After Katara walked out of the room, Toph realized she had forgotten to heal her bruises. This confused her, but thinking any more into it just made her hang over worse. She ran her hand over the table top until she hit a cup. It warm so there had to of been tea inside. She picked up and brought it to her mouth. The warmth crossed her lips and soothed the aches growing all over her body. She moved the balls of her feet in slight movements on the stone ground. Aang and Katara were embracing outside, Suki was slumped in her chair, and Sokka was facing in her direction. She turned to him.
"Stop staring at me." She felt him turn away. "In fact just leave the room, I don't know how you got me here, but I don't want you to think that we're okay." Toph felt Suki sit up in her seat at this.
"Toph… We can fix this if you just let me." He sounded remorseful.
She shook her head. "Go away, Sokka!" She spat his name.
"Toph, I can fix—"
"Leave!" She threw her tea cup on the ground. It shattered, silencing the air with it. With a heavy sigh Sokka left the room. Toph breathed through her nose trying to calm herself. She had been broken and he could have stopped it. He could have done something then. It was too late now… She had loved him, trusted him…
Her thoughts were interrupted by Suki. "This is absolutely ridiculous Toph."
"Excuse me." He tone was dangerous and her expression darkened.
Toph had never much appreciated the fan wielding warrior. She had stolen Sokka's heart from her long ago. She knew the girl had to be pretty. Men enjoyed curves and where Toph was lacking, Suki had plenty. That was it though. Toph had never seen the Kyoshi Warrior do anything monumental. It was always just dumb comments and a supposedly pretty face. In her opinion, anyone could wave around fans and call themselves a fighter.
"The way you're behaving, like you're queen of the world. How dare you hold what happened three years ago against him. It was you who went off on your own to dig your own grave. I don't even know how you made it out of that alive. When I see what it's done to him some days I almost wish you had died so he could get some sort of closure. He doesn't need this. You acting like you're free from sin. It's pathetic." She was standing now and so was Toph.
"How dare you say that my behavior unacceptable! You're so fucking condescending, Suki. I'm not a child; you can just slap me on the back of the hand when I'm not doing something you like."
"Acting like this, throwing tea on the ground like you're having a tantrum, that is childish."
"I was angry, what gives you the right to be so critical? Did you become the Avatar? Is that what happened while I was away?"
"You're so full of it Toph, unfortunately that didn't change while you were away."
The solid flooring beneath Toph's feet cracked under her anger.
"In case you forgot, I have the tendency of getting very physical, so you better watch your step because if I do, you'll need a miracle." She threatened.
"All you want to do is fight, because you're a scared little girl Toph. That is what you are. You can't own up to your own mistakes and you're a mess because of it."
"The way you talk is so dull! It drains me dry and makes me wonder what I'm even doing here! Do you even know how you sound?" Toph laughed. "This double vision I've been seeing is finally clear! You act like you have something meaning full to say, but all that comes out is shit. Look, I know you want to stay here with the group and all, but I want you gone. I think everyone would benefit from that. No offense or anything," Toph could feel she was getting under Suki's skin, "but you aren't fit to fucking tread the ground that I walk on." Suki was getting to her, but Toph was determined not to let the warrior win.
The spoiled brat had said enough for Suki's liking. She wanted, no needed, to put the girl in her place. As fast as she could, Suki slid the fans from her belt. At nearly the same time Toph brought up her leg and slammed it down sending a wave of earth towards her, effectively destroying the dining area. She leapt over the wave and sacrificed one of her fans by throwing it at Toph, knowing she would bring up a wall of earth. The earthbender brought up the wall as expected. Suki launched herself over it and landed on the smaller girl. The two tumbled to the ground, Suki straddling Toph, one of her hands accidentally on Toph's chest. Suki got in two good punches, one under her eye and one on her mouth, before Toph flung her off.
"I see what this is about now!" Toph knew what she was about to say was crude, but the hits to her face hurt and made her headache throb violently. "You must be in love with me Suki! Do you clutch your pillow at night?" The girls circled each other. "Do you writhe in a naked sweat wishing that peck I gave you back when we were kids turned into something more? Are you hoping that somebody someday will kiss you like I did? Sokka not doing for you?" Toph laughed, her split lip aching.
Suki flushed red. Even though a fat bruise swelled on her cheek and her lip oozed blood, Toph grinned with a dark look. That fucking bitch… The vanity of the earthbender was too much to tolerate. For years Suki let the vain, self-centered girl parade around, but not today. She wanted to destroy her. She ran at Toph blinded by rage, picking up her fallen fan mid-way there. The warrior threw herself at the earthbender trying to do as much damage as possible. She didn't care about the rocks pummeling her body; she just wanted to hurt her so called team mate. She deflected several of the rocks with her fans. It felt good to release her inhibitions and let her instincts take over.
As Suki lost control Toph wanted to smile. It probably killed her that she was in control. It had to hurt, had to burn, and that's what the earthbender wanted. Suki had been nothing but a pain since they met. Even so, she knew the battle had to thrill Suki's soul as a warrior as it did her own. They were alike in that way. At this point in the fight, Toph knew the warrior's pride had been stung. Toph was supposed to be weak and she was giving Suki a hell of a fight.
Suki narrowly shifted to the side as a boulder came for her torso. She saw an opening and took it hard. Her fan slammed on the smaller chest knocking Toph back, her head hit the ground with a sick smack. This gave the young woman a chance to access her injuries, a few broken ribs, bruised bone and flesh, maybe a broken nose. Toph was on her hands and knees coughing. Blood sprayed from her mouth. As she started getting up, Suki readied her fans.
"You're just like a little girl who's scared of the monster under her bed. You know that? When you don't like something, you cry and whine about it." Toph wheezed. Her chest was on fire. It was getting progressively harder to breathe. She couldn't focus on the vibrations beneath her feet. Nausea welled up in the pit of her stomach.
"Shut up Toph. You've lost, get over it." Suki snapped at her with venom.
Toph gave a short bark of a laugh and couched a bit. Her head spun out of control. "Listen to me… When it gets cold outside an' you have no one to love 'cause they all see you for who you are, then you'll understand." Toph put a hand on her head. It hurt and it kept getting harder to breathe.
"Understand what? You don't even make any sense."
"Understand what I mean… what I mean when I say we're not gonna give up!" At the last words Toph used the last of her energy to try and send a mountainous wave of earth and rock to pour over the warrior.
Aang had been trying to meditate near a small creek. He was worried about the situation oat hand. Azula had disappeared, without trace leaving plans upon plans etched into her cell walls. She had taken two other patients with her: an unstable fire nation girl who murdered several people in her village's market by bending the heat from their bodies till they froze to death; and another fire bender who from birth had no sense of pain, was missing the part of her brain to differentiate between right and wrong, and from what he gathered could sometimes bend actual lava. Aang didn't pretend to understand the medical files doctors from the hospital brought him. He wasn't a scientist. He gave the files to Sokka.
This brought him think about his team. Toph had disappeared and when they found her she was on the verge of being a drunk. Sokka was of almost no help due to his obsession in finding Toph. Zuko had been so caught up in trying to rebuild the fire nation's reputation that he was distracted all of the time. Katara, the woman he loved, had seemed distant lately. It worried him. The only person he didn't find troubling was Suki.
Loud crashes and hard vibrations pulled him from his thoughts. Aang looked behind him and saw a cloud of dust rising from the safe house. Panic gripped his heart. Azula. She had found them. He stood up and snapped out his glider. He jumped up and let the wind catch him on the tool. He rose up, powerful and graceful. A minute later he arrived at the scene fearing the worst. Instead of Aula he found the two earth kingdom girls at each other's throats. They were bruised and bloodied, Suki breathing hard and Toph wheezing out words which clearly angered the Kyoshi warrior.
Aang touched down furious. "What is going on here?" His deep voice boomed with anger, but went unheard by the girls. Toph lifted her arms bringing up an incredible amount of earth as Suki zigzagged toward her like a snake.
Bright blue light erupted from Aang's eyes and tattoo's. With his voice and the voice of the previous Avatars he spoke. "Stop." The sound penetrated through the girls' rage.
The Avatar raised his left hand and brought it down, safely moving the earth Toph had brought up. At the same time he thrust his right hand forward. A heavy gust of air blew the two away from each other. "The fate of our world is in danger again. We have all been called upon to work together and stop this. How can we fight evil when we are too busy fighting each other?"
Everything was falling apart and Aang had to keep it together.
The blue glow left Aang in a gradual wave. He touched the hair growing on his face is frustration at the two girls. The kitchen and dining room were destroyed. The hiding place was now conspicuous. He looked at the two girls. Both were still breathing hard, Toph wheezing, and covered in dirt, bruises and blood. Both of their hair was undone and sticking in odd ways due to sweat and blood. It was then that Toph started coughing and fell to her knees. Aang and Suki rushed forward but not before she collapsed backward.
Sokka had been running for what it seemed forever. Fighting sounds and destruction brought him running back. He arrived on the scene with hands on his knees, out of breath. He had gone for a long walk after the incident with Toph.
"What's going on here?" No one answered him. Toph was on her back passed out with Aang and Suki hovered over her. She took shallow and wet sounding breaths. Her arms were covered in bruises and scratches.
Suki put a hand over Toph's chest feeling for a heartbeat. That's when Sokka noticed his lover's arms. Black and blue painted her arms and face. Cuts tore her skin, blood seeping into her nightdress. Horrified he touched her arm. She looked back at him with pain and tears in her eyes.
"Who… Who did this?" Anger bled into his voice mingling with the shock.
"We did this to each other…" She whispered. No words came from Sokka's mouth. Two women he loved and cared about did this, tore each other to pieces. It was too much to believe. It was supposed to have just been simple training exercises.
"Sokka, grab her legs, we need to take her inside." Aang slipped his hands under her arms. Sokka took her legs, averting his eyes. The top of her kimono was torn and revealed an almost indecent amount of skin. He could just make out the curve of her small breast. He breathed in through his nose and closed his eyes for a second. Focus.
Aang spoke again sounding distracted; something was obviously on his mind. "We'll wait for Katara to return and figure it out from there."