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2nd December, 2013
The fire had burnt low, the gentle throb of the embers bright enough to illuminate the small room, but not so bright as to attract moths and other unpleasant bugs (unless it already did, of course, and they died a horrible death). Sokka was too drowsy to contemplate the death wishes of insects however, and was even less inclined as he saw frost forming on the floor. He shivered slightly, wishing words warmed him as much as the blankets did. Toph, unfortunately, had taken them all when she went to sleep (both the story and the sheets). Sokka felt cold in more ways than one when she trudged over to her own sleeping spot after giving him a light punch. He had a feeling that she enjoyed his story, but really, he had no idea. Toph was virtually unreadable.
He sighed, annoyed. Now his brain wanted to think? Couldn't it wait until the morning? Desperate to entertain himself long enough to drop off again, Sokka glanced around at his friends. He would have complained about Aang and Katara's sleeping arrangement, before realising that he too wanted the warmth of someone to snuggle up next to. His thoughts naturally turned to Suki, who had decided to spend the winter season at Kyoshi Island. A small breeze blew through the house, rousing him from his thoughts (which would end up spiralling out of control, he knew. Before he could even comprehend how it happened, he would be thinking of turtle-duck soup for absolutely no reason). His stomach growled a little at said thought, but before he could hiss at it to shut up and go to sleep, he heard an odd sound.
It sounded kind of like a woodpecker-finch. A baby one. Glancing around, he noted with confusion that the sound was actually coming from the mound of blankets that could only be one person. Now that he knew it was Toph making the noise, he deduced (using his fantastic skills of observation) that it wasn't actually a small bird, but rather her chattering teeth. Getting up—hissing slightly as the cool air snuck through his sleeping clothes—he approached his short friend. He could see straight away that she was awake, but she made no move to turn her blind gaze from the fire to address him. She just lay there, teeth chattering.
"Toph, are you okay?" he whispered, leaning down. Even with the exaggerated shadows, he could see her frown.
"O-obviously n-n-not," she chittered, and Sokka mentally facepalmed at the stupidity of his query. He briefly wondered how she could be so cold, before deciding that it didn't matter. Leaning down, he surprised Toph by putting a hand on her cheek. It was gone before she could complain—she had more on her mind to worry about anyway, like 'Oh my Koh, what the Spirit World happened to the ground'.
"Ahh!" she cried in her frozen state, mind (and body) reacting far slower than usual. Her frozen arms wrapped around Sokka, although when the blankets fell she almost lost her grip anyway.
"S-S-Sok-ka," she shivered, "p-put me d-d-down!"
"Toph, you're freezing," he reasoned, trying to keep the shiver from his own voice. He hadn't expected her skin to be so icy—it had, after all, been covered with the blanket. Realising that the warm pieces of cloth would probably be beneficial, he leant down and picked up one of the thicker ones. Toph was latched onto his side like a baby koala-bear, and he just threw the blanket over her like a poncho. "If we share body heat, you'll warm up." Toph exhaled sharply through her nose and turned her head, although she didn't argue. She would have, had she not found herself beginning to relax, the shivers not quite so violent as before. She felt Sokka moving, and as the heat of the fire lessened, she accurately guessed he was moving away from it.
"W-where're we g-going?" she asked. She shook violently, but she had a feeling it was the way Sokka's hands grabbed her waist to hold her steady and not, like previously, because of the cold.
"Getting something to warm you up. Spirits Toph, you're absolutely freezing."
She probably would have responded with a snarky remark, but the shivering had taken more out of her than she would have guessed. Toph offered no fight or protest as Sokka carried her away from the fire, although she made a mental reminder to punch him the next day.
The walk to the kitchen seemed longer than she remembered, but she couldn't deny that the warmth seeping into her from Sokka was pleasant. She had noticed how much her friend had grown since he would piggyback her around the Western Air Temple, and it would have made her wonder about her own self had he not chosen that moment to put her down on the bench of their home.
"Stay here," he said, and she could hear him clattering around quietly. Almost immediately, she began shaking again, but she was simply too tired to try and do something about it. While Toph was an extraordinarily strong person, she wasn't used to the unexpected weather turn (unexpected being that she had forgotten about winter being colder the further north or south she moved from her home). Sokka left her in the kitchen, only to return moments later.
"Hold on," he mumbled, his voice almost sing-songy.
"Wha-?" Toph didn't have time to complete her question as, without warning, Sokka plucked her up like a baby. Screw waiting, she thought as he put her down on her sleeping mat again and, without warning, she punched him in the back of the knee. He stumbled, and she let a small grin cross her features at his subdued hiss of pain, before the cold wiped it off.
"What-t are y-you d-doing?" she asked, somehow even colder than before, despite the close proximity to the fire. Sokka seemed annoyingly unfazed by the chill.
"Making you something to warm you up," he said, and Toph found that she didn't have a retort. She was still shivering, but seemed unwilling to move closer to the fire (for the obvious reason that she couldn't see the flames). Sokka got up to collect his own blanket, using it to wrap the two together. Toph growled a little—she wasn't weak! She could handle a bit of cold—but it died in her throat when she realised exactly how warm Sokka was.
"Here, try this." He interrupted her, although the half-mind that Toph had to punch him about it was quickly converted as the smell of whatever he was offering her reached her nose.
"What is it?" she asked. Despite the lovely aroma, she didn't completely trust it. It seemed weird.
"It's a drink. It'll warm you up."
Truth be told, she was too tired, cold, and sore to fight him anymore, so she grabbed the cup and took a gentle sip. It was slightly hotter than 'lukewarm', leaving her with a slightly fuzzy feeling in her mouth, and a warm sensation in her stomach. The taste meant nothing at that moment, only that it made what seemed to be moo-sow milk slightly palatable. She drank the rest greedily, the milk filling her stomach. She felt warm and full, which also led to her feeling ridiculously sleepy.
"Mmm, that was good," she yawned, feeling Sokka chuckle next to her.
Toph nodded, resting her head on his shoulder. "Yep. Now, you just stay there, coz I will freeze if you move." Well, that's what she tried to say, however with the sleepy mumbling and the fact her face was pressed into his tunic, Sokka really only heard a few key words. He got the gist of the conversation, at any rate. Sighing good-naturedly, he lay back. Toph burrowed in next to him, not really caring about anything but the warmth.
"'Night, Snoozles," she murmured quietly.
"Night, Toph," he breathed.
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