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On The Precipice

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I've got a new Taang story for you! I've been working on this for a while, and I am in love. This will be multi-chapter, and most of it is written already. I'm still working on the ending scenes and editing. It's freakin CUTE. All aboard the Taang train!

 

On The Precipice

Toph moaned pitifully from her mountain of blankets in the saddle. "Why are they having the wedding here?"

Aang rolled his eyes at her. "I told you Gran Gran can't travel anymore. Sokka wants her to be there so he moved the party to her."

She only groaned again in answer. Aang did feel bad for her, she wasn't able to warm herself with her bending like he could.

And what's worse, she won't be able to sense anything on ice.

He had promised to be her eyes the whole time they were there, but she was still going to be miserable either way. He didn't know what else to do to make her more comfortable.

"Ah we're here!" Aang shouted, pulling on Appa's reigns to lower them down to the humble but slowly regrowing city of the South Pole.

As he landed, he waved at some kids running by and some people pointing at him. He climbed back to the saddle to start unloading their bags.

Toph was completely buried, not even a toe sticking out from her warm cocoon. He tried not to giggle, it was kind of adorable.

"Come on Toph, the sooner you move the sooner we can get inside where it's warmer." Aang goaded her, trying to peel back the blankets from her steel grip. Finally she relented and sat up.

She pouted at him, "I hate this."

He chuckled, tucking her bangs behind her ear. "I know. Let's just get it over with, okay?"

He started to gather the bags, throwing them over the saddle. Until finally it was just Toph he needed to get down. She stood, ready to jump with him when he realized something.

"Toph, you have to wear shoes. You'll get frostbite."

Toph grimaced. "Twinkles, I don't own any shoes."

Aang groaned, of course she didn't. He should have thought of that before they left for the South Pole. "Alright then, we'll have to do this the hard way."

"What does that mean- hey! Put me down!" Toph wanted to punch him but that would mean letting go of the blankets on her shoulders.

Aang easily lifted her, plus the fifty pounds of blankets. "I'm not letting you walk barefoot on ice, idiot."

Toph flushed as she heard some of the townspeople cooing at them.

"At least let me ride piggyback instead of you carrying me this way!" She snapped at him.

She was so cute when she was flustered. Aang decided not to point that out to her.

"No. This way, your feet are covered by the blankets." And he liked carrying her this way. Like the hero carrying the princess. (But he wasn't gonna tell her that either.)

"Aang! This is embarrassing." She hissed at him. "What if Snoozles sees this? Or Sweetness- oh spirits they'll never let me live it down."

"Then I suggest we start walking instead of arguing out here in front of the whole town." Aang leaped down from Appa, who immediately left for the stables to get a nap in. He quickly gathered the bags on his back.

Aang frowned, "Where is Momo? I haven't seen him in a while."

"Um, I think he's stuck in my blankets somewhere.."

Suddenly Momo popped up behind one of Toph's shoulders, chirping at them.

Aang laughed, at least he wasn't squashed.

He greeted the townsfolk as they walked to the Chief's hut. Toph burrowed her face in his neck, pretending to not exist.

He could still feel her shivering, so he walked faster. Her lack of bickering remarks and threats was concerning.

Finally they reached the center of the city, and Aang decided not to knock and just barrel in to get Toph out of the cold climate.

Everyone looked up as Aang accidentally slammed the door open- it was hard to open a door when his hands were full of earth bender.

"Aang!" Katara was the first to exclaim, rushing forward to greet him. "Oh my gosh- is that Toph!?"

She ushered him in, closing the door behind him. "Come sit by the fire."

Aang dumped their bags as Zuko stood from the loveseat closest to the fire, concern etching his face. Aang thanked him as he sat down, making sure her feet were closest to the fireplace.

"Is she okay?" Sokka asked from the kitchen.

Toph peeked her head out from between the blankets and Aang, her teeth audibly chattering as she answered, "J-just f-fine, Snoozles."

"Oh you poor thing!" Suki frowned. "You've never been to the poles before, have you Toph?"

She shook her head, sinking back into Aang as a sign she was done talking.

Zuko sighed, "Let me guess, she has no coat or shoes."

Aang nodded, "Yup. And I don't have any to give her."

"You should have thought to buy some before you left." Zuko shook his head with a frown- always so logical.

"You could have put your shoes on her!" Sokka chided him. Aang rolled his eyes at them; they truly were big brothers.

"Maybe that would have worked when we were twelve, and even if Toph hasn't grown much more, I sure have. My shoes won't fit her at all. They'd fall right off." Aang joked.

Aang groaned as Toph elbowed him in the gut- she must be starting to feel better. But hey, she was small. He always told her she was like a small little fairy, and she always punched him for it.

Zuko suggested, "I can try to find some spare clothes on my ship for her."

"Actually, honey, I think I have some old things that will fit her." Katara patted Zuko's shoulder and kissed his cheek before leaving in search of said items.

Aang could feel that Toph had stopped shivering. Even Momo was warmed up, as he crawled out of the blankets and flew over to Sokka.

"Here's some tea." Suki set a tray down at the coffee table. "How was your flight here?"

Aang shrugged, "It wasn't bad. We didn't run into any storms at all."

"It was terrible." Toph whined against his chest. The others laughed at her.

They chatted for a bit longer, catching up on the happenings of the last couple months that they hadn't seen each other.

Toph slowly warmed up, and soon she scooted off of his lap to sit to his side, closer to the fire. She left her legs thrown over his though.

Suki and Sokka soon had to leave to check on their banquet hall and meet with some people to finalize wedding details.

Zuko stood as well, "I'm going to check on Katara, she's taking so long she probably got distracted."

And then it was just them two by the fire. Aang briefly wondered where the rest of their family was.

He looked down at Toph, "Are you feeling better now?"

She shrugged. "Yeah. My feet are still cold."

Aang hummed, moving his hands to slide beneath the blankets. "I'll warm them up for you."

Surprisingly, Toph allowed him to touch her feet. They weren't quite as rough as he had expected. He slowly massaged the middle, allowing his hands to heat up. He dragged his thumbs up her soles, his whole hand engulfing her tiny foot.

Toph tilted her head back on the chair. "That... actually feels amazing, Twinkles. I require this every night from now on."

Aang chuckled, continuing to rub his thumbs into her feet. Toph let out a throaty moan that did funny things to his body. It made him want to...

Someone cleared their throat, "Are we interrupting something?"

Toph snatched her feet away from him and Aang felt his face flush. He looked up to see Katara and Zuko raising their eyebrows at them in dismay.

Aang coughed, changing the subject. "Are those clothes for Toph?"

Katara narrowed her eyes at him but let it go. "Yeah. I found an old coat and some fur boots. They should be about her size."

"Perfect!" Aang stood, taking the items from Katara. He threw the coat on top of Toph's head and she grumbled at him. He placed the boots down on the floor- normally he'd put them on her and lace them up himself but with Katara and Zuko suspiciously watching them he decided not to. Toph would be so embarrassed she'd kick him in the teeth.

"Would you like to go to the market with us?" Zuko asked, winding his arm around Katara's waist.

"Oh that sounds like fun. What do you say, Toph, want to brave the cold again?" Aang turned to her.

She was finishing up tying the boots on. "As long as you don't carry me around again Twinkle Toes."

"Awe but it was so sweet!" Katara cooed. Toph stuck her tongue out at her.

Toph pulled on the coat, buttoning it up. Aang pulled her hood up. "All set then!"

"Oh there should be mitts in the pockets, hon." Katara told Toph as they walked outside. Aang guided her through the doorway as she fiddled with the mittens.

Outside Toph latched onto his arm as they walked, and she huffed under her breath in annoyance of her dependence. She really hated ice.

Zuko and Katara walked ahead of them, swinging their hands together gently.

Katara turned her head to them, "Gran Gran and Pakku opened up their own shop this year. It's a jewelry stand."

Aang smiled, "I was wondering where they were."

"Where's your Dad?" Toph asked.

"He's in a meeting. Although he's trying to arrange a hunting trip with you boys."

Aang paled, "Um, no thank you."

Katara waved a hand at him, "Oh we already told him you wouldn't go. Zuko on the other hand..."

Zuko groaned. "I don't want to go out into the tundra but I don't have a reason to say no."

Katara giggled at him, "You'll be fine, it's not like you'll freeze to death, mister fire bender. It'll be fun! Bonding time and manly stuff."

"Yippee..."

"And while they're doing that us girls will have a spa day! And I guess, Aang, you can come if you want?" Katara politely invited him.

Aang made a face and Toph groaned, "How about just you and Suki do that, Sweetness."

Katara frowned, "I suppose, if you really don't want to..."

"I don't." Toph drawled.

"Here we are." Zuko announced.

The town square was hopping with people. There were stores and cafes exuding warmth, inviting people in from the cold. There were stands lining the streets full of food, hunting gear, beautifully woven clothing and more.

"This looks amazing!" Aang exclaimed, he was amazed at how much had been rebuilt. This was more like the South Pole that he remembered from his childhood.

Toph gripped his hand suddenly, "Twinkles! I smell food, take me there immediately."

Aang laughed, letting Toph drag him to whatever her nose was smelling. Zuko and Katara walked a different way, leaving them be. They came to a stand selling soft buns. Some were savory and filled with veggies or meat, some were sweet with fruit and sugar.

"Ugh I'm starving!" Toph whined. "We haven't ate anything since we left Gaoling."

"Yeah but your parents stuffed us with a feast right before we left." Aang reminded her teasingly.

She waved her hand nonchalantly, "Hours ago. My stomach wants food now."

Truth be told, he was getting hungry too, he just wanted to mess with her a little.

Aang smiled at the seller, "Can I get one meat, one vegetable, and two of the strawberry?"

"Of course! Anything for the Avatar and his girlfriend! On the house!" The lady exclaimed excitedly.

Aang flushed red, stammering that Toph wasn't his girlfriend- but the seller had already moved away to prepare his order.

Toph blew her bangs out of her face. "People are going to assume whatever they want, Aang. Don't get so worked up about it."

"I'm not worked up-"

The lady interrupted him, "Here's the savory buns, I'll have the dessert ones out in a moment."

Aang accepted the buns graciously, and of course the lady turned away before he could ask which was which. He sighed.

"Take a bite out of this one, I don't know which is meat and which is veggie." Aang held one of the buns up to her mouth.

Toph took a small bite and chewed thoughtfully. "That's the veggie one."

Aang placed the other in her hand, "That's yours then."

They quickly ate their steamed buns- Aang didn't realize it but he had been hungrier than he thought. They were already finished by the time the seller came out with the strawberry ones.

Aang felt his face burn as he noticed the woman had drizzled chocolate in the shape of hearts on top of the two buns. At least Toph wouldn't notice. "You two are a cute couple! Enjoy your date!"

He didn't bother trying to correct her again, awkwardly mumbling a thank you.

He stole a glance at Toph. She had her face turned away from him as she took a bite of the sweet bun, but he could see a pretty blush on her cheeks and an awkward hunch in her shoulders.

"Don't get so worked up about it." He teased her.

She elbowed him in the stomach- or at least attempted to. She missed entirely. (Her not being able to 'see' was actually good for his physical health.) "Shut up."

Aang laughed, throwing an arm over her shoulder and leading her down more stalls. Their sweet treats were quickly gone.

They were content to walk along the street with the hustle and bustle, Aang occasionally pointing things out to her.

They passed a stand filled with ivory jewelry, and Aang paused. "I wonder if this is Katara's grandparents' stall."

"Let's find out." Toph started to walk forward, Aang had to shout a warning and guide her around one of the tables before she rammed into it. She sighed, "I should just follow you."

Aang chuckled, grabbing her gloved hand to weave around the tables further into the makeshift tent. He was relieved to find it was warmer within the tent, he worried the cold was too much for Toph, even with the winter gear.

"Master Pakku!" Aang called as he spotted his old teacher. The old man turned and smiled, gripping his forearm in greeting, "If it isn't Avatar Aang... and Master Toph, correct?"

Toph grinned at the formality. "I could get used to that title. Why don't you call me that, Twinkle Toes?"

"He never was the most respectful student..." Pakku teased.

"Tell me about it." Toph giggled.

Aang drawled, "I'm still standing right here."

"Sorry, I didn't see you there." Toph grinned wickedly as Pakku laughed.

"Aang, is that you?"

Aang turned to see an elder lady walking towards them. "Gran Gran! How are you?"

She dragged him down for a tight hug. "Oh how you've grown! It's good to see you."

He pulled away and she patted his cheeks gently before looking past him. "And you must be Toph dear, I've heard so much about you."

"Yep, that's me. Good to meet you guys."

Pakku wrapped his arm around Kanna and smiled kindly at them, "We're glad you're here. Feel free to peruse our store."

They nodded and Toph latched onto his arm again so she wouldn't run into anything. Aang looked among the jewelry, it was all very beautiful and well-made.

Toph sighed, "I'm sure it's all very pretty. But this isn't really my scene Twinkles, let's go do something else."

Aang was about to agree when something caught his eye. "Hey, hold on a sec."

There was a hair clip, made from white ivory and covered in pearls. It was very pretty, and for some reason Aang thought it would suit Toph perfectly.

He smiled as he grabbed the clip and turned to her. "Let me try something."

Toph rose an eyebrow at him as he lowered her hood. "Aang, if you're trying to dress me up with jewelry-"

"Can I take this off?" He ignored her complaining. He gently took off her headband, not waiting for her answer. He reached behind her to unravel her long hair from the bun it was contained in.

Toph reddened as he threaded his fingers through her hair to smooth it out. "What are you doing?"

"I just want to see something!" He pulled back the sides of her raven hair and clipped them back. Pulling some of the side strands out of the updo, he framed her face. Finally he combed through the bottom half and arranged it on her shoulders.

"There." He reached his hand up to tuck some hair behind her ear, letting his thumb graze her pink cheek. "Pretty."

She looked down at the floor, trying to hide her blush. "I don't care about being pretty, Twinkles."

He tilted her chin up. "That doesn't make it any less true. You're beautiful, Toph."

With his grip on her chin he had the pleasure of watching her face flush redder and her eyes widen in surprise.

"There you guys are! We wondered where you'd wandered off to."

The younger benders jumped at Zuko's voice, Aang snatched his hand away from her face.

"I see you found the new jewelry stand! And oh, Toph your hair looks so pretty down!" Katara awed.

Aang grabbed Toph's shoulders to tilt her so they could see the clip. "Isn't that clip nice? I was just about to buy it for her."

"It's lovely!" Katara agreed.

"I'm gonna go pay for it." Aang escaped before Toph could try to talk him out of it.

As soon as he was out of earshot, Katara gripped Toph's shoulders eagerly. She whispered, "I saw that. What is going on between you two?"

Toph crossed her arms. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"I'm fairly sure you do! Are you guys dating?!" The water bender squealed.

"No. Drop it." Toph growled.

Katara grinned, "Are you going to date? You like him, right?"

Toph squirmed against her grip, her face bright red. "Leave me alone, Sweetness! I don't wanna talk about this!"

"Oh Katara let her be." Zuko chided her. "You're embarrassing her."

Katara pouted but released Toph from her clutches. "Fine. But I want to know!"

Toph sniffed, "There's nothing to know."

"Well, I don't know about that..." Zuko gave a small smile. Katara high-fived him.

"You guys are lucky I can't chuck rocks at you right now." Toph threatened.

They laughed and Zuko spoke, "Isn't it great?"

Aang walked up to them, "What's great?"

Toph reached out for his hand blindly, "That we're leaving."

He settled his hand in hers, raising an eyebrow at the older couple. It seems they had upset her somehow. Katara waved his concern off.

They all walked out of the tent after calling goodbyes to Pakku and Kanna. Aang lifted Toph's hood back up.

"Zuko and I are going to a cafe, want to join us?"

Aang hummed, looking to Toph. "We had a snack already. Are you still hungry?"

"Not really." Toph shrugged. He nodded in agreement. The buns had been pretty filling.

"You guys go ahead, I've got somewhere else to take Toph..."