Must Get Out
He breathed out long sigh. Her room was dark, but that was normal for Toph. However the air in here was stale as though no one had been here for ages. Three years had passed since the last great adventure. Eight years since the defeat of Ozai. Just after they put down the rebel Dai Li forces three years ago, Toph had disappeared. He understood why she left. At first.
She had hesitantly tried to work with the Dai Li, become a sort of leader. Aang had hopes of creating a new city, a capital of hope for all the nations. Of course it would need some sort of law enforcement. The entire Gaang had thought it a good idea. However, Toph would tell Sokka that she thought they were plotting something. He always brushed it off and laughed it all off as though she was paranoid. The Dai Li had never shown any signs of insubordination.
Sokka moved to her dresser. A thick coating of dust covered the top of it. He drew the symbols forming her name absent mindedly. He was wrapped up the night before the betrayal. Toph had come to him, dark circles under her eyes. It just made her look crazy. The Dai Li were nothing but respectable. No one had a single clue. No one except for…
He began opening the drawers and fumbling about with the small articles of clothing and trinkets he found there. That night she had almost been crying, but he hadn't noticed. Suki was waiting for him the next room. All that stood between him and reaching sexual fulfillment was a tiny earth bender. He patted the top of her head and walked around her. "Let's talk about this tomorrow," he had said. How was he supposed to know tomorrow would be too late? Toph shouldn't have tried to take them on herself. She should have gone to Aang.
He ripped out the drawer he was looking in and threw it on the ground. It splintered and broke on the hard stone floor. "What am I even looking for! Give me a damn hint, Toph! Where did you go?"
Suki ran into the room. "I heard a loud noise, is everything okay?"
Sokka gave a fake laugh to hide the fact that he was nearly in tears. He needed to hear the earth bender say she was alright, that she forgave him.
"We'll find her Sokka. Before Azula." She walked over and kissed her lips. He kissed her back, but it wasn't the same anymore. He didn't know what he was doing.
"Let's get out of here, maybe Aang found something."
They walked outside to find Aang meditating. His tattoo was glowing bright blue, illuminating Katara's face. She sat cross-legged in front of him. Every now and then the muscles in his arms would twitch and flutter. Sokka did his best not to punch a hole in the side of Toph's abandoned home. Every second Azula could be closing in on her. Even if she wasn't, they needed Toph to stop her. That was how the Gaang did things, all together as one.
Aang stood up unexpectedly, startling Sokka who reared up on one leg with his hands in a defensive position. He relaxed. Miffed Sokka said, "I almost killed you just then."
Aang grinned. "If you did that then you wouldn't know where I found Toph." Katara clapped her hands together in worry.
"Where is she? Is Toph in danger?" Sokka put an arm on his sister's shoulder wondering the same thing.
Aang's grin grew wider. "I wouldn't worry about that." He laughed.
The band was of a newer generation. The beat was hard and fast. The sounds were sharp and unpredictable. Her feet slid across the floor trying to match and anticipate the music. Her hips swayed with wild movements. Her long hair was everywhere as she swung herself around. The music felt like it was inside of her chest moving with the beat of her heart.
Toph had made it a habit of going out nightly to enjoy what the city had to offer. Strong music and even stronger drinks blurred her evenings together. The music winded down to an end. She stopped moving and wiped the back of her pale hand across her sweaty brow. A large man bumped into the blind young woman.
"Watch it, whore." He grumbled at her.
Toph smiled. She had more enough sake in her to beat the crap out of someone and not care of the repercussions. After several nights in prison and months of community service, what was one more infringement? Her fist balled up and her feet tensed, ready for the fight that was to ensue.
Completely out of place, a man grabbed her target and flipped him onto his back. From there he twisted the large man's arm till he squealed and cried out in pain.
"Apologize to the nice woman." She could hear the grin in his voice. The man blubbered his apology, sweaty and red. The man let him go. As he did so, Toph shifted her feet and the offender was buried up to his neck in the stone floor.
"Now you're really sorry." She snarled. Toph turned on her heel and left the establishment before the authorities arrived. The man followed behind her. She had a fairly good idea of who he was. Once outside she would be able to feel his heart beat and identify him that way.
"Not even going to say thanks?" Sokka grabbed her hand as soon as they were alone to stop her.
"He's lucky you showed up, Snoozles." The nickname shot across his heart. Toph tried to clear her head, but the alcohol made it difficult. "How did you even find me?" She tried rubbing her blind eyes. Why was she even talking to him?
"Aang sent his spirit out, I think… You know I don't quite understand all the spirit world voodoo." He smiled at her.
She could feel it, but tried not to smile back. As much as she hated it, it was good to feel him again. His presence was like a breath of fresh air. "Is everyone out here looking for me?"
"Everyone except Zuko, but that's why we're here. Azula and some crazies slipped out of the ward. We found plans of murder against all of us. We thought they got you Toph." He stepped forward and hugged her. She was thin. "I'm so glad you're still here."
She wiggled out of his arms, but still held his hand. She didn't want to let it go. "So what now? On your merry way?"
"We want you to help find and put Azula away."
"Why? So I can be nearly killed again? So that everyone thinks I'm a paranoid crazy?"
"No! How many times do I have to apologize? Stop acting like you're so innocent!" The dark expression on her face mad him cringe a little bit. He hadn't come here to yell at her, but he was so anger and hurt. "You shouldn't have left! You said you would be back, Toph. You told me you just needed a break, to rest your head. Then you never showed up. You put me through hell Toph Bei Fong."
"We were best friends and you brushed me off for your stupid girlfriend!" her voice was quiet and furious. "I could have died and you…. I thought…" She couldn't finish her sentence.
"I'm sorry." He whispered. She was ready to fly at him with more hatful words, but that stopped her. "I'm so sorry Toph. I should have listened to you. That afternoon…. Hearing you cry like that, your bones breaking… It goes through my head every time I close my eyes. Hate me if you have to Toph, but know it will never happen again."
"I don't trust you anymore Sokka."
"No matter what happens, now that I know where you are, I'm going to fight to get it back. Do you understand? There's only so much I can do for you Toph, but I'm going to fight. I won't let you down anymore." He spun her around and smiled. "From now on, I'm going to be lifting you up. And I'll start by feeding you. Seriously you're thin as bone. This city is making you crazy and we have to get out of here."
At the word 'crazy' Toph stumbled away from him. "I know what you're doing. It isn't going to work. I thought I was special to you, but it's a lie. Always just a lie. Leave Sokka." She stomped her foot down and he slid several paces away.
"Think of it this way if you don't believe what I say. We need you Toph, whatever Azula is planning we have to stop her. The world needs us again."
She was silent for a few moments until the music in the club started up again.
"Then I'll help…." He smiled at her decision. "And Sokka?"
"Stay out of my way."