Title: Day Six: Loose Cannon
Rating: T for strong themes
A/N: All the chapters now are set between ATLA and ALOK before Lin was born so the focus will be on the changes in their lives and their relationship. This prompt was fun to write (although I'm not sure if my attempts were successful) and I also learned a new term! The week ended a long time ago, but I will still finish this project nonetheless.
Disclaimer: Avatar: The Last Airbender belongs to Mike and Bryan, Nickelodeon and Viacom.
Day Six: Loose Cannon
Loose cannon: an unpredictable or uncontrolled person who is likely to cause unintentional damage.
Toph bit back an unwanted sob. She would not be weak now not now, not ever. Her fingers traced the deep scars that covered the skin she grew to love. Not too soft or too rough, the warm skin under her fingers told stories of battles. It was the skin of a warrior, just like hers. But she couldn't touch that skin now. Not yet, since the blood from the most recent and biggest scar yet was still drying and the sense of blood attacked her olfactory senses. She almost couldn't stand the terrible smell of blood. Almost.
The black-haired woman inspired deeply, trying to remember the scent of Iroh's sweet jasmine tea and avoid the upcoming nausea. It had been much worse just a little while ago when Katara was performing her waterbending healing. Now the blood was slowly drying and it was bearable to stand next to him. Even though Katara advised her to stay farther away until the blood dried completely, Toph didn't move an inch. The chief of police hated being in the hospital, even when she was the ill one, but nothing could make her move from that spot.
She silently cursed under her breath as she felt the burning sensation of tears in her unseeing eyes. Sokka would not see her like this. He had already seen her crying far too times to make her comfortable.
There was a grunt from the lying body by her side and Toph instantly turned to him, forgetting the tears. She realized it was too late when she felt his eyes bore into her soul. Toph knew how people looked at her especially Sokka. She couldn't picture his blue eyes because she didn't know how blue looked, but she knew his eyes were intense. Those were the eyes of a warrior like hers.
"I guess I'm probably dreaming. There's no way the mighty chief of police could be crying, right?" Sokka mocked lightly in an attempt to break the building tension.
His response was a broken sob and a heavy punch in his unwounded arm. He flinched. Thank the spirits Toph hadn't touched his other still bleeding arm or his heavily bandaged led courtesy of a gang of criminals in Republic City.
"Sokka, you idiot!" Toph cried between hiccups. Her voice seemed unnatural with those sobs. "Why do you always have to do the stupidest things to save others? Think about yourself a little, you stupid meathead!" She punched him another time, this time lighter, just for emphasis.
"Toph..." The watertribe warrior sighed tiredly. "You know I couldn't leave you there. There were at least two dozens of criminals there and half of your fleet was already down! These gangs are becoming too strong
"I don't care! That's not enough reason to risk your safety, idiot!" She didn't others were looking at them. She never cared about others' opinions anyway. "You
you always do that. Trying to save me when I can deal with it on my own
" She bit back a sob. "Why, Sokka? Why do you risk yourself so much?"
Sokka looked fondly at the black-haired woman in front of him. Toph had grown and matured over the years from a confident and adorable little girl to an equally confident and attractive woman. But after all this time, she still didn't seem to understand.
"Isn't it obvious?" He smiled as he held her hand with his unwounded arm. "How could I not risk myself for the woman I love?"
Toph instinctively squeezed his hand in response. Toph turned her face down so that he couldn't see the current mess she was. She had never seen her face, but right now it must've been absolutely horrible with all this crying and scrunching.
She never knew how to act during these moments when Sokka would ditch the sarcasm and start making loving comment. She was too awkward, too scared to do anything more than punch him lightly and blush nonstop. Toph cursed herself; how could earthbending be so much easier than this jumble of feelings she always had next to the watertribe man?
She replied with the only way she knew how: mocking him.
"Idiot." Darling. "You're so stupid." You're a genius. "I can't believe how I stand you." I can't be without you. "You stupid, meathead self-called warrior."
Thank the spirits Sokka became fluent with Toph-language over the years.
He squeezed her hand and Toph just knew he had to be smirking.
"Hey, don't forget sarcasm..."
"Sokka!" Toph scolded him without bite. "Fine."
With a dramatic sigh, Toph started doing what she liked best: mocking Sokka. "Idiot, stupid, meathead and sarcastic buffoon... You're definitely a loose cannon with all the damage you cause."
"Hey!" Sokka replied indignantly in a high-pitched voice. Toph remembered with a smirk how his voice would go off tune when they were teenagers. "It's not like I'm the only loose cannon here!" Realizing what he'd just said, Sokka shut up.
Oh, Toph would definitely beat him this time around. Except, the punch never came. Reuniting his courage and warrior pride, the blue-eyed man looked up to his long time partner. Instead of a smirk, there was a smile in Toph's face. For once, the strict chief of police allowed herself a real smile no smirks, no mocking just a tear stricken smile.
"You're right." She answered with a soft voice that matched that beautiful smile perfectly.
Sokka smiled back at her with renewed energy. If being careless and getting hurt would earn him one of these rare smiles, it was definitely worth it.
"Two idiots who don't care about themselves... We deserve each other."
Still holding each other's hands, both warriors exchanged a smile. Toph didn't need to see to know Sokka was smiling at her, just as Sokka didn't need seismic sense to know her heart was beating wildly. Two selfless warriors, two erratic fools, two loose cannons
they certainly deserved each other.