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The following story is indubitably fanon and should not be considered actual canon.
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THE STEEL VIGILANTE
"Lady Beifong, the news is on; would you care for me to turn on the radio?" A servant asked.
Toph puckered her lips and snapped, using her bending to turn the metal knob of her radio on, and she snickered, "I may be an eighty-one year old, blind woman, but I can still turn on a radio just fine."
"Yes miss..." the servant bowed before leaving Toph alone to listen to the daily news updates.The announcer on the radio with his light, cheery voice announced, "Hello I am Necko Shinobi, and you are listening to the World News at Nine! First off, Republic City has never been safer as the newest head of the United Republic Council, Northern Water Tribe representative, Tarrlok, and his new task force cleans up the streets from crime---giving the esteemed Chief Lin Beifong a run for her yuans! Under his guidance, crime rates are at an all-time low, so if you folks are planning a cross-country trip to the city, now would be the time to pack up the Sato Mobile and take a vacation!"
Toph rolled her eyes and muttered, "Except for the Equalists, better not "pack up the wagon" if you're a bender, huh Shinobi?"
"---and the people of Ba Sing Se have never been better there----and now for your local news updates followed by the Pro-Bending scores of the week!" the man said happily before a more gruff voice erupted across the radio, he was the radio announcer for Gaoling... "Early this evening witnesses report that a young child was abducted in front of Master Yu's Earthbending Academy. Two men, hidden inside a blue Sato-Mobile, were said to have been driving east before vanishing somewhere in the city. The whereabouts of the kidnapped victim remain unknown, but if you have any information on this heinous crime call the Gaoling Police Department; the parents are offering a large cash reward and are willing to pay ransom for their stolen daughter. In other news---"
Toph snapped and shut off the radio before pounding her fist into the side of her chair, gazing out the window with a scowl as though she could sense every crack and rock in all of Gaoling.
"They're not ever going to catch us," the kidnapper tittered... "And as soon as we get far enough out of this town, we'll give your mommy and daddy a little call and collect the dough."
"You're our ticket to luxury little brat."
The young girl gasped and shut her eyes tightly as the getaway truck hit another bump in the road.
"Hey Aku," the driver ordered, "Turn on that radio, this is gonna be a long drive."
"Shure thing Sheng," he replied, clicking on the truck radio just as the announcer's voice came on saying, "The whereabouts of the kidnapped victim remains unknown, but if you have any information on this heinous crime call the Gaoling Police Department; the parents are offering a large cash reward and are willing to pay ransom for their stolen daughter---"
"Ha!" Aku laughed, "Hear that kid, you're going to make us a fortune!"
"That message must have been on nine times already!" Sheng chortled, "No one can stop us now!"
Suddenly, a large boulder popped up in the middle of the road and the two kidnappers screamed as Sheng swerved into the dirt to avoid hitting it. The truck toppled down into the trench below the road and the two crooks smacked their heads on the dashboard as the car came to a violent halt.
"What the heck was that!?" Aku gasped, rubbing his nose as he peered back up at the road.
"That rock just came out of nowhere!?" Sheng growled, "You don't think the kid---"
"Nah, she ain't strong enough to bend anything like that, plus we got her tied up!" Aku snarled, "But you're right---rocks don't just pop out of the ground whenever they feel like it---Something strange is going on here..."
"You, get out there and check!" Sheng ordered.
The man in the back snarled and left watching the hostage to the final three perps waiting in the backseat. All four of these men were armed with blunt tools and kicked open the back of the truck before the lucky one fled into the night streets.
"You see anything?" Sheng hollered.
"No!" he called back, followed quickly with an, "Oof!"
Aku and Sheng got a look and nudged the other three kidnappers to go check it out.
The little girl in the backseat got big eyes as she heard very distant blows landing and men screaming in the distance.
"Hey, back this thing up, Sheng!" Aku quivered, "Get us out of here!"
"The car is pinned, we're stuck!" Sheng growled as the tires spun wildly in the mud.
"Forget it!" he scoffed, "grab the brat and let's hightail it while this guy is distracted with those buffoons!"
"Got it," he roared, grabbing up the tied up child, "Come here kid!"
The two made a sneaky get away out of the car and headed down the road opposite the noises of violence. They even snickered once before hearing that all of the noises had stopped and the last of the metal weapons clanked against the road. The two looked back and could see through the crystal clear night all of their men lying on the side of the road, each restrained with their own metal tool that was bent around their wrists and ankles.
"Metalbenders!" Sheng huffed.
"Drop the girl!" a low voice ordered.
Aku and Sheng gasped and looked ahead of them as a shady figure in a trench coat and a black cap blocked their way, hovering over them on a platform of rock."The Steel Vigilante!" the two gasped breathlessly.
"I thought she was just a myth!?" they shook, dropping the girl in a shocked instant as they pulled out two crowbars to defend themselves.
"Is this a myth---" the vigilante yelled, lashing out two metal cables and wrapping the two perps tightly in the steel coils.
A loud shot erupted in the distance and the vigilante groaned and released the kidnappers as a piece of metal stabbed into the side her armor beneath the trench coat.
Toph yanked out the knife-like shrapnel of metal and growled, "Platinum..." Another shot rang and Toph disappeared below the earth. Meanwhile the two men turned back towards the street at one of their revived henchmen as he loaded another tiny platinum dagger into his crossbow.
"Good job!" Sheng yelled, "Now let's get out of here!"
Toph popped out of the dirt right in front of them and shot them away in a blast of rock before they could take a single step.
"You're not going anywhere!" she snarled.
The man with the platinum daggers came rushing down the hill for Toph and she slid up an entire wall of earth to block his path. Meanwhile, the little girl shrieked and Toph turned too late to get another three shots of platinum daggers wedged into her plate body. She fell to her hands and knees yanking the knives out, all the while noticing that a few of them managed to pierce the skin.
"You're not getting in our way, Steel Vigilante!" Aku snickered, flicking out another platinum shurikin from his sleeve... "We hear you have a weakness for platinum, glad to know these legends are true---I was afraid we wasted all of our money on these platinum weapons."
"But the question remains my friend...who is it beneath the hat?" Sheng snickered, "All of Gaoling is just itching to know..."
Another shot and weakly, Toph lifted one hand to shoot a barrier of dirt between her and the criminals, all the while the old former officer could feel her heart tightening up and her breaths got harder as this action took a toll on her more fragile old body. Toph grabbed at her heart and shot the man from the road back against the rock wall, and she locked him in place with Earth cuffs just as Aku came over and kicked Toph away from her small shield. With a groan, the old woman heard the man breaking free of the cuffs and she could feel not just three, but six sets of feet approaching, meaning the other kidnappers had broken free as well. As Toph felt their footsteps getting louder, Toph pulled the last of the Platinum daggers out of her side and shot it right into the leg of Sheng before he toppled over in pain and dropped his crossbow. Toph rolled over with the little burst of energy she had left and shot another dagger at Aku, before stomping a massive earthquake right at the oncoming thugs and listening until their screaming bodies became trapped in the cracks below the earth. Wearily, the old vigilante stood and wrapped Aku and Sheng up with her coils until it was nearly cutting off the villains' circulation, and tiredly, Toph fell to her knees beside the little girl and untied her, showing the child her face that was once hidden beneath Ohev's old Captains Hat.
"G-get out of here kid... Go back home, it isn't far, d-do you know where to go?" Toph gritted.
The girl gasped when she saw that her savior was the richest woman in all of Gaoling---the mystery woman who bought the old Beifong estate a little while ago. The girl nodded meekly, replying, "Yes...y-yes ma'am..."
"Then go!" Toph shouted, pointing towards the town.
She ran off without a word as the groaning of the men got quieter and Toph shot them each back to the surface and tied them all together using the stray metal from their truck. When each of the six men were restrained and quiet, Toph could literally smell the blood that had been coming from her hip and the two legs that she had shot with platinum. By now, the approaching police vehicles sounded, and Toph could no longer feel her old legs for they had gone cold all of the sudden and that pain in her chest got worse before the Steel Vigilante collapsed right on the side of the road.
"She needs rest," the doctor told Lin Beifong, who had traveled all the way across the Earth Kingdom in the matter of hours when they called her in Republic City. By now it was nearly dawn out, but still dark enough that the candles were lit around the Beifong Estate... "Her heart can't handle this sort of action anymore, and she must be kept in bed!"
"I told her to stop fighting doctor, thank you for treating her... and you'll keep this secret?"The doctor sighed, "As usual Lin, the people of Gaoling know nothing of your mother or her past actions. But, I'm warning you, one more scuffle like that, and I'm afraid Lady Beifong will not recover. Try to keep her off the street; that's all I can say."
As soon as the doctor left, Lin stomped into her mother's bedroom and growled, "Mother, you know what the doctor said!!!" She snarled, "He told you to retire over ten years ago! Gram and Gramps went to so much trouble to sensor out the things you did with Aang, you have a chance at a calm, normal life here---in RE-TIRE-MENT!"
"Doctors don't know nuthin' for no one," Toph chuckled weakly... "I once knew an Earthbender who was over one hundred and ten years old and he was fit as a forty year old! Another one was two hundred and something and did she retire, NOPE?"
Lin scoffed quietly and tried to explain, "Mother...King Bumi and Avatar Kyoshi---they are not you, and no matter what you do, you cannot fight as long as they did, you just can't mother! Your body can't handle the expectations you're setting on yourself!"
"You shouldn't be so worried about me Lin," Toph grinned, "That's my job to worry about you."
"You don't need to worry about me," Lin practically pouted, "You trained me well. Republic City has never been safer and I've never been stronger."
Toph laughed, "You are my daughter, aren't you girl?" She coughed once.
"Look at you..." Lin sighed, "Heart attacks, platinum arrowheads, fourteen scars later, and my eighty year old mother refuses to hang up her whips!"
Toph stuck her tongue out at Lin and the young Chief rolled her eyes before sticking hers right back.
Toph laughed and scratchily, she snarked, "I'm very proud of you Lin, you know that don't you?"
Lin rolled her eyes, "Yes Mother, I know... Now you need to get some rest, and no more vigilante dolloping, understand!? I'M SERIOUS, NO MORE! Are we clear, Mother?"
"Crystal warden," the old Earthbender teased.
Lin groaned with a growing headache and started to step out of the room when Toph called her name and made the Chief turn back at the odd tone in her mother's voice.
"Yes Mother?" Lin wondered.
"Come here for a second," Toph waved, groaning as she gruffed to sit up in bed.
Lin hurried to her side and pushed her back under the covers, tucking Toph warmly back inside for this rest that she was supposed to be getting... "Mom, you need to sleep."
"Later Lin," Toph shooed the statement through the air... "I just wanted to tell you that you're the greatest protector Republic City's seen since your old mom, and I know those people are in good hands---even with that crack-pot council!" Toph chuckled, "As long as you're the Chief Lin, then those lily livers don't have anything to worry about, now do they?"
"No Mother," Lin snickered back with a smile... "Not a thing."
Toph took her daughter's hand and held it tight, "And kick this Tarrlok fellow's butt for me, I don't like what I'm hearing on the radio about him---he's trouble! What was Tenzin thinking, allowing this crack pot to have a task force---kick his butt too."
"With pleasure..." Lin smiled, "But, there isn't much I can do now that he's weaseled his way to power over Tenzin and the council. Though, Tenzin did let me borrow one of his Bison, I think I might just cut him some slack? As for Tarrlok...I'm not sure I know what to do?"
"You're a Beifong..." Toph grinned, "You'll think of something."
She releasing her grip on her daughter's hand and Lin patted down her mother's covers and ordered, "Now get to bed Mother, I have the weekend off to make sure you don't get loose in the night!" Then, with a smile, Lin shook her head in distress and added, "Those servants of yours don't know the first thing about handling a Sky Bison---I better make sure Jinju doesn't wreck the backyard...." Lin sighed and waved, "Goodnight Mother."
Quickly, the Chief ran outside to help the incompetent help handle the borrowed Bison, and as soon as Lin was gone, Toph shut her eyes and as she drifted into a still and quiet sleep, Toph smiled and replied, "Goodbye Lin."
All too suddenly, old Toph grew very still and her breathing became utterly quiet as the sun rose outside and the peaceful morning began without the Steel Vigilante there to greet it.
"Huh?" Toph groaned wearily, stretching in a bright zone that was utterly blinding and full of warm light and sun... "Morning already?"
"Oh, Toph..." a familiar voice sighed in a saddened, yet welcoming tone.
Toph could not sense the person talking to her, in fact, she could not sense her room or anything at all, and she looked with frustration down at the ground to see her bare feet waiting on a floor of white."What in the---?" she gasped, her shaky hands coming into view as she held them in front of her face, and Toph saw them---ACTUALLY SAW THEM---for the first time in her life. Like her feet they weren't wrinkled or old in the slightest, but smooth and firm just like they were when she was a young woman. Was this a dream? Toph blinked once, long and hard, her breaths frantic as she looked around this land and actually saw all of the colors all of the light, and bewildered, she stopped on a bright and colorful figure---his clothes were colors Toph had never even imagined, but unlike the rest of this place he really stood out. A tall man with a beard and warm, caring eyes, a happy smile, and an odd pattern on his skin---tattoos?
"A-A-Aang?" she gasped, tears falling down her face as she took a step towards him.
"It's alright Toph..." Aang smiled, "You're with friends..."
He motioned and at once Toph saw all of these faces---so many new faces and they all had expressions of joy and sympathetic smiles as they greeted Toph one by one. All of them looked at her like they had known her all their lives, but Toph---she just had no idea who any of them were, she couldn't make the connection without her Earthbending senses, and for some reason, there was no earth here...but---she was standing on the ground made of---she couldn't even think of what.
Overwhelmed, Toph shut her eyes tight and listened as Sokka's voice came over and patted her on the shoulder, "There's my favorite Earthbender, how's the land of the living, Toph?"
"Sokka?" Toph wondered, opening her eyes to get a look at him for the first time. She chuckled with the tears still falling and Sokka looked confused...
"What's so funny?" he wondered.
"You look funny!" she chuckled, "And Aang---I had no idea that your tattoos were so colorful---and your outfit---you look funny too!"
"Wait a minute!?" Sokka exclaimed just as every face in the Spiritual realm grew surprised gasps. Sokka waved his arms around wildly and watched as Toph's emerald green eyes followed their every move.
"Toph---" Aang and Sokka both muttered, "Can you---?"
"I can see..." she finished for them, sniffing once as she wiped away her tears... "I CAN SEE!?"
"It makes sense?" Aang pondered, "There is no bending in any zone of the Spirit World. So, it only makes sense that Toph would gain her vision, just as Teo regained the ability to walk."
"Wait..." Toph halted, "You mean---this isn't a dream? This----This is the Spirit World?"
Sokka wrapped his arm around her and stretched, "Well, not exactly...but it's a part of the Spirit World---in a sense---Not the part Aang always talked about, but the place where we get to stay?"
"Don't confuse her Sokka," Aang snapped, before adding in his most sincerest of tones, "Toph, I'm sorry but---I'm afraid---"
"I died?" she mumbled.
"Afraid so, champ..." Sokka frowned in a deadpan tone.
"What---what about Lin?" Toph gasped worriedly.
"She hasn't noticed yet..." Aang looked to his feet, "If you want, I can go keep an eye on her for you?"
"Why can't I go myself?" she wanted to know.
"Doesn't work like that, Toph," Sokka sighed, "Trust me, I've tried to figure that one out myself---but we're not allowed between realms and all that spiritual nonsense. The Past Avatars can go there though."
"Oh..." Toph shut her eyes and the tears came back... She sniffed and stated, "Don't take this the wrong way everyone, it's great to see you all alive again...and it's great to finally be able to see you...but---I---I need a minute alone..."
"Of course Toph..." Aang's warm voice replied, "There's someone who would like to talk with you in private anyway."
"What?" Toph wondered, but when she opened her eyes, every single spirit had vanished and left her alone in the white...Toph sat down and hugged her knees before thinking about poor Lin...her daughter waking up to----it was too horrible to think about.
"Hey Chief," The voice made Toph jump, not so much because he had startled her, but because it was the soul voice that she had been listening for, waiting desperately to hear for over sixty years.
"Ohev..." she mumbled, clenching her eyes shut before wobbling to a stand.
"I'm here Toph...you have no idea how good it is to see you again," his voice replied.
They each took a few steps towards each other in an instant Toph could actually feel the warm hug of her forgotten husband as he ran his hand through her hair and wrapped her tight in his embrace.
With a chuckle, Toph felt his muscle and his smile just like she used to when they would take walks on the beach or in the park. Timidly, she stared back down and opened her eyes, letting in the color once again as she stared down at Ohev's shoes. Toph took a breath and looked up slowly, taking every new detail into mind until she reached that smile and stopped herself...shutting her eyes quickly before she saw another inch of him.
"I can see you now, Ohev..."
"I heard!" he smiled, his enthusiasm building, "That's wonderful! What's it like? This must be incredible for you, Toph! Wait---wh---why are your eyes shut then?"
"It's really something else, seeing I mean..." she sighed, clenching her eyes tighter, "But before I actually "see you" I just want you to know that it doesn't matter what you or anybody else looks like, alright...you're still going to be the same Captain I used to know and love, alright."
Ohev gave Toph a kiss and took her hand, "Open your eyes, Toph."
Toph peeped open and saw a loving pair of eyes looking back at her...they were the same color as her pants, meaning this was what Green looked like, and those green eyes of Ohev's were the most beautiful things Toph has seen since she earned her new sense of vision. Toph took a step back and got an eyeful of her husband before blushing a smile at him and chuckling, "I should probably tell you hon', that it's good to see you. You have no idea how much I've missed you."
"You only told me every year, Chief," he hugged her again... "Whenever you and Lin came out to talk to me, it's the strangest thing, but I heard every word."
"You did?" she grinned.
"Yes honey---and oh how I've missed you---you must tell me everything that you and Lin have been doing..." he smirked.
"Deal Captain," Toph clapped, grabbing his shirt collar at haste, "But first you're going to enlighten me... I want to know what all of these things I'm seeing are---and you are going to guide me, now LET'S GO!"
All of the spirits suddenly returned and Toph laughed eagerly as she saw them all and noticed every sight there was, running wildly through the Spiritual Realm, dragging her husband behind her.
"Toph!" he chuckled, "Slow down, we have an eternity to teach you the color wheel! There's no need to run!"Aang and Sokka admired from afar and Sokka asked, "You think she'll be okay?"
"Oh yeah," Aang smiled, "I think our esteemed Toph Beifong is going to like it here, very much..."
"Is it normal for a spirit to fear for his life?" Sokka chuckled.
"With Toph in the Spirit World," Aang laughed, "I won't blame you...especially while she's discovering new things---If I were you Sokka, I would take cover and lay low for a while."
"What are you going to do?" Sokka asked half-knowingly.
"I'm going to check on poor Lin...and no doubt Katara and Korra will be aware of Toph's passing soon. Toph was Korra's Earthbending teacher for a little while, I'm sure the poor girl will be upset."
"But not upset enough to connect with you Airhead," Sokka implied, "Maybe one day Korra will click with her spiritual side, but I doubt it'll be today...Sorry pal."
Aang sighed, "I fear Korra won't open up until something truly awful happens to her..."
"But, hey, when she needs you, you'll be right there, just like you were for all of us!" Sokka motioned, before adding, "Go down there and watch over them, I'll try and keep Toph from destroying the Spirit World."
With a chuckle Aang vanished and Sokka frowned irritably as Toph and Ohev came crashing through again, Toph's maniacal laughter erupting through every corner of Zhěngjiù; she ran right through Sokka as he vanished and reappeared instantly to avoid being trampled by the eager Beifong on her quest.
Sokka rolled his eyes and laughed meekly to himself, grumbling "If we make it that long..."
- Toph Beifong has now been forcibly retired for eleven long years----but she still has her "hobbies" to keep her happy and busy.
- Necko Shinobi is the relation of Shiro Shinobi. His name also is a reference to the term "Ninja Cat", but that is merely a coincidence.
- Most of the furniture in Toph's estate in Gaoling has been altered and coated in a thin layer of Metal, so that Toph can control almost everything in the room.
- Aku and Sheng are villains who are looking to make a quick buck in their boring little town of wealthy socialites. They forgot to take into effect that the town was under the protection of Ex-Chief Beifong!
- The "Steel Vigilante" is Toph's third nickname in the Avatar Universe.
- No one in all of Gaoling has made the connection that "Lady Beifong" is the Steel Vigilante, thanks to Toph's parents and how great they were at keeping their daughter a secret.
- Let it be known that Toph cannot bend or redirect Platinum. So....Platinum bullets and Platinum darts are indeed a slight problem for the esteemed Earthbender.
- This year is loosely based on the retirement of Batman from the old cartoon series, Batman Beyond.
- Let it also be said that Toph absolutely detests her doctor. This is not the first time she has been injured as the "Steel Vigilante" and the doctor underestimates her skill as a fighter due to her old age.
- The old Earthbenders that Toph was telling Lin about were King Bumi and Avatar Kyoshi, both lived far past their hundreds before passing away.
- Lin borrowed one of Tenzin's Sky Bison in order to reach Gaoling in so short a time. She was given the clumsiest of Bison, Jinju, to her aggravation, but he got her to her mother and that's all that matters.
- It is true. Toph Beifong is gone. But, now she is with her friends and now she can even see them.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
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