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|By Toph's Fanboy||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Toph's Fanboy||Adventure/Drama||PG||Positive||None|
|Brawling in Qinggan Fenbao|
3 (Unexpected Twists)
Xingti Mei Isn't The Only Answer
This chapter takes place in Part 2 (Revelation of A Long-Kept Secret) of the third story arc (Unexpected Twists - The "Meeting of Souls" story arc) of the AU fanon "One of Two Ways", and is the second chapter of Part 2 (after the as yet unwritten first chapter named "Marriage Plans" - Aang and Katara's, if you must know).
After a full day of riding Appa, Toph, Sokka, and Aang arrived at Qinggan Fengbao, intending to stay there for the night. Their exploits during The War still in the public's memory, the three received a hero's welcome and two free rooms at the local inn. Toph informed the rest of the group that they would take two on the ground level (rather than on higher floors, for the obvious reasons), and Aang and her went into one of the rooms to relax while Sokka remained outside, trying to see if he could manage to extort free food out of the innkeeper. She leaned back on the bed nearer the door, her back to the door, and began picking at her left foot (so as to dislodge any dirt which may have gotten stuck in its ridges, which would interfere with the clarity of her Seismic Sense), leaving the other one planted on the ground. Momo hopped down from his perch on Aang's shoulder and curled up in Toph's lap, and she started petting him with her left hand as she continued cleaning her foot with the other. She felt Aang walk around from his position behind her in front of the doorway and then stop right in front of her as if he had something he wanted to say. She stopped her hygienic foot-cleaning as a way of acknowledging this. Aang, apparently now sure that she would listen to him, asked, "Is something up between you and Sokka?"
"Why would you think that?"
"I dunno...last night was just very uncomfortable," he answered. "You seemed kind of angry at him...I don't think I can stand being in the middle of a fight between you two."
Toph said nothing to this, and the room was silent for a few moments. Then Aang, apparently realizing something, asked her in a voice that sounded like he suspected he knew the answer, "Wait...did you ever tell Sokka that you liked him?"
Immediately defensive when she heard those words, Toph jumped off of the bed (Momo screeching as he fell to the ground) and ordered to him in a loud voice that caused Momo to hide himself whimpering underneath the bed, "Don't you say anything! My feelings are my own business, not yours! And if I choose to leave this a secret, it will stay a secret!"
Then she heard a voice which made her immediately straighten up in surprise ask, "What will?" Immediately feeling the heat of her cheeks rise, Toph lashed out against herself inwardly for being so concentrated on silencing Aang that she failed to notice when Sokka came to stand in the doorway. After a moment's silence, she uttered, "Nothing," in a low, frustrated voice, and turned around to exit the room, roughly shoving Sokka aside as she passed him.
She stomped angrily toward the exit but found the doorway blocked by a large, well-built man. When he failed to move, she ordered to him angrily, "Get out of my way."
Instead of listening, the man began chuckling in a coarse (and rather annoying) way and said, "Such harsh words from such a little lady."
Annoyed at this slight, she pointed up at his face and informed him in an aggressive voice, "And I can back them up."
Apparently just recognizing that she was blind, the man went on in a condescending tone, "Oh, I'm sure someone like you is able to." This was the last straw for Toph, and so she kicked her heel against the ground, shoving the earth out from underneath the man's feet and sending him flying with enough force that he crashed into a nearby table.
He apparently had friends sitting at that table, as one of them spoke up, exclaiming, "No one treats Wú Lǐ like that!" Her Earthbending display apparently overriding any qualms they may have had about attacking a woman of her age, several of Wú Lǐ's friends rushed towards her with angry shouts. Not mentally prepared for a real fight at this point, she managed to incapacitate several of her attackers before they reached her, but eventually a large mob of them closed in her around her so that she was reduced to hand-to-hand combat.
Pummeling her enemies in their guts, jabbing her fingers into their eyes, swinging them by the arm into one another, the blind Earthbender did everything she could to fight off her unrestrained opponents. Wú Lǐ having re-entered the fight, she placed her hand on his chest and pushed him with great force into the opposite wall. The other brawlers had been reduced to pulling out weapons to use against her when Sokka and Aang showed up in the room. Aang, dodging a chair thrown at him, attempted to pry her enemies off of her as Sokka pushed his way through them to pull Toph out by the hand, getting several large bruises in the process of doing so. The two of them finally managed to extricate her from the brawl, and had to grab her underneath the arms and drag her away as she shouted death threats at the lot of them, her arms and legs still flailing in a vain attempt to get at her opponents.
When they entered one of their rooms they finally let her go, dropping her on one of the room's two beds. Aang exited the room in order to calm down the inn's still-violent group of customers.
"What's wrong with you today?!!" Sokka asked her in total amazement. "You've gone totally crazy! First you shout at Aang for no reason at all, and now you start a fight with twenty other people?"
"He got in my way." Toph said firmly as a justification, her head still boiling with anger. "And he was dumb enough to make fun of my blindness, so he really deserved it." She felt Sokka respond to this by shaking his head in disbelief.
Silence hung in the air until Aang returned from his peace-keeping duties. He informed Toph, "We're lucky that the innkeeper is still allowing us to stay here after all the damage you just caused." Toph lied down where she had been dropped, and remained silence. I don't care. There's no way I'm going to apologize to that guy. Obviously noticing her sulking mood from visual cues, Aang and Sokka left her alone to get some sleep in the team's other room, Momo having braved a trip out from underneath her bed and now riding on Sokka's shoulder. Right after Sokka had passed through the doorway, Aang stopped and turned to tell her, "You better tell Sokka soon...or I'll have to do something about it." Of course. The one time Twinkle-Toes decides to meet a problem head-on has to be this one, she thought to herself grumpily, but just repositioned herself to a more comfortable position on the bed as Aang walked out of the room.
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