notice me, notice me

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She is fifteen years old, and Sokka doesn't notice.

She is still short. She is still nitty and gritty and she likes to feel the earth beneath her fingers and she likes to bury her feet into the sand, listening to the ground's heartbeat.

Toph rolls up from another crunch, feels her bindings tug at her sides. Her body is new. The muscled legs and slim, toned stomach is new. The thin layer of baby-fat she had worn just a few short moons ago is gone, replaced by muscle and sinew and femininity. She digs at the dip her hip-bones create as she lies backwards on the hard ground of her bedroom, blowing a few strands of sticky hair out of her face.

She's sure she looks different: prettier, maybe. Not that she cares much for that sort of thing, but still. She wishes he would notice, notice that she's not twelve years old anymore. She tugs her clothes back on, her yellow and green tunic, and pins her long hair back. She punches the ground once for good measure, and sits on the edge of her bed.

It was almost impossible for her to understand. How someone who could see could be so blind. She was sure she was painfully obvious, probably always had been. She could just picture his face in her mind: mocha colored skin, chocolate hair, a strong jaw, clear blue eyes, the fuzzy wolftail, scruff on his chin and cheeks.

Oh, La, she'd give anything to—

She hears his footsteps, always his, outside of her door. He hesitates in knocking on her door, and that hurts worst of all.

When he finally knocks, she opens the door with a sharp, "What, Meathead?" and the earth rumbles beneath her feet.

She is sixteen, and Sokka doesn't notice.

The water is cool beneath her, and she doesn't like deep water so much, but the water she can float on her back in, but still feel the stinging of earth in the back of her mind is okay. Katara is further down the river, splashing water on the pitiful flames Zuko keeps lighting. A grin pulls at her lips as she hears Sugar Queen squeal with laughter. Sparky's deep rumble sounds after.

It kind of makes her angry, but it kind of makes her happy. If those two idiots had noticed each other in the fray of lightning and darkness, then Sokka could notice her, right?

Why hasn't he?

Sokka is beside her somewhere, she can't really feel him in the water. Only when a hand grabs her ankle does she know where he is. "Hey, Toph." he greets lazily, his arm brushing hers as he floats up beside her. She swallows roughly, like she always does when he says her name.

"Don't you have someone else to annoy?" she questions.

"Nope." he answers.

Her heart is racing. He's so close. Closer than he's been in a long time. Can he see the water pooling at her collarbone? Can he see the definition of her breasts underneath her thin top? Can he see the tiny expanse of skin between her top and shorts?

Does he want to see?

She jumps up from the water, dread filling her. Because maybe he doesn't want to notice. Maybe he doesn't care that she's grown up. Maybe he doesn't want to notice her new body.

(She can't see his eyes following her, trailing her form. She can't see him swallow, eyes swimming with something like want—need.)

Sometimes she wonders if Sokka is the blind one.

She is seventeen, and Sokka. Doesn't. Notice.

"Why don't you notice me?" she cries, rage coming easy to her. "Why? Why am I not good enough?" she flings a rock in his direction, satisfied when he yelps.

"Toph! Hey, stop it!" Sokka cries, and she can hear him dodging her rocks. And then, he's directly in front of her, pinning her arms to her side when he picks her up, gathering her closer to him. Her heart thrums when he puts his lips to her hair.

"I've always noticed, Toph," he murmurs into her hair, lips touching her inky black strands, "I promise."

It's awkward, she'll admit, being pressed up against his tall form. His heart thrums by her ear, and an urge stirs in her belly. A sly grin plays on her lips, and as Sokka pulls his mouth from her hair, still talking, she stomps once on the ground, rocks rising beneath her feet, raising her up to his height.

She interrupts him whispering something about her eyes with her lips, and his arms tighten around her waist, securing her to him, and if the way he touches her, the dip in her waist, her collarbone, the valley between her breasts, she thinks that he, well, he might have noticed after all.

fin.