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|Day the Third: Heartbeat|
3rd January, 2014
Toph had always been of the firm belief that she was the only one who could feel another's heart, and to an extent, she was correct.
Only she could detect the minute changes when someone was lying, the way a steady d'thump-d'thump turned into an erratic d-thmp'd-th'd-d-thmp'd with the introduction of fear and anxiety; she was the only person alive who could feel someone else's heart sing with glee and grief. And love.
However, she was not, as she believed, the only one who could sense another's heart.
Now, she would argue that there was no difference between the two, but she would be wrong. Sensing and feeling where, at least to Sokka, two very different concepts. He was aware of the tension after their trip to the play; the heavy awkwardness in the air that surrounded Aang and Katara and just generally brought everyone's mood down a little. But, he couldn't 'feel' it. The physical reactions as their hearts pumped anxiously, one with hope and the other sadness were lost on Sokka; however, just because he could not feel it the way Toph could, did not mean he didn't know it was there.
It was strange, the two would sometimes think, that she saw so much and so far, yet occasionally even the nonbender could see the bigger picture.
Naturally, the best example was between said couple.
Toph had harboured feelings once for the Water Tribe warrior. They remained in her heart, safely guarded under lock and key, and ignored. She was perfectly content to remain friends with Sokka, and she would never risk losing that bond with him. The older boy, though, held other plans.
While Toph was busy convincing herself that the emotions did not exist (and they most certainly were not thriving with his friendship), she had begun to ignore, as most girls do, the fact that such a state would leave outward signs. She believed Sokka too stupid and oblivious to ever notice. But, that was where the difference between 'feel' and 'sense' came in.
Sokka had no way of knowing how her heart skipped a beat when he touched her, or how it ran so fast she wondered when it would just give out. He couldn't tell when it moved to thunder in her ears, or catch in her throat. But he still knew.
It was in the way she spoke and laughed; in the jubilant grin and the bruise on his shoulder. He knew it was there, while she remained oblivious.
Oh, how the tides turned.
Though Sokka, unlike Toph, was more prepared to take a risk. He refused to fail, and it was that refusal that gave him the courage to act on his feelings.
It was with a hop, skip, and a jump that Sokka dragged Toph to the edge of the water, rendering her blind save for what she could feel with her arms, choking Sokka in her sudden fear.
And she could feel. Not just sense, as she had assumed that only other people could do, but feel his heart pump gently in his chest. And if she could feel without the earth beneath her, that meant....
Toph looked to Sokka with wide eyes, feeling his smile on her like a warm sunbeam.
"Just so you know," he whispered in her ear, "it's a mutual thing..."
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