Actually I had this idea back in 2008, maybe 2009. It probably has been done anyways. But I gave it a new wrapping, put some New Year’s flair on top and here we go :)
This does not consider any happenings during the ATLA comics. Also sorry for weird mistakes, English is not my first language :P
I hope you
Have a happy new year everyone :) <3</i>
It had been a busy year, it sure had. Sokka had spent a lot of time at the South Pole, taking care of his tribe, reunited with his family. If Katara wasn’t busy at home, she’d take every chance to travel with Aang, handling the peace situation. Sokka had done a bit of traveling himself in the name of his friend and new Firelord Zuko, delivering important messages, bringing peace and stuff. And before he knew it another year had gone by. And there he was, back in the Fire Nation, where Zuko had gathered all his friends and their families to celebrate what they’d achieved as well as the beginning of a new year.
Sokka had been ecstatic about this, excited to see everyone again. Especially Suki, the other Kyoshi warriors, Aang of course, Katara, Toph, Zuko, his uncle, Mai and her friend Ty Lee whose presence still creeped him out a little. And then there was Haru, Smellerbee and The Duke and – well, he could go on for a while because Zuko had basically gathered everyone. Sokka had dressed up in one of Zuko’s fancy suits – one he suspected the new Firelord had specifically made for him, sleeveless in dark ruby. But after eating, drinking, laughing and chatting, a weird feeling had started to get a hold of him. This night wouldn’t last. This being together wouldn’t last. And he would miss everyone so bad back at the South Pole. Even if he traveled around, helping everyone out, he’d always end up missing someone and somehow that got to him more than usual.
As everyone went outside for the big firework – the highlight of the night – he suddenly felt overwhelmed by everything. The people, the noise, the situation altogether. So he fell back behind the crowd and took a turn to the left into the Royal Garden.
He hadn’t gone too far when he spotted Toph sitting on the ground, leaning against a low decorative wall. She was alone, her red ball gown draped over her set up feet and all over the ground, her shoes spread on the grass because she’d just carelessly kicked them off her feet.
She had never liked shoes. Somehow that made him smile. Sokka had wondered where she’d gone – not consciously but more like he had felt something or someone was missing. Well now he knew where that feeling had come from, because it instantly started to fade.
She had grown up quite a bit in that short amount of time they’d been apart. Though looking at her like this he realized, it had been way too long. He really had missed her.
As he came closer, he recognized her hunched over posture as she was hugging her knees and somehow it felt like someone had kicked him in the stomach. Or poked a needle into his heart maybe. For a second he had forgotten to keep up his steady pace while walking towards her.
“Hey Toph,” he said, when he finally reached her, concentrated to keep a cheery tone in his voice.
“Hey Sokka,” she answered sounding tired.
“You’re not one for fireworks, huh,” he said a little more serious, picking up her shoes from the ground.
Toph hesitated for a bit – the bit that assured him something was wrong.
“Yeah, well, I’m not getting too excited over explosion noises”, she said, trying to pick up on the joke but turning away her head.
Sokka had caught that slight shiver in her voice. He sat down next to her, his shoulder touching hers. She was cold and he wondered how long she’d been out here on her own. He knew she’d be embarrassed if he’d just hugged her for appearing so sad or to warm her up, so all he could do for now was sit next to her, that tiny spot of skin touching her shoulder.
They sat for a while and both remained silent. Somehow the memory of her and him sitting on that cliff so many months back came to mind. She probably just didn’t want to talk. But Sokka couldn’t help it, he had to know.
“Are you okay?” he asked quietly, concentrating on the stars in the night sky so he wouldn’t try to look for even the slightest hint on her face.
She remained silent for a bit, but Sokka waited patiently. He knew she’d tell him. She was just debating on how to put it.
“It’s just … I’m not one to pity myself for being blind. I’m good, I get by perfectly fine, it’s just I … I guess I got used to feeling like I was normal. Like I had all the chances everyone else has. But sometimes I’m just reminded that I’m … different … Which is not a bad thing, it’s just …”
She fell silent, hugging her knees a little tighter and pressing her lips together while lowering her head so her dark bangs would hide her eyes.
Remembering the shiver in her voice when she’d tried to joke about the fireworks, Sokka put one and one together. It hurt so much to see her like that. This amazing girl. He had always wished for her to be happy. Shoving his thoughts aside his eyes wandered over her pretty face, still in awe about how much she’d grown up in this short year. Then he raised his gaze towards the fireworks right in front of them.
And as Sokka started describing the firework’s journey towards the night sky and the sounds they made while doing so, the way it looked like thousand little shiny dots that exploded and spread in the shape of a flower, she felt like she was actually watching, seeing the fireworks for the first time in her life, starting to understand what one could enjoy about that spectacle. He made up words to explain the motion and colors of the lights and took his time to describe as accurately as he could, connecting the sounds she knew with pictures she didn’t. And while they were watching the night sky accompanied by the distant noises of the actual celebration, she felt tears gather up in her eyes. She turned her head, suppressing the need to cry, as Sokka continued describing the different kinds of flowers the fireworks would paint.
Once she was able to speak again, she said his name in a shaky voice. Sokka stopped abruptly, turning his head. She could feel his irritation, as if he’d been in deep thought about how else to describe what he saw. Felt the excitement he had gained while talking the two of them up into the sky. And also his terror when he realized how she was so close to crying. To falling apart.
“Ye?” he said, letting his gesturing hand sink a little bit, scared he might have hurt her by what he’d done.
She hesitated, then put her head on his shoulder.
“Thanks,” she muttered.
An eased smile was broadening on his face. He pulled out his arm that had been squished between them and put it around her cold shoulders, pulling her a little closer, his relief completely drowning out the worries about touching her – and also that odd tickling sensation in his stomach. She wouldn’t tell him, but she really had been cold. And she would never admit that his touch felt so soft and warm, it made her dizzy.
When Sokka continued to describe the night sky the old year passed and the New Year arrived. They sat in the cold, wishing for all good things to come their way. Or maybe it wouldn’t even matter if only he wouldn’t have to miss her so much, if only she could have him around a little more. Sokka had managed to make her feel like she actually belonged here with everyone else. And like it wouldn’t matter that the night was about to end.
For a little while everything felt perfect.