She shouldn't be out here and she knows it. It's been nearly two years since the end of the war, but things were still hectic and this place was still dangerous. She could still remember the heat from those metal airships and fire benders, the fear she felt, the hopelessness, the slipping of fingers-
No. She couldn't let that bother her now. She was on a mission and she refused to go home empty handed. It was her fault anyway. Why he lost something so precious to him. She'd bring that sword back to him or die trying. Iroh had kindly brought her out here this morning and she'd spent all day walking along this wasteland using her earth bending to seek out that special sword but to no avail.
The air was getting cooler and she could assume that the giant "yellow" (whatever that was) ball in the sky that everyone talked about was going down. Feeling tired and a bit hungry, Toph stopped for the night. She quickly created an earth tent and pulled out the blanket from her bag. Once that was out of the way she reached in for the snacks she kept at the bottom to munch on. She'd look again in the morning and if she still couldn't find the damn thing she'd just go back to the ship, swallow her pride, and ask the old man to help her. After they had tea, of course.
A sound woke her. It was faint, far off, so she didn't wasn't alarmed. She slowly sat up and listened while stretching muscles and popping joints in case she needed to bust some heads. Not everyone in the Fire Nation was happy with the changes the Avatar and Fire Lord Zuko had brought. The noise didn't remind her of any animal she knew of and it wasn't getting closer. However, it wasn't getting any further away either. Curiosity got the best of her and she left the safety of her tent, but not before grabbing her space bracelet and shaping it into something pointy.
Toph sent out some vibrations to the earth in order to gain some sight on what she would be dealing with and was surprised that it was something human. Not too large, but bigger than she was, surely. As she got closer she recognized him. Sokka. He did indeed seem bigger and his voice was slightly lower. The noise she had heard was singing. Sokka was singing in a strange language she couldn't understand and seemed absolutely peaceful. Who knew the meathead could actually sing that well. Toph's body slowly felt like it was catching fire. A warmth in her cheeks, traveling down her chest, her stomach, and settling in her-
Oh no. If she was going to get thrown off kilter like this she needed to even the playing field before she dealt with him. She took a stance and- Bam!
"Whoa!" Sokka was thrown off the ground and landed in a nearby bush. "Ow, ow, ow! Who's th-Toph? Toph is that you?"
"Who else? What are you doing here?"
"I could ask the same of you. How did you
" Sokka trailed off and became silent. Toph used her bending once again just to make sure nothing had happened that went unnoticed by her. When she realized he was just standing there, she spoke again.
"How did I what? Get here? Iroh gave me a lift. He came by Gaoling a few months ago and I asked him to being me." Toph walked closer to the water tribesman before taking a seat in the dirt. Sokka remained standing but finally spoke up again.
"Why are you here?" He was shocked. Never would he have imagined running into Toph out here. She was back home, training benders, winning championship belts and just overall being awesome. He looked down at her and saw something else as well. He noticed immediately she was taller, and the blind eyes and strong earth bending gave her away but now as he paid attention he took note of the longer hair (that was down), and the slightly fancier clothing that was hugging her curves (since when did Toph have curves?). Her face was more angular, having lost most of its baby fat, and the way her skin glowed in the moonlight- 'Oh Tui, I can not be having these sort of thoughts right now!'
"Are you even listening, Meathead?" Toph was getting very uncomfortable. He was just standing there and not saying anything.
"Sorry, Toph." Sokka coughed and asked her to repeat what she said.
"I said I came out here to look for your stupid sword, okay? If I hadn't been so weak you wouldn't have had to throw it away."
And that was that. They made small talk trying to catch up since they hadn't seen one another for almost a year. Sokka was right about what Toph had been up to. Toph learned that Sokka was working with both the Northern and Southern Water Tribes in helping them open up to the other nations. They packed up his stuff and went back to Toph's tent agreeing to look for the sword in the morning together.
They searched until dusk without saying much to one another. Toph was getting frustrated, loudly complaining. (How hard should it be to find?) and Sokka kept getting distracted. He was too busy really "seeing" Toph for the first time to look around properly. With sunset fast approaching, Sokka made the call to give it up.
"It's just a sword, I have another one anyway." He explained as he walked the Earth Kingdom girl, no, woman, to Iroh's ship.
"But it was your space sword. Must've been pretty important if you came out here to look for it too." Toph's hand involuntarily came up to feel the piece of space rock on her arm.
"I was originally here to look for the sword but I think there was another reason." Toph, once again, felt the warming of her body and quickly changed the subject.
"What were you singing last night? I couldn't understand." Sokka either didn't notice the sudden change or didn't care (either way, Toph was relieved, though she'd bet it was the former) and he told her about the lullaby his mother used to sing to Katara and himself when they were little. He could only barely remember it until recently he met an elderly woman in the North and recognized the tune she was humming to her grandchild. He asked her to teach it to him and she happily complied. After he told the story they found themselves at the shore with the ship not too far away.
"Guess this is goodbye, Snoozles." Toph waited for him to reply and was (pleasantly) surprised to feel his lips on hers. His strong arms encircled her and his scent of dirt and meat was strong in her nose. Then all too soon it was over and she was left with cool air surrounding her. Sokka leaned down until he was able to speak right into her ear.
"I'm glad I lost that sword since it meant I could find you again."
"What are you saying?"
"I'm saying, that I would gladly throw away that sword over and over again if it means saving you. If it means getting to meet you again later. Losing that sword is nothing compared to almost losing you and I can't believe I nearly lost you again. You need to get back home, but I promise you'll be seeing me again soon and a lot more often. Right now I have to get the ship and crew I borrowed back to Zuko." Sokka brought their lips together once more and Toph could swear her heart was about to burst out of her chest. They parted once more and bid each other a safe journey. As Toph followed the sound of the Tsugi horn coming from the ship she remembered something.
"Sokka! What about Suki?" Toph nervously bit her lip and hoped that she didn't misunderstand what had just happened. Then suddenly,
"What about her? We broke up nearly a year ago!" Toph smiled ran back to the ship while yelling,
"You better hurry, Meathead!" Toph spent the journey home thinking of all the different ways to greet the object of her affections upon his return.