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22nd May, 2013
She digs her feet into the loose sand, relishing the feel as a frown splays prominently across her porcelain features. She glances back at her friends, feeling them sit around the fire whilst she alone is bathed in moonlight. They don't notice her solitude as they continue to rest in the arms of each other.
She thinks back to simpler times; times when the external conflict of a world at war outweighed those darned emotions like need and love. Want. To want more than the simplicity of freedom is something she never dreamed of desiring, and yet here it was, bubbling up in her chest.
It was suggested to her by Katara, actually, that she was merely allergic to love and affection, sick of it after so many years trapped in a home where fake emotions and feelings were rampant. She had laughed at the time, but now as she sits, reminiscing alone on a beach, she finds herself longing for that which everyone else seems to find so easily.
Slowly, another enters her small periphery. The light sound of sand underfoot alerts her to the presence of the one she had retreated to the waters edge to escape. Her heart rises to her throat, pumping nervously, anxiously with trepidation and fear—unfounded, naturally. The friendship she has forged with the brother of her best friend has grown far more intimate than she had ever dared share with another, and yet it isn't enough. Her face heats as he settles down next to her on the quiet beach, and she looks away, desperate and yet dreading the solitude once again. She has always done better on her own; if family could never be counted on, how is she able trust those who aren't bound to her by that instinctual, familial love all creatures are born with? She can't, and so she hides behind indifference and anger—it is the only way to protect her heart and keep it intact. It is only unfortunate that a simple word, a smile from him, is enough to shatter her fortifications.
But he doesn't speak, not this time. They sit there in pensive silence as the moon slowly rises above the calm waves, and a gentle breeze picks up. They move closer together as though to shield the other from the chill, and she runs the sand through her fingers, desperate for the distraction. Laughter sounds from the dwindling fire and both turn to look at the interruption. It is only when the joyous sound dies down that they realise exactly how close they are to the other.
Neither move as she continues to look towards the warm face mere centimetres from her own. Her heart races, pumping furiously to deliver blood to her cheeks. The half-light of the moon shows her spectacular vermillion colour reflected in his own features, and suddenly the breath she is forcing down her throat doesn't suffice. She can't get enough air, the little blown in on the breeze not nearly enough to satiate her starving lungs. She can't think as she shies away, sliding from him as the abstract idea of 'flee' bounces around inside her head. She follows the innate need for self-preservation, fighting her desire to be near him and her need for independence.
She doesn't expect him to slide with her.
He whispers her name, a husky question that sends shivers up her spine. Fleetingly, her eyes meet his and he is lost in the pale green orbs, so perfectly framed by dark lashes. She seems to know he is staring deep into her, and with a small gasp, he is pulled from the murky depths as she closes them, thankful and desperate for the perceived distance and isolation of blindness.
The night air quietens as time slows. She can only hear the sound of her breath, rising and falling as the crackling fire and crashing waves are muted. She does not feel him move towards her as slowly, ever so delicately, she feels his lips graze across hers. She stiffens at the contact before relaxing, his gentle nips and tugs coaxing her as she begins to reciprocate.
Her heart blooms in her chest to form a dull ache that explodes past the walls she has placed around it. Returning his ministrations with a renewed vigour, she cups his face, letting her fingers dance lightly across his cheek as she gently scratches the stubble growing there. A voice sings at the back of her head, but she ignores the call to not trust, to retreat once again. She forgets her attitude of self-pity, peaked only a mere hour ago as she puts her heart on the line, smiling into his lips before slowly breaking away.
She realises with a start that the waterbender was right—she had been allergic to love, and the thought of it. The very memory brings a shameful blush to her cheek before she feels it being rubbed away by the very hands she had sought for so long. Bringing her own small digits up to his chest, feeling their hearts beating in tandem, she decides that she doesn't care about what she was.
Perhaps all she had needed was a little help to get better, a little push of encouragement. Leaning into him to capture his lips once again, she couldn't say she disagreed with the cure.
A/N: Okay, so I've had practise QCS testing these last two days, and one of the tasks is to write a 600 word short story in 2 hours, based on a stimulus. The prompt was 'getting there', and this has been adapted from the one I wrote. It's longer and strays off the topic a little bit, but meh. I did write the original with Toph and Sokka in mind, except naturally she wasn't blind.
Extra note: I received the feedback, and got a 3(0), which is pretty good. The state average is a 4(0). And! And, I got a 2(-) in the vocab, so I'm pretty happy.
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