|Amy (such_heights) wrote,|
@ 2011-02-23 01:06 am UTC
|Entry tags:||fic, fic: avatar the last airbender, ship: katara/toph|
The Good Life
Avatar: the Last Airbender ; Katara/Toph ; 900 words ; PG ; no content notes
Toph is an irregular fixture in Katara's home.
Written for thingswithwings in the white_lotus exchange.
Katara's always been the steady one. It used to bother her, a vague sense that she wasn't cool, wasn't behaving the way she ought to, but these days she's grown to understand that happiness is the most important thing, no matter what form it takes.
She makes a home in the north of the Earth Kingdom, a day's boat ride away from the North Pole for the summers when Gran Gran visits, and an easy journey from Ba Sing Se, where the old team always end up congregating again, sooner or later. Pakku sends her selected waterbending pupils, those students of his that have real potential, and she tries to teach them about the Avatar, and the interconnectedness of the world, and what bending really means. Sometimes Aang himself swings by while she's hosting a student, and the look on their face is priceless every time.
When she's not teaching, she's studying, or writing, trying to reclaim some of the lost history of her tribe or make records of the new things she's discovering all the time. The bloodbending Hanna taught her was manipulative and cruel, but she's learning new ways of bending water now. She makes bright flowers bloom in her kitchen window, and helps the townspeople when a drought leaves their wells barren.
It's a good life. It's still better when she has someone to share it with.
Toph is an irregular fixture in her home, to say the least. She'll show up and stay for six months, then casually announce one evening over stew that she's going travelling for a while, and that she doesn't know for how long. Katara doesn't mind - it's useless to mind, not when that's just the way that Toph is - but the quiet seems odd when she's gone, and Katara misses her solid warmth beside her from when they'd sit outside and drink tea on long afternoons.
Katara's no mother hen, not really, and she'd never ask Toph to stay, but she's glad she can provide a base for her, for whenever she wants it. And she hopes, quietly, that one day Toph might consider it to be a home.
Katara nearly misses her leaving this time - Toph can be disconcertingly quiet when she chooses to be. But something makes her wake up with a start, and she hears the sound of a door opening.
She races downstairs just in time to catch Toph.
"Oh," Toph says, sounding a little sheepish. "I didn't want to wake you."
"Or, you've always been awful at goodbyes," Katara counters.
Toph shrugs. "Goodbye, then."
Katara rolls her eyes. "Is that it?"
"Yeah. Why, what do you want?"
Katara sighs. It's a good question. "I want you to come back," she says quietly.
"Oh, I always show up sooner or later."
"Yeah, I know." Katara reaches out for Toph's hand, squeezing gently. "But sooner is better."
Toph's face softens, and for a long moment neither of them speak, their hands pressed together. Then Toph shoulders her bag and pulls Katara into a quick hug.
"See you," she says, off and out of the door before Katara has a chance to say anything else.
Katara watches Toph make her way down the path until she's out of sight, then makes tea with a smile.
It's a harsh winter, and Katara spends months up at the ports, helping to thaw out boats and clear ice so that the merchants have safe passage. She only ever hears from Toph indirectly: a message from Iroh saying that she stopped by the tea shop and sends her best, and finally a letter from Sokka saying that she showed up on Kyoshi Island a few weeks ago, where they're all enjoying the warm weather. Katara sends off a suitably snippy reply back, but it's good to hear from them.
Then in mid-spring she gets a letter from Toph herself, written out in Suki's measured hand.
Bored of Sokka now - Suki's laughing, but she secretly agrees, I can tell - so I'm hitting the road again tomorrow.
Probably be in Ba Sing Se for a while, then home.
See you soon,
Katara pins the letter above her window, and underneath it, flowers start to grow again.
It's a cool, grey day when there's a knock on Katara's door. She looks up from her books, a little startled. Then there's another knock, and it's too loud and rude to be anyone else.
When Katara opens the door, Toph is standing back a little, looking nervous. Katara laughs and simply reaches out for her, pulling her close, pulling her home. They'll have time to talk and to make plans later, but first there is now, and it has its own pleasures.
She tilts down, her forehead meeting Toph's with a companionable warmth. There's soil on Toph's fingers as she reaches up to trace the shape of Katara's face, her lips parted in an unspoken question. Katara answers in kind, the tips of her fingers leaving black ink smudges on the nape of Toph's neck and the line of her jaw. When they kiss, it is hot and sweet, like tea after a long journey.
"Yeah, I'm gonna crash here for a while," Toph announces.
Katara bites back a laugh, and hopes that Toph never changes. "I'd like that," she says.