Comptine D'un Autre Été
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13th August, 2013

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Comptine D'un Autre Été

Toph was unable to get Kyoshi's words out of her head for the rest of the week. For the first time in a long while, she actually found herself looking forward to something other than the habitual cigarette about an hour after Kyoshi had gone to bed. Not that she had really been smoking much lately anyway—sometimes she just got up to sit outside and listen to everything. Even with those nightly excursions onto the porch, she found herself feeling better; usually prone to wandering the neighbourhood, it was no longer the thought of finding a street rat who would let her join in their fun (well, one in particular) that kept Toph's mind occupied.

It was the thought of the next Friday night, watching movies with Sokka, that got her through the sleepless nights and lethargic days that weren't so sleepless or lethargic anymore.

Walking casually into Katara's kitchen, purposely swinging the back of her new cane into the back of Aang's ankles, she even felt a small smile on her face (an achievement in its own right).

"Hi, guys!" Aang called through the doorway of the kitchen, not entirely sure where everyone was.

He grinned when he heard Katara answer from within the house with a, "Finally, you're here!" and Toph yelled out her own greeting.

"'Sup, Sweetness?"

Aang moved towards the sound of his girlfriend's voice, leaving Toph standing alone in the middle of the kitchen. She took several steps forward, cane making thop-thhh-thop-thop noises as it tapped along the lino, before she heard the sound of another person (that didn't include them slobbering over the other).

"Toph!" Sokka stuck his head around the kitchen door and grabbed her hand, pulling her into the lounge room. It smelt strange—different to the weeks prior. Kind of like a fabric softener, or flowers.

"What's that smell?" she asked, giving another sniff. Sokka gave a noncommittal shrug that she couldn't see, and sat her on the sofa.

"I managed to get them to give us the couch this week," he told her, and she knew he was smiling.

"Oh, really?" she asked. "You actually managed to get your little sister and her pussy boyfriend to give us the couch? Oh, my saviour!" She was grinning madly, and Sokka found the expression was in equal parts endearing and creepy.

"You have too many teeth," he said in a pathetic rebuttal. "Anyway, do you know what movie you're gonna pick?"

He was leaning into her slightly, a warm wall of muscle that had little goosebumps rising from her skin. Swallowing the small lump that had formed in her throat, Toph tried to remember what movie Kyoshi had recommended.

"Yeah. Kyoshi helped me pick; it's called House of Flying Daggers. It's a Chinese movie with people like, jumping over trees and stuff. It sounds weird, but she said I'd like it. She's into those movies, so I have a copy at home if you don't."

"Huh, I haven't heard of that. What's it about?" His hands were resting in his lap, and when Toph lifted her legs to cross them on the couch, she accidentally brushed past his arm. She could only hope that he didn't notice the shudder she had to suppress at the feel of his warm skin.

"Uh..." she swallowed again, trying to remember what Kyoshi had told her. "Ah, it's ab- about a blind girl who is a member of a secret faction rebelling against the government. She's um, she's caught and released with a police officer, hoping that she'll lead them to the headquarters, and they... fall in love." She trailed off, shrugging as she tried to hide the smile that appeared at the thought of him explaining a movie that she chose.

"Hey, that sounds really cool! Well, Aang chose a movie called Amélie. I haven't seen it yet, but it got some pretty good ratings, though. It's of a chick who has been alone her entire life and she finds love using photos or something. She just wants to help people; it's French, but I can tell you most of what they're saying." Toph felt him shrug against her shoulders as laughter sounded from the depths of the small house.

"I should be okay," she told him, ignoring the new sounds. "My mum- ...I had to take French as a kid. I'm actually pretty good at it, too." She felt him look at her, and she assumed it was likely with surprise, however she was unwilling to elaborate. "Hey, what junk food do we have this week?"

"Coke and popcorn!" he said gleefully, and she heard him bound to the kitchen. The only warning she had of his return was the soft rshff-shrffr of popcorn in a bag before he was catapulting himself over the couch to land next to her. He overshot the distance and inadvertently landed on her lap, limbs splayed everywhere. His hands were full of the snack food, and she stiffened, looking blankly ahead as she tried not to move too much while he squirmed away.

"You coming, guys?" she called to Aang and Katara, yelling louder than necessary to cover the tremor in her voice. She heard them enter the room and ducked her head down, pulling self-consciously at the sleeves of her long undershirt.

"I hope you didn't pick a sucky movie, Aang," Toph warned him, sinking low into the couch–he just grinned at her.

They relaxed into the sofa, Toph leaning against Sokka while he whispered the scene into her ear. She wasn't even trying to understand the movie, just enjoying the sound of his voice and the gentle wvvh of his breath in her ear.

"- she's running to the door to find him. There, she just wrenched it open and he's already standing there. They're just looking at each other, like they don't really know what's happening. Amélie pulls him inside and shuts the door before kissing the corner of his mouth really carefully. She kisses the other side too, before leaning up–coz he's taller than her–and kissing his temples slightly. Now she's pointing where she wants him to kiss her- "

Toph felt her heartbeat, pumping furiously, and she turned her head so she was facing Sokka. He only just seemed to notice how close they were, and squirmed uncomfortably.

"Toph?" She felt his warm breath tickling her face, and hoped that the movie wasn't bright enough to illuminate her face.

Well, here goes, she thought.

"Do- d'you think we could go to the movies one day?" she asked, her heart in her throat. Sokka gave a light chuckle, and Toph's face fell with confusion.

"That's a great idea!" he whispered back heatedly, and Toph felt a blush rise as she beamed. "Let's pick one after this movie–we can go tomorrow!"

There were only a few minutes left on the film, but Toph took no notice of what Sokka was whispering in her ear now. She closed her eyes and sunk further into her friend, biting back her smile. Finally, the movie came to an end with a jaunty tune, and Aang and Katara once again retreated to her room. She heard someone flick the light switch, and the cl-krch of a disc being put back in its case reached her ears.

"So, what did you wanna go see?" Sokka asked as he returned to the couch. She heard the sound of typing, and guessed that he had his laptop on his lap.

"Oh, I read the synopsis of an awesome one!" Toph grinned.

"Which one? I haven't-" Sokka fell silent next to her and Toph grinned at him. "That's not funny."

She laughed

"Huh, well, there's Monsters University... but that's a sequel... you don't want sequels, do you?" Toph shook her head, and Sokka continued scrolling through the movie listing.

"Hey, I heard people talking about a good one–uh, Much To Do About Things, or something like that?" she offered up. Sokka gave a light laugh. Toph frowned.

"Oh, I'm not laughing at you," he assured her, "But it's Much Ado About Nothing. It was shot in 12 days or something, and is in black and white."

"Ooh, can we see that one?" she cried out in excitement. Sokka laughed again.

"Sure. There's a showing tomorrow at two-thirty, if that's okay with you?"

Toph nodded emphatically. "Yeah! I can get Kyoshi to drop us off, too, you just need to come by at like, 2."

"Uhh...." Sokka hesitated, putting his computer on the floor. Toph could feel him looking at her with a strange expression.

"What? You don't like Kyoshi?"

"It's not that," he admitted. "I just don't see how you do."

Toph laughed lightly. "Hey! She's pretty awesome, you just need to get to know her. She just doesn't take shit from anyone."

"Yeah, well, she's scary," he admitted, and Toph laughed again.

"So, you wanna watch another movie?" she asked, her eyebrows furrowing as she heard him groan. It smoothed out though, as he lightly pushed her shoulder with his fist.

"Eager? Why don't we just talk or something?" he offered. Toph couldn't even suppress her look of surprise.

"What? Don't you wanna talk?" he asked, nudging her again.

"I talk all the time, thank you very much!" she cried out indignantly, the playful scowl not quite reaching her eyes.

Sokka made a ppb sound with his lips. "Yeah, but not about important stuff. Like, I dunno. You have a pet? I don't even know your favourite music! Ugh, Toph!" he whined, throwing his hands in the air. "How can I call you my best friend without even knowing that?"

She didn't answer, and he poked her. "Earth to Toph?"

Shaking her head and clearing her throat, Toph looked in Sokka's direction. "Best friend, eh?" she asked casually, as though the breath hadn't just left her body and her heart wasn't running a million miles. Toph mentally berated herself–she didn't need him to make her happy; but as his smooth ochre voice began talking, she felt her resolve withering once again.

"'Course! I mean, I don't normally let random short girls into my house, but for you I made an exception."

Toph felt her face grow red, and punched him lightly on the arm. "Enough of the mushy stuff," she said, grinning. Sokka nudged her back, however before he could say anything, Aang walked in, holding his phone.

"Hey, Toph, Kyoshi wants to talk to you." He placed the phone on her out-stretched hand, and began padding down the hall after she said, "Thanks, Aang."

Putting the phone up to her ear (and turning it around, embarrassed that she had put the speaker near her ear), Toph cleared her throat.

"Hey, Kyoshi. What's up?"

"I'm coming to pick you up now."

Toph's frown hardened, and her heartbeat picked up. She could hear Sokka breathing next to her, a gentle hhhhsshh in her space bubble.

"Why? Sokka always takes me home," she said flatly, trying to ignore the fact that he was probably close enough to hear Kyoshi on the other end.

"One of my students has been hurt, and I need to go down to the hospital. I'm not letting you spend the night on your own."

Toph growled, "I'm fine on my own. You need to trust me more."

Kyoshi let out a hollow laugh, the tinny sound reverberating through the phone. "Trust, yeah. Remember what happened last time? Look, unless someone comes and stays with you here, or you stay there, I'm gonna be picking you up-"

"You can stay here," Sokka butted in. "She can stay here, Kyoshi!!" he called loudly, biting his tongue when he realised he just shouted at an adult. He missed Toph's widening eyes as Kyoshi's voice made its way through the phone.

"There, sorted. I'm sure Aang's girlfriend has some pyjamas you can wear. I'll pick you up in the morning, okay?"

"Oh, well... we're going to the movies tomorrow..." Toph told her quietly. Kyoshi was silent a few moments as she digested the information.

"I'll pick you up and take you. I'll bring over a change of clothes at the same time. Goodnight, Toph."

"'Night, Kyoshi..."

Toph handed the phone to Sokka, who hung up and put it down.

"Awesome! Now we can talk!" he cried, grinning. Toph offered a weak smile.

"We better tell Katara..." she said, picking up her cane. It's going to be an interesting night...

Notes: the title of this chapter is actually the title of my favourite song from the soundtrack of this film. Yes, I actually bought the soundtrack. Who else thinks that Aang would be into romantic films with his girlfriend? Also, I have to thank LavenderGazelle over on ffn who helped me with this chapter. It wasn't going to go like this at first.

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