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One Night and Forty Weeks

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“I'm WHAT?!”

“Toph, you need to calm down.”

Calm down? How can I possibly calm down? You just said I'm... that I'm—”

I came over Katara's for a quick check up. I've been throwing up at least twice a day for two weeks now. I figured it was just a bad combination of flying sickness plus a long overdue hangover from partying with the boys. Madam Fussybritches thought it might be worse than that, so she insisted (see: threatened to ice me to the bed until I complied) that she check on my health.

She's right in thinking it's worse than I thought.

“But I can't be... What about my school? How am I supposed to teach like this? And my plans of world domination? How will I—”

“Look, Toph. If you don't calm yourself down, I will cool your head for you.”

That shut me up. I hate it when she turns me into a popsicle.

“Besides, all that shouting would be bad for the baby.”

At that, I threw a fit so hard Katara had to put me in a block of ice before I Earthbent the whole city to oblivion.

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It took a few months before the shock subsided and reality sank in. It also took that much time for my belly to swell like a balloon. That got people talking. I bet they'd even have headlines in Gaoling. “Bei Fong Scandal: Prodigal Daughter Knocked Up by Commoner” or something. My parents were horrified when they found out. Or at least I imagined they would be. I haven't gone back since I left with the Gaang. I was still wondering if I should when my feet sensed the Earth Rumble arena crumbling underground.

I had the year off from teaching Metalbending. Not my idea, but I don't have any other choice. Sugar Queen told me I should take it easy until the baby comes. I told her to get off my case and stop telling me what to do. But one time I tried to demonstrate busting out of a metal cage, the bars caved in instead of out and hit me on the head. Another time I slapped the ground to make an earth tent, an earth pillar shot out and almost launched me to the sky.

Hmm, I wonder if I'd shock the pants off Dad when he sees me.

“Maybe it's better to send a note that we're coming. Speaking of which, how come you don't let me help you write to your parents anymore?”

“Please, Sokka. Everyone knows my penmanship is better than yours.”

“Hey, that's kinda harsh! I've really improved in calligraphy these last few years.”

“Sure you did. That's why no one could ever tell me what your letters say.”

He breathed in and made some gestures with his hands. As if he could catch a witty comeback from the air. Too bad, I was already sniggering. And then Sokka was flat on his face.

“OW! What was that for?!”

“It wasn't me. The baby kicked.”

“Yeah. Right. Your baby kicked and Earthbended my ass.”

Just as he was picking himself up, the earth shifted again and he fell on his butt. I only laughed harder.

“Very funny,” he said, finally getting to his feet and resuming our pace. “I hate you.”

“Aww. I love you too, Sokka.” I blew him a kiss for good measure.

He froze midstep for like ten seconds. When he put his foot down, he stayed still for another ten seconds or so. I stopped walking.

“C'mon, Snoozles. We don't have all day." Another ten seconds.

“Don't you ever, EVER do that in front of your dad, okay?”

“Why? Scared of he'd scalp off your ponytail?”

“YES! I mean, NO! I mean, he'd think I'm the father!”

I turned to Sokka's general direction and put on what Twinkletoes calls my Blind-Bandit-Smirk-Of-Doom. The vibrations from his pulse felt like stepping on needles as he collapsed to the ground. Interesting.

“Oh god! Suki would kill me!”