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|Toph's Decision: Friends or Family?|
March 16, 2011
This is the ninth chapter in my fanonand it's a long one. The reasons are stated at the end of the chapter. I decided to divide this chapter into sections because it's so long. Enjoy!
Previously on Around the World (Again)...
Dear Toph, after reading your letter, we realized how badly we were treating you. We were keeping you secret from the world for no reason. We were the worst parents ever and we would like a second chance. We want a fresh start Toph. Please, send us another letter and you can come home if you want. Its your choice, Toph. Whether you come home or not, we will still love you.
-Lao and Poppy Bei Fong (Dad and Mom)
Toph was just like Katara; she was thinking. She held onto Appa's saddle and thought about her parents. They were heading to Gaoling next. What would she choose? Should she stay with gang or should she go home? Toph's head started to hurt as she thought about the subject. She couldn't decide. She loved her parents and was happy that they accepted her as who she was but she loved traveling with gang. They were her only friends and she loved to have adventures. She pushed the thought aside, for now.
Toph finally confronts her parents, but what will her answer be? Will she stay with the gang or go home?
Toph's Decision: Friends or Family
Arriving at Gaoling
The Bei Fong Estate was in view. Appa had landed in the Gaoling Marketplace so Aang could get the gang some food. While Aang searched for food, the others waited on Appa's saddle. No one spoke or even moved. They were all thinking about what had happened the previous day. As they stared up at the dawning sky, they thought about the attack with the Dai Li agents, Hama, and Long Feng. But they were mostly thinking about a member from their team; a member who was no longer with them because he got captured in the surprise attack. It was the Fire Lord, Zuko. No one was in the mood to talk and they were all tired. None of them had slept well; they were thinking about what they would do about Zuko and what the villains were doing to him now. The sun began to rise and Aang returned with several types of food including fruit. After giving five melons to Appa (one for each of his stomachs) and one for Momo, he climbed onto Appa's head and passed the food to the nearest person. Katara took some food and passed it on without saying a word. Toph was the last person to receive food. They all ate silently. Katara finally broke the silence by saying,
"Silence isn't going to bring Zuko back to us. We have to talk to one another in order to make a plan to get him back." Since they all stayed silent, Katara continued. "After Toph visits her parents..." Toph jumped a little. She had forgotten all about her parents. "We're going back to Ba Sing Se to bring Zuko back!" She waited for someone to say something, but they still stayed there; not moving and not talking. Katara gave up for it was pointless; they were all hopeless.......for now. Toph's mind began to race.
My parents. What am I going to do? What am I going to chose? My parents or the gang? I can't choose. While my parents were hiding me from the world, they are my parents and they were doing it to protect me. But the team has been so nice to me. They treat me like we're family. They all care about me, probably more than my parents did when they didn't know who I was; when I was fighting in Earth Rumble VI, secretly, as the Blind Bandit. But I have to choose.
She sat there thinking about what she was going to do. After a while she finally had the answer.
I'm going to stay with the gang. I'm still going to visit my parents, but I need the gang as much as they need me. I think I should ask Aang or Katara if we can still visit my old home.
But before she even got the chance, another voice spoke, a familiar voice. It came from the center of the marketplace. It was talking loudly so that everyone could hear it.
"Earth Rumble VI Tonight!! Tonight is Earth Rumble VI! Come see Earthbenders fight for the title, Earthbending Champion and The Earth Rumble Belt!" Xin Fu, the host of Earth Rumble VI, was the one talking. "Come to Earth Rumble VI tonight, and get there early to save a good seat! EARTH RUMBLE VI TONIGHT!" The voice died away and it was quiet. Then the same voice came again; this time, it came from next to Appa.
"It's the Avatar and his friends! Welcome back to Gaoling!" Judging by the confused faces that the gang had, Xin Fu continued, "You may be wondering how I got out of the metal cage and back to Gaoling. Well, here's the story; It was about three days after Yu and I got imprisoned by her." He pointed at Toph, but he wasn't angry at all. In fact, he seemed very happy. "A group of Earthbenders came by and saw the cage there with no one around. It took them some time to open it, they said, but they finally manged to make a small hole for us to crawl through. Yu and I made our way back to Gaoling and we continued life as it was before. Except that I have decided abandon the ways of evil and I'm now on the good side, just like all the other Earthbenders." The gang exchanged looks, thinking about Long Feng and The Dai Li. "Do you want to come and see Earth Rumble VI? Come on, 'Blind Bandit', just like the old days." Toph wasn't really paying attention, but she heard everything Xin Fu said. She sat there, still thinking about her parents and what they would say when she told them that she was going to stay with the gang. Katara looked at Toph, wondering why she didn't say anything. Xin Fu was still looking at her. He waited for an answer. Sokka tapped Toph on her shoulder and she answered,
"Sure. We can go, right guys?" Following her question was overlapping answers:
"Yeah, let's go!"
"I don't know about this."
"I'm with Katara."
"It can't hurt to go."
"Yes, it can. We almost got killed, thanks to this guy." Katara pointed at Xin Fu. "Remember Aang? You got trapped in a metal cage and -"
"But if we hadn't gone, we wouldn't have found Toph and -" Aang started, but was interrupted.
"And the world would have been ruled by the Fire Nation and we'd all be dead!" Sokka said, overacting.
Ignoring that, Aang continued,
"Come on guys. It won't hurt and since this is Toph's hometown and she has to make a big decision today, we should do what she says." This time they all agreed.
In Earth Rumble VI
They gave Xin Fu a ride to Earth Rumble VI and they went to grab seats close to the arena. Sokka, like before, was crazy about the fighters and was anxious to get a new favorite fighter, since The Boulder left a year ago. Sokka was, however, certain that it wouldn't be Fire Nation Man.
Xin Fu appeared out of the arena's ground. He said exactly what he said last time,
"Welcome to Earth Rumble VI! I am your host, Xin Fu!" Everyone started to clap. Xin Fu continued to talk while Katara asked Toph,
"Why did you want to come here Toph?"
"Just like Xin Fu said, I wanted to remember the old days when I was The Blind Bandit. Seeing this place – well feeling this place makes me think about my old life here; when I had to hide all of this," She held both hands up, "from my parents." Katara understood and didn't say anything for a while. Back in the arena, Xin Fu was announcing the two fighters for the first round,
"The Gecko vs. The Gopher!" Fights went by with cheering from the crowd especially from Sokka who found a new favorite fighter ("The Gopher! GO GOPHER!!"). People also booed when a specific fighter walked onto the arena ("GO BACK TO THE FIRE NATION!!"). Though most Earth Rumble VI's would take place at night, this one didn't; it was noon when it started. The time came for the last fight of the day. Then the gang would be off to the Bei Fong Estate where Toph would confront her parents.
The lights dimmed and Xin Fu started talking,
"Now, it's time for the final fight. The Gopher vs. Wild M-. What!?" He was talking to a girl. She was holding a card in her hand. "Are you serious!? It was originally going to be The Gopher vs. Wild Man but since Wild Man got too injured in the last round, he asked for a substitute on his way out. He first asked for The Gecko, but someone offered to take his place; someone who changed both Wild Man and The Gecko's mind. The Gopher Vs your original champion, THE BLIND BANDIT!!" Aang, Katara, Sokka, Suki, and Mai were all shocked. They all looked to Katara's right, where Toph was seated when they entered and she wasn't there.
"Kata-" They started but they froze the second they heard Xin Fu say,
"FIGHT!" The fight lasted for one minute (at the most) and the winner was obvious,
"The Blind Bandit wins once again!! She is the champion! See you all next time." Xin Fu Earthbended himself back into the ground. Toph made her way through the sea of people to the gang who were all waiting for her.
"Why did you leave without telling us?" Katara asked.
"I'm sorry. I just wanted to fight in Earth Rumble VI, like last time. I really missed this place and-"
"But, you could have told us something! We were all shocked when we hea-"
"STOP IT KATARA! I'M NOT A BABY! DO WE HAVE TO GO OVER THIS AGAIN!?" Toph stormed out and left for the marketplace. The others stood there in silence. Finally, they decided to go outside and follow Toph.
Walking Through The Marketplace
It didn't take them long to find Toph. She was waiting right outside the first store in the marketplace, her arms were crossed and she had an angry expression on her face.
"Maybe I should talk to her. She seems to be angry at you Katara. Just give her time to cool off." Aang said after he stopped Katara from running to Toph. Katara nodded and then said,
"We need to get more supplies. We can stop for them on our way the Estate. You go talk to Toph while we go get Appa and Momo. Then we'll all walk to the Bei Fong Estate. Okay?" Aang nodded and walked over to Toph while the others headed to Appa who was left outside of the underground arena.
"Toph, we need to talk. Toph turned her head away from Aang, but he knew that she was still listening, so he continued. "I know you're angry at Katara for telling you that you should have told us that you left to fight in the arena, but she did it because she cares about you." He paused for a moment. "We all care about you, Toph. You're part of Team Avatar. You're part of our family." Aang waited for Toph to say something, but she didn't. Katara and the others then appeared, with Appa and Momo.
"C'mon Toph. Lets walk to your house, okay?" Aang asked.
"Okay." Toph said in a low voice. Aang and Toph began to walk with the rest of the gang behind.
"Look, it's the new boomerang sharpener. I have to get it!"
"Sokka no. Wait! Come back here!" Aang heard in the background. Sokka was happy to be in Gaoling, but Toph, for some reason, seemed confused.
"Hang on, Toph. I have to tell the others something. Wait here, please." And with that, Aang walked to the others, leaving Toph there. She heard something near her. It was two voices, coming from a store nearby. Toph couldn't help hearing.
"No, Lao and Poppy will just come here. You don't have to bring food to them."
"What? But they always want their food delivered to them. Why do they want to visit the marketplace? Have they forgotten that they're the richest people in the Earth Kingdom?"
"I don't think so. They've had a change of attitude for a while now. They're a lot nicer and caring than before. They actually donated some money to the poor. How amazing! They even told the whole town that they had a daughter. They kept her a secret to protect her. They also revealed that their daughter was The Blind Bandit!"
"The Blind Bandit!? Are you serious!?"
"Yeah. Word has it that The Blind Bandit showed up in Earth Rumble VI earlier today."
"Did she win?"
"Of course. She is, after all, The Blind Bandit. Lao and Poppy will be surprised once they hear that their daughter is back in town.
"What do you mean back in town?"
"Apparently she got kidnapped by the Avatar, but Lao and Poppy got a message from The Blind Bandit a while ago, saying that she decided to go with the Avatar to teach him Earthbending. Lao and Poppy were so sad that they ever decided to send two men after her. The good news is that the two men they sent are now back in town and their daughter wasn't hurt at all. She even helped end the war!"
"Wow, I've been missing a lot!"
"Yeah, wait. Weren't you out of town for a year?"
"Yep, I had something to do, but then I returned. Remember when I applied for the job. You were all like 'I have no jobs available. I'm so sorr- Wait. Hang on, I do have one job available for you. You can deliver food to the Bei Fong Family.' What am I supposed to do for money now?" Toph stopped listening. Her parents changed. They really changed. They were nicer and more caring.
My parents are so caring. They really care about me and the people here. I can't believe it. I-
Toph's thoughts were interrupted by the two men talking. However, they were talking about Toph's parents again.
"I heard that if their daughter Toph, that's her real name, returns to them, they'll be nicer to her. Lao decided that they would send her to a real school. There she would be able to make friends. She would have a lot of freedom and they will even let her continue in Earth Rumble VI! Talk about dedicated parents." Toph continued to think.
Really. They're going to be sending me to a real school to make new friends. And they're letting my continue in Earth Rumble VI! AND I'm going to have more freedom. They really care about me. They love me! But wait, what about the gang? I can't leave them. They're my family too and I want to stay with them. But do I want to stay with them more than I want to stay with my parents!?
Toph couldn't push this thought aside because they were headed to the Bei Fong Estate next. Before Toph could continue thinking, Aang reappeared.
"Sorry to keep you waiting for so long. We were all talking about a plan to get Zuko back and-." He stopped. "The truth is, we were talking about you Toph. We were talking your choice. You have to choose between us and you're parents and that's really hard. But just know that whatever you choose, you will always be part of our family." Toph couldn't hold it in any longer. She began to cry. Tears fell from her eyes and she ran to hug Aang. Toph had never acted like this but she couldn't decide. She just couldn't pick.
Why am I acting this way? I've never cried like this before and I can't hold the tears back. It's just too much. I can't pick. Both sides love me so much. I CAN'T CHOOSE!
Aang understood why Toph was crying and continued to hug her. He finally said to her,
"Toph, it's okay. I'm sorry that you can't choose but you'll have to. The good news is that your home is far away. You have time to think. Come on let's walk and we can talk on the way." Toph stopped hugging Aang and walked by his side. The others were watching from behind.
"Poor Toph. She's so confused and it's all my fault."
"Wait, I don't get why it's your fault Katara." Sokka said.
"Sokka, I sort of yelled at her and that made her angry and now she doesn't know what to pick. I've acted so mean to her and she probably wants to go with her parents now, but there's something telling me that she still wants to stay with us." Sokka, with a confused face, kept walking quietly. "I just can't decide Aang. I'm so confused. I need help." Toph said after she told Aang what she heard about her parents and her difficult decision.
"I can't help you Toph. I'm sorry. This is your choice. I can't decide for you. No matter what you choose, we won't be angry and I know you're parents won't be either."
"I know that, but-"
"There it is! Finally!" Sokka shouted from behind. He ran past Aang and Toph, his muttering turning into a yell.
"Food. Food! FOOD!."
The Bei Fong Estate
"Welcome Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph. And who might these two young ladies be?" Lao Bei Fong said once the gang reached the estate and were seated for dinner. The table was set and the food was already there.
"This is Suki and this is Mai," Aang said pointing to Suki, then to Mai.
"It's such an honor to meet you all," Poppy Bei Fong said.
Then Lao said, "Well, what are you all waiting for? Dig in!" And with that Sokka grabbed the nearest piece of meat and began chomping on it. Everyone else then grabbed what they wanted and ate in a respectful way.
After everyone finished eating, they all went to the living room and sat down on the wooden chairs that were placed there. There was a metal cage on a table and in that cage was Hawky. He stared at Toph as she sat down on her chair. It was time to talk about the thing that was bothering Toph for a while.
"So Toph, have you had enough time to think about your decision?" Lao asked. This was Toph's way out. She can say no and then she wouldn't have to choose.
"Yes, I'm ready." What!? Toph said the wrong thing. She wanted to say 'No, I'm not ready.' How could she mess up. "Wait da-"
"Well then Toph. What's your choice?" Lao said. Toph turned to where his voice came from. She wanted to say that she wasn't ready, but she couldn't speak. "What do you pick, honey? Us or them? "
Then everyone started to speak.
"Toph are you okay?"
"She's so confused."
"Give her sometime to think."
"Friends or family?"
"STOP! Please. I-" She couldn't believe what she was about to say. She took a deep breath and said, "I know what to pick. I pick-" She gulped. Everyone, even Hawky stared at her. Finally, Toph gave everyone her answer, "I pick my family. Mom an-and Dad."
Everyone was shocked even Lao and Poppy. The gang stared at Toph, eyes wide and mouth open.
Toph then ran away into the hall, tears pouring down her face.
No one spoke for a while until, "Let's g-go, guys," Aang quietly said. He couldn't believe what had just happened. "Toph chose what she wanted and we should be happy for her." He tried to put a smile on his face, but failed miserably. "Come on, guys."
"But, wait Aang. Can't we at least say goodbye to her."
"I- I'm sorry Katara, but I don't think she wants to see us anymore," said Aang. Why was he saying this? He wanted to say goodbye to Toph, but, for some reason, he couldn't, so he just said, "C'mon."
They thanked Lao and Poppy for the meal, told them to tell Toph that they said goodbye, and then left for Appa.
"Wow, so she didn't want us anymore. She doesn't like us anymore," Aang said.
"I think she was just confused. She needed more time to think," Katara said. Everyone hopped onto Appa.
As he grabbed Appa's rope, Aang said, "We've lost Zuko and now Toph's gone. Our team's falling apart."
"But we'll find Zuko, Aang. Don't worry." Sokka said.
"This trip was a terrible idea. W-" Aang started, but was interrupted by Mai,
"We needed to take this journey. We all need to see who we want to see. Toph needed to see her parents and she had to make her decision. We'll get Zuko back. We have to finish this trip, Aang."
"Okay..... let's go to the Northern Water Tribe next. Hopefully we won't lose anyone else. Yip Yip," Aang sadly said.
Appa kicked into the air and flew to the North Pole. Two members were now gone; Zuko and Toph. How long would it be before the whole group split up?
The reason why this chapter is so long (long in my fanon that is. Most chapters in other fanons are around this length) is because I wanted to show Toph's struggle with her decision. All of the details added in the story made Toph's decision so much harder. And she eventually chose her parents. Like Zuko getting captured, I planned Toph choosing her parents early on in the production of the fanon. It was to give the plot another twist in addition to Zuko getting kidnapped and showing that the gang was falling apart. I really love how this chapter came out and it's my favorite so far!
When Toph says, "Sure. We can go, right guys?" the whole team then answers in an overlapping discussion. There are five responses to Toph's question and each one is said by a member of the team and every answer is part of the character's personality. Can you guess which answer belongs to which character?
Here's the list:
"Yeah, let's go!"
"I don't know about this."
"I'm with Katara."
"It can't hurt to go."
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Around the World (Again) Chapters|
|Prologue - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Epilogue|