kind of cute. Not to mention toned from rock climbing, biking, swimming and whatever ridiculous sport he prattled on about. Toph was bored already. Still, she stood by her mother and listened to yet another dreadful tale. Something to do with trying to stop an oil tanker from navigating through a sea of iceburgs.
"The damage would have been catastrophic," Aang said. "Luckily, we managed to flag them down and point them in another direction, just as a family of Orca's swam by. We saved so much that day."
All the girls swooned, including Toph's mother. Toph swiped another glass of champagne before anyone noticed.
"You certainly have a wonderful gift of story telling," Poppy said. "Doesn't he Toph?"
"Hm? Oh yeah. You sure saved those whales." She didn't try to hide her distaste. Poppy clicked her tongue in disapproval.
"I don't think you've met my daughter. Aang, this is Toph. She just graduated from Ba Sing Se University this past May."
"Really?" he said. "Small world. I went to the same school. What was your major?"
"Physical fitness and therapy," she muttered.
Aang seemed interested enough. "Wow, what myst that be like?"
"I get to touch sweaty guys all day. It's no sky diving, but I like it enough."
Poppy watched the exchange between the two. "I have to go see to your father. Toph, why don't you dance?"
"I love dancing," Aang said. "Would you mind?" Toph glared in her mother's direction and sat her half empty drink on the table. She held out her hand to Aang who led them to the dance floor full of waltzing couples.
"Can you even dance?" Toph accused.
"Of course. I spent two months in Brazil learning their-"
"A simple yes would have sufficed," she interrupted. She didn't mean to be rude, but there was something so arrogant about this boy. Luckily, he took the hint and put a tentative hand on her waist. They moved slowly at first, both testing out each other's skill, then fell more comfortably into rythym.
"I'm very excited to start working with your father's company," he said after a while.
"I'm sure you are."
"I have a lot of ideas that I've been working on," he continued. "Usually a cmpany this large would take a lot of work, but I'm pretty confident we'll leave a pretty big impact."
"Is there something wrong? You seem a little upset," he asked. Toph stopped moving and took her hands from his tall shoulders.
"It's pods, you dumbass."
Toph took a deep breath to try to gain her composure. "You're unbelievable. You try to come off as this sensitive hipster who only cares about the environment, but we both know it's only to get girls. You never shut up about how much you travel the world and all these things you've learned and seen and how much of a 'in-depth' person you are, but your company is barely four months old and it's already making over seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars a month. You're not Ghandi, you're not Mother freakin' Teresa. Stop pretending you're so upset over all the poverty in third-world countries when you're just gonna go home and play Madden '12 or something. And for the love of all that's holy, whales travel in pods, not families."
She watched as Aang didn't even blink at her rant. Instead he simply held out his hands to continue dancing, seeing as they were the only ones standing still on the floor. Toph sighed and picked up the dance again, trying to keep as much distance between them as possible.
"I'm sorry that you see me in that way. But, if you don't mind my asking, how do you know so much about me?"
Toph shrugged. "I like to know about the things I can't stand. That way I know what I'm talking about in case I get in an argument."
"Smart," he said. "Well, I've also done my research. You're an only child to one of the most succesful mining and contracting franchises in the world, you graduated in the top twenty five percent of your- or should I say our class, and you opened one of the most succesful training facilities on the east coast only four months ago. Instead of being a socialite like many people in your father's company, you chose to begin working on your own with the money your father gave to fix your car, that you totalled in a street race. Whereas I started out in my grandfather's basement with a facebook page and fliers in a local fast food restraunt."
"It wasn't a street race," she corrected.
"I don't play Madden," he shot back. They danced in silence for a while before he finally said "No offense to your dad, but he doesn't hire the brightest interns. I knew whales travelled in pods. Whenever I told that story, people didn't know what I was talking about."
"Well I guess that makes us the smartest people in the room," she joked.
He smiled down at her. "I suppose it does. Except…"
"What is it?"
"I graduated top fifteen percent."
"Shut up and spin me."
Okay, I love that last one. I just might make it into a full length story. Please forgive me about The Good Times, it's killing me to get it done. I'll start writing the final chapters, then work my way backwards. (That method seems to work pretty well for me. I do it all the time on tests.) college is amazing, thanks for asking. My major is Environmental Chemistry. But I ain't no hipster!