Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. All characters, terms, and affiliates of Avatar: The Last Airbender are not mine, but belong to their respective owners, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, Nickelodeon Animation Studios &c.
This story is nearly four years old, so I'm guessing it had slipped through the cracks when I was comparing my fic posts between here and LJ. Originally written for Aliora and inspired by an inconspicuous quote.
We died because of your tiny bladder – Aang, Nightmares and Daydreams
Toph does not think she is made for wearing shoes; they make her blind.
They were hands over her eyes, a block to her senses. And in a world where darkness was her only companion, it was frightening. The splits in her soles were just enough to keep her from tossing them altogether. Over the side of Appa's saddle to fall where they would.
"…cradle and all,"sung her mother's voice. Inside her head. In the dark.
Sitting up from her reclined position, Toph bit off a curse. The pointed tips of her shoes served as great handles, so with a few tugs, they were off and sailing overboard. Feeling minutely better, she dug her feet into the saddle beneath her, the worn leather stretching against her heels. If she strained further still, the movements of Aang's strange flying bison could be felt.
Six legs, she counted. She counted again because she could.
There was the tiniest shift to her left somewhere, and Toph turned her head before Sokka spoke.
"Hey! Those were new shoes! New. Shoes. Toph!" At times, Sokka was even more motherly than his sister.
"They were ugly," she replied, as nonchalantly as she could.
Two ripples lapped against her feet as he braced his hands on the saddle. "And how would you know?" One of his hands lifted off the leather, and Toph could only assume he was using it to gesture wildly at her. She decided to return the favour and all but heard Sokka's jaw drop.
"You—you didn't just," he almost choked on his disbelief. "I was about to offer you a blanket because it's cold up here, but seriously, just forget it now." The grumbling and quick succession of pulses against her soles told Toph that Sokka had turned away.
With the wind picking up, she probably could have used the covering. But Toph was proud by birth and nature, so her need went unaddressed along with the apology that never made it passed her lips. From somewhere further up front, Katara asked what was the matter. Toph shrugged off her concern as she looped an arm around the saddle's rail. Her toes dug into the leather.
"Nothing's wrong, Mom. But I do need to go to the bathroom."