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|More from Fruipit||Romance||PG-13||None||No update page|
|Love for Life|
12th April, 2014
'Til Death Do Us Part
With her head pressed into Sokka's chest, all Suki could smell was the perspiration that clung to the both of them. His chest rose up and down in slow motions, so different to her own; she felt like her lungs were at half capacity.
Pressing her face further into him, her thoughts naturally wandered back to what they had just done. Yes, she liked it when he was a little hard; a little rough. But that was just... he had never been like that before. The way he had all but pounced on her made little shudders run up her spine. Her ending had be fantastic; she felt like she had exploded from the inside out, in all honesty. But Sokka? He had ended up just... giving up, unable to reach his own satisfaction.
"What's wrong?" she asked him, lifting her head to look at him. Sokka avoided her eye as he replied with a grunt.
Suki turned away, biting her lip. He was lying, she knew it, but she wanted him to just talk to her. Why did they never just talk nowadays?
Sokka watched from the corner of his eye as, with a small hff, Suki moved from her bed, going to her wardrobe and pulling on a nightshirt and some underwear. She didn't say anything as finally she went to scrub her make-up off. Gingerly, Sokka picked up his pants and slipped them on. He came to Suki to work off some tension–to feel better. So why did he feel worse? Reaching into his pocket and picking up his phone, he barely capable of the surprise he knew he should feel when he glanced at the time.
Nine-thirty. He had lasted all of twenty minutes before he decided there was just no point. Suki seemed satisfied, at least, so there was that. But not once had he ever failed himself like this. He should have just sorted himself out, at least then the shame would be justified. There was a guilty burble in his gut as he realised that, even if he had fixed it himself, it wouldn't have been images of Suki that flashed through his head.
God, what kind of guy was he?
He was cut from his musings (thank God) when the phone began buzzing. Katara's caller ID flashed on the screen, and he spent a moment just looking at the name. As much as he didn't want to talk to her, at least it meant she and Aang weren't doing what he just did with Suki. Putting his hand over his eyes, he answered the phone with a resigned sigh.
"Sokka!" It wasn't Katara's, but Aang's surprised voice burst through the phone, jolting him slightly. "Where are you? I need you to get down to the hospital, now!"
A chill fell over Sokka's body, and all the breath escaped his lungs.
"Aang? Wha- is Katara okay?" There was a quiver in his voice that he couldn't control.
"Kat- Katara's fine. Well, no, she's not, but she's not who you need to be worried about now."
"Who-?" Sokka's heart sunk and cracked. There was a lump in his throat that he couldn't get past, and he hadn't even noticed Suki return.
"Toph. Please hurry..."
His hand slid away from his face as he stared straight ahead. Suki stood in front of him, reaching out, but as soon as her hand met his, he jerked away, springing from his seat.
"I have to go," he said, picking up the rest of his clothes and putting them on. He didn't look at Suki; he didn't want to see the look on her face.
"Was that Toph?" she asked, unable to keep all of the bitterness from her voice. Perhaps it was lucky that he didn't hear the tone; only the words.
"I have to go," he repeated. "I'll call you tomorrow." With that, he turned and left. He didn't stop and wait for Suki's sniffles. He didn't turn around when he heard them.
Katara wondered when the tears would come. They fell earlier, she remembered, but now her eyes seemed to have dried up. She didn't want to leave in case any doctors came back with news about the blind girl she had come to regard as a sister; she was immensely grateful when Aang offered to call Sokka. Kyoshi hadn't made a noise nor a move since she arrived, instead sitting in stoney silence as she watched everyone with a sharp eye, taking in every detail to keep her mind from wandering to places she didn't want it to go.
She had been treated for shock as soon as she arrived at the hospital—she didn't have the strength to fight them off—but she couldn't get the image of Toph from her head.
Kyoshi noticed Aang return, although his presence made Katara jump slightly, thankful that he interrupted her thoughts. He slid onto the bench next to his girlfriend, handing her phone back. She looked up at him blank eyes, and Aang could see the events of the night still hadn't completely caught up with her.
Putting his arms around her shoulders, Aang pressed her into him in a tight hug.
"Shh. It's okay, Katara," he whispered. "She's going to be okay. Sokka's on his way now."
He felt her nod against his chest, and for the next ten minutes they sat there together. He stroked her hair and she gripped his hand, both finding much-needed comfort on the actions of the other.
"Kyoshi Dao? Are you Toph's family?"
The kind voice came out of nowhere for Katara and Aang, although as they jolted up they could see Kyoshi already on her feet and desperate for news.
"Yes? That's us."
The doctor was a young woman, perhaps twenty-five. She looked between the three of them with kind eyes, assessing each person and how they were likely to react. Katara had her hands clasped with Aang's and was looking far too pale; Aang, swallowing anxiously, being sure to make eye contact. Kyoshi looked just about ready to kill someone if they didn't hurry up.
"Hi, I'm Doctor Song. Toph is stable. She's sleeping now, but you can go and see her. She's in room 18," she said, looking at Aang and Katara. They rushed away, with a small 'thanks', and the doctor turned to Kyoshi.
"What else?" the tall woman asked, absolutely dwarfing the doctor. She looked up sadly, giving Kyoshi reason to believe that this was not the first such case the doctor had handled.
"We had to give her a blood transfusion. She had passed out by the time..." she looked down at her notes for the name. "By the time Katara found her, likely from pain. Katara saved her life."
Kyoshi moved a few steps back, collapsing on the chair she had just vacated. "Is she going to be okay?" she asked softly. The doctor heaved a small sigh.
"We don't know how permanent the damage will be. The median nerves in both wrists were cut, her left worse than her right. They've been stitched back together, but it's impossible to know the extent of the damage until she wakes up."
Kyoshi nodded, understanding. Song sat down next to her, putting the clipboard to the side.
"We've had to put her on watch as a precaution, and psychiatric examinations will be necessary before we can release her," she continued. Kyoshi nodded again, not looking at the doctor. "I'm sorry."
The tall women did look up at this, her face drawn with a heavy frown. "She's going to be okay," she said confidently. "No... She has had... issues before, but she was getting better," She thought back to the class, and of Sokka's unexpected visit. "She can do it again."
Aang and Katara had paused just inside Toph's room as though fearful of stepping too close. There was a nurse, bumbling about with tubes and machines, but she moved around a bit as soon as the younger couple stepped through the door so they could see their friend. She was an old lady, a face full of rolls and dimples, but she had a kind smile and soft eyes.
Next to him, Aang could feel Katara trembling—a violent shiver that would be better suited to an ice-rink than a hospital—and he shepherded her forward to stand next to Toph's bed.
"I'm going to grab some chairs," he said, kissing her cheek. Katara gave a small nod, but otherwise made no movement. The nurse was still clattering around the bed, and Katara wondered how Toph would react to such attention if she were awake.
"You're the one who found her?"
The old nurse's voice surprised Katara, least of all because she wasn't expecting to be addressed in the first place. The second surprise was just how warm it sounded; like honeyed cream buns, fresh from the oven. Katara gave a little nod.
"Yeah," she admitted quietly, trying to keep her eyes focused on Toph's sleeping face, and not the thick bandages wrapped around her arms. Moving forward, she gently pushed Toph's hair. It was just as soft as she remembered it to be, those weeks ago when she brushed it. Her bottom lip trembled, and she swallowed in an attempt to hold herself together.
"I couldn't...." she began, taking a breath. "I don't understand," she admitted quietly. "Why would she do this?"
The nurse rested a hand on Katara's shoulder. "Maybe that's something you can talk about when she wakes up."
Katara looked at her, the warm smile forcing a watery one onto her own face. "Yeah," she said, turning once again to her friend. Katara didn't notice the nurse leave. The beeping of the machines lulled Katara, and she completely lost track of time; it took her a while to realise that Aang hadn't yet returned, and she bit her lip. She didn't want to leave Toph's side—what if she woke up?—but, now she realised how long he had been gone, she was desperate to find out what was keeping her boyfriend. The longer she waited for his return, though, the more nervous she became until eventually she couldn't stand it anymore.
"Aang?" Peering around the edge of the doorframe, she couldn't see her boyfriend anywhere. Checking on Toph one last time, she moved closer to where she had been sitting only a short half-hour previous. She probably should have come sooner.
"Sokka? Wh- what happened?"
Her brother was sitting on one of the chairs, holding an ice-pack to his eye and a tissue on his split lip. "Sokka!? What happened?"
"Nothing..." he said quietly. "Ran into a door." Katara looked from him to Aang, who was looking at Sokka with sad eyes, to Kyoshi, who was purposefully ignoring Sokka.
Sokka lowered the ice-pack and wet his lips. "Kyoshi, can I-" he started, but the older woman interrupted, not looking at him.
"I said 'no', Sokka," she hissed, finally turning her gaze on the boy. "She's sleeping, and I doubt she wants to see you when she wakes up." Rising suddenly, Kyoshi moved away from the scene, walking down the door to Toph's room. Katara watched her, looking back at Sokka only for a moment before she too left, leaving her brother alone with Aang.
Sokka refused to look at anyone. He had watched Kyoshi walk down the hall, but now that she had disappeared into what was presumably Toph's room, he had turned his focus on the checkered tile flooring, blinking back the rapidly-forming tears that he only just realised were there. He was a guy; guys didn't cry. Sure, they were allowed to feel like their insides were missing, and the spot where their heart should go be empty and cold, but they still didn't show it.
"She hates me," he whispered, more to himself than anyone else. He wasn't sure whether he was relieved or not when Aang turned to him, although the younger boy's words weren't particularly well-thought out.
"Kyoshi's just angry. I'm sure she doesn't hate you," he said. The frown on his face made Sokka question both the words and the fact that Aang had chosen to try and comfort him. Sokka gave a dry laugh, but it sounded foreign and unnatural. He shut his mouth after a few seconds and tried to discretely sniffle back the mucus that had begun forming in his nose.
"I didn't mean Kyoshi," he said quietly.
"Sokka..." Aang put his hand on the older boy's shoulder. "This was bound to happen sooner or later," he murmured quietly. "Toph won't hate you, because it's not your fault-"
"It is!" The sudden vehemence that laced Sokka's voice hit Aang suddenly, and he jerked away. "It is my fault..." He turned away, clenching his eyes. There was silence as Sokka tried to pull himself together, and Aang tried not to listen to the boy breaking down next to him.
"I need to see her." Sokka's voice, while still low and heavy, had a note of decisiveness that, only a few minutes earlier, Aang honestly hadn't thought he could muster. The younger boy made no attempt at halting Sokka, although he didn't have to. Even when Sokka stopped several metres away and turned around, Aang knew that he would still try and see Toph, no matter what anyone said. No matter his answer (for of course there was a question).
Sokka swallowed thickly, the fierce emotions from earlier replaced with something far more melancholic; Aang could see it, even as Sokka avoided eye contact. "You- you said this was bound to happen... w-what did she do?"
He finally looked up, meeting Aang's eyes. His own blue orbs gazed into the younger boy's grey ones, desperately seeking an answer that he wasn't even sure he wanted. Aang let out a deep sigh and looked away, unable to face him any longer.
"She slit her wrists..."
"I'm going to fucking murder your brother," Kyoshi hissed quietly; looking at Toph, Katara couldn't actually find a reason to defend Sokka. "What the fuck was he thinking?"
Each woman sat on either side of Toph. Kyoshi was stroking Toph's forehead, her back to the door—almost as though shielding as much of the short girl from the outside world as possible. The soft action completely at odds with her harsh words. Sitting down, Kyoshi wasn't much taller than Katara, and the teenager could see the redness in the adult's eyes. Almost embarrassed at witnessing such a display from the other woman, Katara averted her gaze, her eyes flitting around the room, stopping at the door when a movement caught her attention.
"Is this how he gets his kicks or something?!" Kyoshi cried, although Katara was barely listening as, through the open crack of the door, she saw her brother halt.
"He's an idiot. He wasn't thinking..." she said quietly. Sokka was looking straight at her, though for the first time she could remember, he broke the stare first.
"You're fucking right he wasn't," Kyoshi agreed darkly, eyes focussed on Toph. "How the fuck did he not realise this would happen? Is it all boys, or just him, who fail to notice when someone hasn't been eating or sleeping, or is so fucking depressed that she's been hurting herself for spirits only know how long! She doesn't- she's never been able to regulate her emotions well, and he goes and fucks with her again!" Kyoshi trailed off, biting her lip.
"Kyoshi... I didn't even know she hurt herself..." Katara protested softly. "... And I don't know why you think Sokka-"
"You suspected though, didn't you!" Kyoshi argued, interrupting her. She didn't catch the way Katara looked towards the door before averting her gaze.
"Yeah... She-she told me some things..." Katara admitted quietly. "An-and she let me hug her and help her..."
Kyoshi didn't say anything, and they fell into a thick silence. Katara looked up at her after a few moments, swallowing nervously.
"Kyoshi? H-how do you know this was Sokka?" she asked timidly.
Kyoshi exhaled heavily through her nose. "Because he came to pick up Suki. That, and Toph was only in her underwear..."
Head jerking up, Katara's wide eyes darted between child and carer. "You think Sokka and Toph...?"
"Something happened," Kyoshi said. "I don't know what, or why, but it happened..."
Katara's eyes met Sokka's for the briefest moment. His entire face had fallen, and he looked positively nauseous before he vanished, stepping away.
"She'll be okay, won't she?" Katara asked. "Kyoshi?"
Kyoshi opened her mouth, but didn't get a chance to speak as the door swung open and the young doctor who had greeted them stepped through.
"Ms. Dao? Can I speak with you a moment outside?" she asked, moving towards the door as the other woman began to stand up.
"Kyoshi? She's... she's like my little sister," Katara whispered softly. "Can-can I stay here until she wakes up?"
Both women turned to the doctor, who had a sad smile on her face.
"I think Toph will need you when she does," she said. "I think she needs to know she has friends—a sister—just like you."
Notes: Kyoshi's last name, Dao, is Chinese for 'Island' (). She is literally called 'Kyoshi Island'
|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.