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When They Asked

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When Toph showed up at Iroh’s doorstep, her belly swollen with child, the first thing the old man asked was: “Would you like a cup of tea?” They settled down with a pot of her favorite ginseng blend, and Toph regaled him with stories of her adventures, the people she had met, the new forms of bending she had witnessed.

When they had finished the pot, Iroh finally asked. “So, who’s the lucky man?”

“Nobody.” Toph grinned. “My awesome was just too much for one body. So I had to make a spare.”

 

When Katara read Iroh’s letter, she and Aang immediately dragged their two children to Ba Sing Se. Kya wanted Auntie Toph’s help in making mud monsters to chase Bumi; Iroh finally managed to distract her with a trip to the zoo her father had built.

When they had left, Katara grabbed Toph’s hands. “This is amazing! I didn’t even know you were seeing anybody. I’m so happy for you!”

“Yeah,” Aang agreed. “So who’s the dad?”

“The Melon Lord,” Toph told them. Katara scowled. “I’m serious!” Toph said. “I accidentally swallowed a melon seed, and the next thing you know, BAM! Pregnant. It’s the only explanation.”

 

When Sokka got Iroh’s letter, he immediately picked up the phone. “Why didn’t you CALL me about this?” he asked indignantly. “This is exactly the kind of thing I invented the phone FOR!”

When Iroh had been sufficiently berated, he handed the phone to Toph. “So,” Sokka said. “Who’s the guy? Should I be getting him cigars or ready to punch him in the face?”

Toph whispered, “You mean…you don’t remember that night we spent together?”and laughed when she heard him fall to the floor.

 

When Zuko heard the news, he was in the middle of an intense trade negotiation, and could not leave even for a day. He wrote back and offered her a room in the palace, where she could rest and receive the best medical attention in the four nations.

When Toph finally arrived, it was with a squalling two month old baby in her arms. Mai took one look at baby Lin and turned to Zuko. “This is why I don’t want children.” This was a long-standing argument between them, but for once, Zuko ignored it.

“Where’s your husband?” he asked.

“Husband? Why would I have a husband?” Toph snorted. “I rescued this couple from a rampaging mooselion, and out of gratitude they gave me their firstborn child. When did you make babies the national currency?”

 

When Lin was five years old, she realized her family looked different from other people’s. She had a mother, and grandparents, and uncles and aunts and cousins, but she didn’t have a daddy.

When Toph tucked her into bed that night, she asked: “Where’s my daddy?” She was too young to understand the expression that briefly crossed her mother’s face.

“You don’t have a daddy, Sourface,” Toph said cheerfully.

“Why not?” Lin asked.

“Because you have me!” Lin didn’t think this was really an answer, but Toph threatened to make her run through her forms again if she didn’t go to sleep, so the little girl reluctantly closed her eyes.

 

When Lin was eighteen, she asked her mother again. “What do you need a father for?” Toph asked. “You’re an adult now. I managed to dump my parents when I was just ten."

When Lin pressed the question, Toph said she had tickets to a pro-bending match and they’d talk later. They never did.

 

When Toph died, Lin wondered if she would ever get her answer.