Title: Blossoming Crush
Word Count: 411
Summary: Toph ponders the differences between watching someone with your eyes and watching someone with your feet.
Disclaimer: This piece is a tribute to the copyrighted characters of Avatar. I do not own or claim to own any part of these characters or this series.
A surge of confidence rushed through her as her feet met with the forest floor. The world leapt into view within her nerve endings, mapped out on the soles of her feet. Flying on Appa was a constant reminder of what it had been like to be truly blind. She felt the deep, rich thud-thud of the great bison’s heart beat, the gurgle of his stomach and the shuffle of his footsteps in high definition. One by one, her friends entered her range of vision as they slipped off his back.
Aang’s internal rythm was its usual happy ka-chunk ka-cha, although she felt tension in the clench of his jaw and the way he put more weight on the balls of his feet. Simultaneously, she knew the care-free thoomp-thoomp-thoomp of Sokka’s internal workings, powering up as he stretched his legs and began setting up camp. She moved automatically to help, pulling her thoughts away from the pondering gait of a platypus bear in a distant section of the forest. Toph had become adept at setting up camp and so she did this automatically, listening with all parts of her body to the gentle efforts of Sokka’s lungs.
Sometimes it made heat rush to her face when she paused to think that she could see what society didn’t want you to see – under the clothes she didn’t know the colours of, under the makeup she didn’t know the names of, the person, naked, completely visible and transparent, organic, complex, fallible. She felt the rustle of his pant leg against his knees, and had irrational thoughts without words or images, thoughts that existed purely in the way Toph felt the world.
Touch was vision to her – perhaps to them, vision was touch. She wanted him to look at her the way boys looked at girls in romantic stories, the way normal people caress each other with their eyes. They went to bed and in the darkness from across the clearing, she watched him fall asleep, and she knew in the morning when she woke up, before she opened her eyes, she would see him. Tomorrow, she promised herself, she’d lose herself in the curve of his jaw line and the muscle of his back and the flicker of his eyelids. Toph intended to have a good hard look at him before they flew again and she lost her power to see. She had to entertain herself on those long stretches of uselessness somehow.