I made a mistake. I watched the new Korra episode before coming to work and now I’m moving around like a zombie unable to focus.
*explodes into a puddle of feels*
Toph slapped her open hand on the ground beside her for the sixth time in the span of what she guessed was two minutes after being unceremoniously dumped here. It was obvious that she had been misinformed by her air-headed monk friend that the spirits were kind and - well - spiritual. When her attempt to ‘see’ failed yet again, she made a note to properly correct him. And by properly, she meant knocking him upside his bald head, burying him in shoulder deep in rock, and thoroughly scolding him. Well, she would, if only she knew where she was.
The air was thin, she observed, and below her, the ground felt shifty as though she was sitting in sand, which only made this scenario that much more annoying. Then again, she didn‘t have to worry about the fuzzy vibrations, because her earthbending just mysteriously decide to disappear altogether. ‘Great‘.
The hand that still lay flat on the ground beside her clenched, gripping the lose earth tightly. She was back in Goaling; a blind helpless little girl being coddled by her parents. It had been long ago, before she had awakened her earthbending abilities, since she had been truly blind. Desperately, Toph once again slapped the earth, and, once again, her seismic senses refused to come to her. She let out a disgruntled noise as she gave up and realized that if she was ever going to find her friends, she would have to do it the old fashioned way.
First thing was first, she needed something to help her navigate. A stick would be nice. ‘Or Sokka.‘ Toph paused her pursuit of a makeshift cane, eyes wide with bewilderment. Why was she thinking of him all of a sudden? The metal bracelet on her arm suddenly felt a lot heavier, and she absentmindedly brought her hand up to touch it over her sleeve.
He had told her to stay back, and of course, she ignored him. She mentally slapped herself for being so stupid. He was just trying to keep her safe, it was so obvious, even at that moment. So why didn’t she just listen? Was it the thought of being seen as weak, especially by him, that drove her to fight the spirit?
Toph let her shoulders sag and sighed, disheartened. ‘I deserve this.’
It only took a few seconds for something in her brain to go klunk, and blind earthbender sprung into action, renewing her search for a walking stick. ‘No! The Blind Bandit never gives up.’ She crawled along the ground, one hand supporting her while the other reached blindly forward. Finally, her fingertips brushed against a rough object and she let out a noise of triumphant. She tediously examined the branch with care, weighing it in her hands and running her fingers along the length.
It was perfect, exactly what she needed. Cautiously, Toph rose to her feet, using the cane as a temporary crutch to maintain her balance. Raising her chin high, she was about to take a step when a voice stopped her. His voice.
The blind girl shrieked in surprise, lost her balance, dropped her stupid stick, and fell backwards on to her rear. She let out an ‘oof‘, as her butt made contact with the ground. She mentally cursed herself. ‘Great, let’s add ‘the most ungraceful fall’ to the list of my staggering accomplishments today.’ She was reminded that she wasn’t alone anymore when the sounds of shuffling snapped her out of her stupor. Bewildered, Toph turned her head towards the sounds, heart slamming against her ribs.
“Sokka?” She called out in curious anticipation.
“Don’t worry! I’m almost ther—-WAHH!” There was a loud smack telling her that he had tripped, landing a few feet away from her in what she was sure was an undignified heap.
‘My hero,’ she thought dully. Well, that would be the proper greeting considering the circumstances minus the sarcasm. Toph wasn’t exactly known for her sugar sweet personality, nor did she make a point to put herself into situations that would hinder others into saving her. Unfortunately, she was once again reminded that this was her fault, and Sokka must have drawn the short stick. Her mind raced to think of the perfect greeting for her valiant warrior.
“What are you doing here?” ‘Dammit!’ The moment the words flew past her lips, Toph wanted to crawl into a hole to escape her humiliation.
“Oh, you know.” She heard him say, voice slightly strained as he got to his feet. “Just thought it was a lovely day to take a leisurely walk in the spirit world.” Toph expected no less of a reply from the boy who considered himself the ‘meat-loving, sarcasm guy.’ Even so, she shot a glare his way. She really wasn’t in the mood.
“I meant how did you get here? Isn’t waltzing around in the spirit world Twinkletoe’s job?” She asked, bitterly.
She was in the middle of mentally hitting herself when a pair of large hands wedged themselves under her arms from behind and lifted her up off the ground in one swift motion. ‘Wheeee!’ She thought giddily. If she was going to have to play the role of damsel in distress, she might as well have fun with it.
“Aang helped me get here. He went to find the spirit while I looked for you.” He said as he set her on her feet where she swayed slightly. He quickly placed a firm hand on her shoulder to steady her, afraid she would fall again. His simple act of concern cut through her like a knife, and she lowered her head in anguish, hating herself. Here he was, in all his sarcastic, fun loving glory to save her, and she been nothing but ungrateful. Hot tears burned her eyes, threatening to fall.
“Hey,” He spoke with a kindness that broke her heart. “That spirit didn’t hurt you did it?”
She shook her head, an action that caused the unshed tears to spill, and she quickly reached up with her hand to sloppily whip them away. There was an uncomfortable silence between them, and far away, Toph thought she heard the distinct sound of the universe laughing at her. The water tribe boy seemed to be stuck with what to do, just like any guy would be when faced with a crying girl.
Uncomfortable, Sokka finally broke the silence, “Hey, um, maybe we should-”
“-I’M SO SORRY!” The blind girl suddenly wailed, causing the watertribe boy to nearly topple over in terror. Maybe it was the fact that she was tired and hungry, or because she really hated this stupid place, or because she was so sick and tired of herself - or maybe it was all of it at once - but something inside of her snapped, and she was suddenly sobbing. Not just waterworks and sniffles, but actual howls and hiccups. Powerless to stop it, she slapped her hands over her face as if she could hide in plain sight.
Sokka cautiously moved closer, inviting her into his warmth which she gratefully accepted, burying her face in his shirt. The hand on her shoulder moved down her back to rub soothing circles as he waited patiently for her to calm down. He didn’t have to wait long as the sounds of her wails reduced to loud sniffles, and he leaned back just enough to look at her. Her thick black bangs were disheveled -more so than usual - and her glassy eyes were bloodshot. She looked absolutely pitiful, and it tugged at his heartstrings.
“Hey, it’s okay. You don’t have to be sorry.” He assured her. She sniffled loudly, a stream of snot trying to escape her nose.
“I think I ruined your shirt.” She said lamely, running her fingers over the wet blotch apologetically.
He laughed softly, not even bothering to look down at his tear stained clothes. He moved his hands to cup her face, the warmth of them causing a new shade of red in her already flushed cheeks to rise, and said, “I’m really happy you’re safe.”
And she smiled - a smile only he had the power to conjure - and took in a long steady breath to shake away the remains of her episode. And just like that, she was Toph again. She shoved her fist into his shoulder, an action she reserved only for the people she cared about, and he yelped in surprise. “Don’t you ever, ever, tell anyone about this, you got it?”
He threw his hands up in defense, “Whoa there! Your secret is safe with me.”
“Good!” She reached out and grasped for his hand which he willingly gave her. She gripped it like a life line, hugging his arm. “Let’s get the heck out of here, Captain Boomerang! It sucks not being able to see!”
Sokka smiled warmly, and gave her hand a reassuring squeeze before he turned and began to lead them out of the spirit world.
I apologize for the inactivity the last couple of days. I’ve been promoted at work and have been there almost none stop learning the paperwork. I have some art in the works, and possible a little Tokka one-shot that I’ve written. Thank you all who watch me and support my art! Means so much to me!