As They Watched…

Chapter 4: Toph

She hated being at the Southern Water Tribe. The fact that it was completely made of ice and practically rendered her helpless was enough to get her blood boiling on a good day but the fact that a she was now lost due to a simple detour after a midnight snack, made her downright cranky.

"No…stop. We can't be doing this." The blind earthbender stopped dead in her tracks.

Sugar Queen? There was no mistaking her voice, she was crying.

"Ssshh….it's going to be alright, we'll figure this out" a soothing voice tried to comfort her.

Her heart broke for them. Over the past four years she'd felt evidence of their love for one another- sneaking footsteps, quickened pulses, whispered things that were meant for the other but never heard…until now.

"Zuko" her voice cracked.

"Ssshh, ssshh, not tonight, Agni not tonight" he pleaded. "Tonight… just be mine."

Toph was frozen, she knew she should be leaving, or at least trying to give them the privacy they deserved. After all, while everyone had sacrificed something- money, time away from home, resources- these two had to sacrifice love and perhaps a lifetime together. The four nations were still ill at ease and all that was needed to break the delicate peace was an uproar caused by the romance of the "Fire Lord and a peasant", as some Fire Nation citizens would have undoubtedly proclaimed. Or by the "Southern Water Tribe Ambassador and the barbarian", as many people across the remaining three nations might have as fervently proclaimed. Either way, Toph knew the fate of these two was not meant to be entwined as husband and wife. Although they were owed deserved privacy, much to her horror, she found herself rooted to the ice unable to move. So she listened.

Soft moans, tender sighs, labored breaths, quiet gasps. Whispered promises that would have to be broken for the sake of the fragile world.

Silent tears streamed down her face. The smell of sweat hit her nose. She hugged her knees tightly and prayed that destiny would be kind to them. And she listened.

She listened to the sounds of two lovers suffering their love for perhaps the last time. She listened to two souls sharing the painful knowledge that their love was on borrowed time. She listened to the quiet sobs of a woman trying to find the strength to move on, and to the miserable pleas of a man refusing to do so. She listened as two people undoubtedly deserving of each other, spent their night in anguish, mourning the love that should have been.