|More from Fruipit||Friendship||PG-13||None||No update page|
14th January, 2014
"Toph, we're here..." Sokka cut the engine, trailing off. She didn't seem to have heard him, and he wondered for the umpteenth time that night exactly what she was thinking of that caused her to become so distracted. Jumping out of the car, she didn't even berate him when he opened the door for her. Actually, she was completely silent as she began making her slow way up the path.
Sokka bounced from foot to foot, biting his lip. He really should apologise to Kyoshi for Toph being late. The girl had mentioned being lucky to have come over that week—he didn't want anything to jeopardise her chances of coming next Friday. The porch light was on, something Toph wouldn't need, and so he followed her up the path. Kyoshi was expecting someone with sight, and this way he might be able to explain.
Toph's head hung low, and as Sokka neared the door, he could hear the lock jiggling. Toph must have already knocked, because it swung wide open just as he got there.
"You are... really late, Toph," Kyoshi said, her voice laced so thick with disappointment, even Sokka felt upset at himself. It wasn't even directed at him. "Sokka." She gave a small nod of acknowledgment, and Sokka raised his hand in greeting.
"Hey." He couldn't help it that his voice cracked. It was a natural teenage-boy thing, wasn't it? By the gods, Kyoshi was scary. Toph just pushed her way past the guardian and into the house. Sokka was wondering whether he had to stay or not. A cough from Kyoshi prevented him from leaving, though.
"Come inside, Sokka."
Not really in any position to refuse (well, that was the reason he told himself, at least), Sokka followed her dutifully into the house. He had never been inside before, and couldn't help the passing thought that there should be human skulls and a satanic shrine in the corner before he shook himself. Just because Kyoshi was tall, and exuded an aura of power and could make grown men cower in fear from one look, didn't mean she was evil. He chuckled to himself, swiftly turning it into a coughing fit when he realised just how much it echoed. There was a shuffling from down the hall, and Sokka watched as Toph completely ignored him upon returning to the living room, only passing through on her way outside. Kyoshi stopped, watching her.
The blind girl turned her gaze towards Kyoshi, letting it drop after only a few tense seconds. Kyoshi didn't say anything else, and Toph quietly slipped outside. Sokka moved towards the door, but another noise from the carer stopped him. She turned around and walked towards another room, Sokka trailing dutifully behind. He had only just realised she had led him to a kitchen when she pushed him roughly into a seat and slammed a teacup in front of him.
"What is going on?" she asked, voice disarmingly calm as she took a sip from her own cup.
"Uh.... I'm fine....?"
Kyoshi snorted. "Not about you. Toph. What's going on? With her, with you? She's late, and after last week, I don't know if I should let her out again!"
Kyoshi's voice had risen slightly, not quite loud enough to reach Toph, but still loud enough to force Sokka to take a gulp of his own saliva and look away.
"I don't know. You think she talks to me about anything?"
Kyoshi's eyes fixed on him, and even if he had several languages and a thesaurus, there was no way Sokka would ever be able to explain the feeling in his chest as she levelled her gaze at him.
"Yes, I do."
He took a sip of the now-tepid tea and looked away. "Well, I don't. I don't know what happened last week... we got out of the movie, and suddenly she was in a bad mood. I dunno. Maybe she doesn't like Ty Lee of something, it happened when she came up to us."
"Why would Ty Lee approach you?" Kyoshi asked, frowning. Sokka shrugged.
"Well, Suki was there, and we haven't gone out for a while coz we've both been busy, and I've had no money, so we stopped to have a chat. They were there together, and Suki saw us after our movie finished."
"Wait—you're dating Suki Matsuda?" Sokka nodded. "Ahh, I didn't know that..."
"Mmm, well, yeah. Toph got really upset when Ty Lee joined us, which was weird... and we were late because she fell asleep, and then Suki left because she said there was an early morning training thing tomorrow, and there was just a bit of confusion."
"You mean today," Kyoshi remarked wryly.
"Oh. Yeah, today..." Sokka took another sip, trying not to grimace at the cold liquid. The silence was palpable, and Kyoshi didn't seem inclined to continue conversation as she finished her own tea. It was only after she rinsed the cups in the sink that she turned to Sokka.
"It's late. I think it's time for you to go home, Sokka," she told him, her voice firm. He bit his lip, torn between complying and going out to see Toph. Eventually, the former won out, but he still couldn't leave it as it was.
"Is she still allowed to come next week?" he asked as they reached the door. Kyoshi's eyebrows crinkled, and the way she looked at him—as though she were looking into him—sent chills down Sokka's spine. He wondered if she found what she was looking for in his eyes.
"I'll think about it," she told him, and Sokka knew that was all he could hope for.
Without a word, he walked back to his car.
Kyoshi stood behind the door, the seconds stretching out into minutes. She pondered briefly on how incredibly stupid Sokka, and boys in general, could be, however she was also fairly quick to concede that it likely wasn't his fault, either. After all, if she hadn't seen it herself, Kyoshi wouldn't have believed Toph to be capable of loving someone.
As horrid as it sounded, the girl was a complete basket case. It was one of the reasons Kyoshi had agreed to take care of her in the first place; the woman's very presence inspired fear and respect, and while Toph had fought tooth and nail against such a thing, the two had a mutual (if grudging, on Toph's part) understanding. Kyoshi wouldn't force her to do—or not do—anything she didn't want to, however Toph also had to respect Kyoshi, and her decisions. There were just some things that Kyoshi, as an adult, did have to get Toph to do, not because she wanted to, but because she had to. It wasn't quite so difficult after Kyoshi had proved she deserved the respect, but the woman also wondered whether anyone ever respected Toph. She wondered if the blind girl respected herself.
Moving away from the front door, Kyoshi walked over to the glass sliding one that led to the back porch. Sliding it open, she was already prepared to march over and take the cigarette from her lips and stand on it-
-only, Toph wasn't smoking. This revelation alone was enough to give Kyoshi pause, and she watched as Toph twisted the stick around in her little fingers.
The pause also gave Kyoshi time to take in the surroundings, and by the light filtering in from the kitchen and living areas, she could make out the mangled corpses of at least a dozen other rollies. Kyoshi sat next to Toph on the lounge, waiting for the other girl to speak. It wasn't her turn to talk.
"Okay, listen up everyone!" Jet's voice echoed around the clearing, forcing everyone to shut up until only the crickets and crackle of the campfire was heard. He waited a few seconds more until he knew he had everyone's complete attention, before pointing to Toph, She was standing back a ways, her head low. "This is Toph. No one—no one—is to touch her, okay?"
There were low murmurs of confusion that changed to mumbles of assent before people moved on to continue their own conversations. Toph moved forward to Jet, allowing him to wrap an arm over her shoulders.
"Sorry about that, but these guys..." he trailed off. "You'll be safe now. No one would dare disobey me. This was more to just... deter them." Toph nodded, accepting the cigarette he placed at her lips. She wasn't really sure how to say no, and she wasn't sure why she should. "Anyway, most of them have girls on the side." He flicked the lighter on, letting Toph take a heavy drag before taking it and having one himself. She coughed a little, although it didn't take long to recover. Jet plucked it from her lips, and amidst the sound of him taking a drag, she could discern that of a liquid in a bottle. Of course he would have some stuff for himself. Toph wasn't quite sure yet how she felt about the cigarettes and the liquor.
She could feel Jet leading her somewhere, but didn't protest as she stole the cigarette back, already feeling the crowd thinning out. They weaved through a patch of trees, leaving the sounds of the party behind as they pushed forward. Toph wished she had a cane. It was equal parts pleasant and not to have to rely on Jet, especially because she didn't have any idea where they were, or where they were going.
It all came back to her when she tripped over a tree root. This time, someone was there to catch her.
"What the fuck, Jet?" she hissed. "Did you bring me back to where-" She couldn't keep going, but Jet knew what she was going to say.
"It's always better to face your demons," he said, "And you have a lot."
Wrenching away, Toph twisted to face Jet with bared teeth; her furious expression had cowed weaker men, but the one standing in front of her still wasn't afraid. "What?! Don't you dare try and get into my head, you good-for-nothing little c-"
"Woah, woah, easy there," he soothed placatingly, although he was glad she couldn't see the smirk on his face. "I only meant-"
"Oh, I know what you meant," she seethed. "But I'm not the one living in a garden, pretending like I'm oh-so-strong, pretending like I can help people. Tell me, does drinking away your problems help?"
"Why don't you find out?" he retorted, moving his face mere millimetres from hers. Toph inhaled a shuddering breath, tasting the cigarette and liquor he exhaled. "After all, you have so many. It's gotta cure at least one of them." She felt the bottle slide into her hand as Jet moved back far enough for her to take a swig. Toph gave herself an imaginary pat on the back when she managed to not cough it all back up. Thrusting the bottle into Jet's chest, she turned away with a sneer.
Jet nodded, grinning. He hadn't expected her to be such a little spitfire, but he certainly wasn't complaining. "Good girl," he praised, taking his own gulp and ignoring the glare she sent his way.
"I'm not a little girl," she muttered, setting her jaw so tight Jet wondered whether or not it would shatter. He gave a smile from the corner of his mouth before suddenly grabbing her hand and wrenching her back towards him. Toph gasped in surprise as her back came into contact with his chest, and his hands trailed down her stomach and around her hips.
"If I asked you to prove it, would you?" he questioned, moving his hands and gently squeezing her butt. Toph's entire face slackened for a moment before it tightened into one of complete fury.
"You fucking prick!"
Toph whipped around and lunged for him, striking wildly with her small fists. Jet didn't offer any resistance as she pushed him over and he landed heavily on the ground. She punched him in the chest while she straddled his stomach; Toph had no idea whether she was hurting him or not, but at that moment, all she could think of was her hands making contact, one after the other. She felt her eyes well up, but she didn't notice the water fall from beneath long lashes until it was too late to stop it.
"You asshole," she cried hoarsely. There was a lull in the blows as a low sob shook her; a tiny second off that Jet took advantage of.
Rising slightly from the ground, his lips lingered over hers just long enough to shake her from the violent rampage and instead start kissing him back.
"Toph's kisses were as rough as her punches, her short, almost non-existent nails marking red lines across his cheek as she tried desperately not to be left behind. He felt a sting where her tears seeped into the broken skin, the pleasurable pain forcing a low moan from him as he thrust his hips up. "You're still a fucking c-"
She was cut off as he swallowed her lips in his, biting down hard enough to force a small whimper from her. "Language, language, Toph," he admonished, suddenly realising he had two very good hands to put to use.
Toph gasped as he slid his hands under her shirt, the cold fingers roaming across her hot stomach and up to her chest. "Mmmm, definitely not a little girl," he whispered lasciviously. Looking up at Toph, the blind girl had her eyes shut as he moved his hands underneath her bra, but he could still see the water leaking from behind the closed lids. She threw her head back, and Jet wasted absolutely no time in latching onto the exposed flesh with his lips. This time, the sound she made was on par with a moan, and he couldn't help the smirk that appeared on his face.
She didn't protest as he lifted her shirt up, instead leaning forward and nipping at his face with a subdued kind of enthusiasm. He moved his hands around her sides to unlatch the last piece of clothing covering her, but with a gasp she grabbed his hands and forced them back to her front again.
"N-no," she murmured breathlessly, but it was impossible for him to tell whether or not it was arousal or surprise. He wanted to ask what he couldn't touch, but as she dragged his hand underneath her bra, he knew it wasn't that.
With a silent sob, Toph reached around, and let the piece of material fall.
"I've, um... I've been seeing someone. With someone—I've been with someone." Toph shook herself slightly as she let the cigarette roll around the palm of her hand. She kept her head lowered, the small conversation she was making the only acknowledgment of Kyoshi's presence. There was silence from the carer, and Toph took it as an indication to continue. "Sleeping with- with them..."
There was a low creak from the seat next to her as Kyoshi moved slightly. Toph bit her lip, waiting for a response. Finally, there was a low, almost resigned, sigh.
"I know; I guessed. Is it Jet?" Kyoshi watched as Toph moved her tongue around her mouth, eyes cast down.
Kyoshi shut her eyes and gave a small nod. "How long?"
The night air was completely still, surrounding the two with a small layer of warmth. Kyoshi could see the clouds moving by the light of the moon, but the wind didn't reach them. Even the crickets and cicadas had stopped singing.
"Almost two years..."
"Shit, Toph." Kyoshi breathed the words, and Toph nodded slowly. "Did you use protection?"
This time, a shake came from Toph, and Kyoshi sucked in a sharp breath. "Not all the time," the blind girl mumbled. "He didn't always have- and I mean, I'm not... He pulled out though, I think..."
Another nod. "I wasn't- wasn't always fully... aware of what was happening..."
There was another moment of silence as Kyoshi digested the new information. When she spoke, her voice was low but calm—something the blind girl appreciated a lot, even if she didn't show it. "Why are you telling me?"
Toph shrugged, closing her fist on the cigarette before flinging the broken object to the floor. "I don't know. I don't... I don't want to be that person..." she said quietly. "Katara talked with me tonight. I didn't like what she told me—how can anyone else?"
There was a low creak, and suddenly Toph felt Kyoshi's arm around her shoulders. It was this soft, unhurried gesture that Toph had never associated with Kyoshi that forced a sad sigh from her lips; she leaned against the tall woman as she felt her insides crumble, only to be expressed by the tears that began to fall.
Kyoshi sat there in silence, and waited.
"Thanks for bringing me back, Jet..." The words were sincere, however Toph couldn't fully muster up the energy to appear honest in her expression. Jet didn't care, mostly because he couldn't blame her.
It was the early hours of the morning; the traffic was limited, and the sun's rays hadn't quite warmed up the air, lending it a slightly chilly breeze that tousled Toph's hair. She was leaning with her back against his stomach and her head on his chest. Jet's arms hung over her shoulders, resting lightly on her breasts. They were standing outside a large, red-brick house. Jet could hear the sound of a baby crying from somewhere within, and cringed.
"You don't have to go back, you know," he told her. "You think they actually care whether you come back or not? Stay with me. I can make you happy."
She sighed, leaning back a little further against him. Toph couldn't deny how warm his body was, or how much he obviously liked her. The way his hands hovered over her breasts brought back the muddled memories of the previous night; shaking, twisting, moaning, the cold seeping into her skin only to be kissed away as Jet moved his mouth all over her. The pain that came from deep inside, and the breath of relief as he gave her so many other feelings to focus on. And then when they lay, spent and panting on the cool earth, where he would still move his lips around her face, comforting her.
"I can't..." she murmured, and he spun her around to swallow her lips in his. After a few seconds, she pushed him away; he let her go, but not without a slow bite to her bottom lip.
"Are you sure, Toph?"
She nodded, leaning her head heavily on his chest. "Yeah..."
Jet stood silently, waiting for her to elaborate, but Toph found she couldn't. Her head hurt, perhaps more so than her stomach, in which a rather unpleasant throbbing had settled. She needed time to be by herself and think.
"I'll come back," she said, her words slightly muffle through his shirt. "To our park, I'll meet you there again..."
"I'll be waiting," he told her, and with another forceful kiss he left. It took Toph a few seconds to gather herself.
That night, and many nights after that, she went to the little park, only to return to her home the next day. No one said a word; no one noticed. One year, four months and eighteen days after her first night with Jet, she met someone else at her park—their park.
"Who're you, and why are you here?" she demanded. She needed to be with Jet. She needed one stable thing in her life, which had just been uprooted once again. She needed a cigarette and some whiskey, and she needed him in her; she needed his kisses and groans because he always gave them. This other person was going to screw everything up!
"It's late," the other person said, not answering her question. "Why are you here?"
"I'm waiting for someone," she said, not expecting to hear the small laugh from the other person.
"Hey, same here! My name's Sokka; wanna wait together?"
|Part One: Genesis|
Shiny • Love, Actually • Comptine D'un Autre Été • Public Enemies • Män Som Hatar Kvinnor • The Sleepover Club • Blind Date • 50 First Dates • Sin City • The Matrix • Non, je ne regrette rien • The Breakfast Club • Crouching Tiger • Hidden Dragon • The Wedding Singer • Shí Miàn Mái Fú • Dangerous Liaisons
|Part Two: Fall|
|Love for Life • Tiny Furniture • The Broken Circle Breakdown|
Toph • Sokka • Katara • Jet • Aang • Kyoshi
Serenity • Love Actually • Ámelie • The Wedding Singer • House of Flying Daggers
For the collective works of the author, go here.