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28 July 2010 @ 04:03 pm
Fanfic - The Matching Game (Avatar: The Last Airbender)  
Title: The Matching Game
Rating: Gen
Fandoms: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Wordcount: 950
Characters: Toph, Teo
Pairings: Toph/Teo, maybe?
Synopsis: Toph and Teo explore the Western Air Temple.
Warnings: Possible spoilers.
Notes: I miiight have subconsciously added a bit of my own views about disabilities and boundaries in this, using Toph and Teo as two sides of the argument. People are curious and want to know vs It's none of their business.
Takes place after Book 3 Chapter 12, The Western Air Temple.
Crossposted to my FFN account, AO3, DW journal, LJ, and various communities.
Disclaimer: I don't own A:TLA. All characters belong to their trademark and copyright owners.

"What's it like?" Teo asked her. Toph and he were exploring the Western Air Temple together, The Duke and Haru had gone off to explore the west side of the temple while Teo decided to join Toph on the East side. The rest of the group, which Sokka had taken to calling Team Avatar, were keeping a careful eye on Zuko.

"What's what like?" Toph asked.

"Being blind."

"I don't know," Toph answered. "What's it like not being blind?"

"I...don't know." Teo admitted.

"Exactly, even though I can see with earthbending, I've been blind my whole life. I don't know what it's like not being blind. To not use my feet as a new pair of eyes. Just like you don't know what it's like being blind. Or if I asked you what it's like to not be able to walk."

Teo glanced away. "I wasn't born paralysed, I got injured during a flood."

"Do you remember walking?"

"Not really. It happened when I was young." He grinned up at her. "Besides, I can get around just as well as anybody else."

"Of course you can," snorted Toph. "Your dad encouraged you. He didn't think you were a helpless, fragile little baby."

"And yours did?" The sound of Teo's voice was gentle in her ears.

Toph considered divulging her life story to someone sympathetic, someone who might be able to relate, but it just wasn't her style. "Well, I'm here now, aren't I? And we have bigger things to worry about than the past."

"They let you come out here?"

"Look, Wheels," Toph stopped and stamped her foot down, sending a small but far reaching seismic vibration to travel through the stone floor. "Don't think that just because you can't walk and I can't see that we have some sort of connection. We don't, okay? So just," She sputtered. "...just forget it!" After a moment of silence, Toph began walking again. Soon she could hear Teo's wheels creaking as he followed her.

"I can't imagine what that would be like," Teo said after good minute or two had passed.

"What? To be coddled?"

"No, to see with your feet."

"You know when you get goop in the corner of your eyes? Toejam does the same thing."

Teo laughed. "Really?"



More silence happened as the two merely walked, exploration having died a bitter death.

"Toph, can I ask you a personal question?"

"Why stop now?"

"Can I...Can I touch them?"

"WHAT?!" Toph jumped back.

"Can I touch your feet?" Teo asked, shyly.

"Nobody touches my feet, Wheels, not unless they want in on a world of hurt. Not Aang, not you, nobody, got it?"

"I get it, I just think it's really amazing how you've made up for your limitations while I still have to rely on my father and his machines. You said that my dad encouraged me, sure. But I still need him to help me sometimes. You, you're completely independent. I don't have feet to use but you, you use your feet in ways I can't even imagine. If I can't feel my own feet, I at least want to feel yours."

Toph stood, leaning slightly back in the shoulders and forward in the hips, feet firmly planted on the ground. She jut her chin out and thought about it.

"Fine," she groused. "But if you tell anyone about this...well, you don't wanna know what'll happen to ya, got it?"

"I got it." Once again, Toph could hear the mirth in Teo's voice.

Begrudgingly, Toph sat down on a nearby boulder and stretched her legs out in front of her. She cracked all of her toes at once then lifted them so that her body was a perfect "L" shape. Teo rolled to face her and took her ankles in his hands,

gently lowering her legs so that her heels rested on his lap. She lowered her head so her bangs would hide her reddening cheeks. She made sure to stifle a gasp as she felt his hands on the soles of her feet.

The touches tickled at first. He ran his thumb across the arch of her foot, causing it to curl inward, he fingers the dirt filled wrinkles criss-crossing her skin, the tiniest fleshy folds that rolled like sand dunes on the valleys of the bottom of her foot.

She was so used to the warm, jagged ground cushioning and cradling the balls of her feet that someone else's flesh was almost a shock. What was more of a surprise however, was the roughness of Teo's hands. Though the bottom of her feet were covered in a rough, calloused skin, she could still feel his own well weathered hands, roughness which had developed while using his chair while not wearing his gloves. She could feel it the most on the pads of his fingertips, where even gloves could provide no protection.

"It's like we match." Teo realized, apparently thinking along the same lines as Toph herself.

"...yeah." She tried to keep her voice even, unimpressed, but it sounded too hesitant in her own ears to be convincing. She wouldn't admit it, but the idea of being someone's match was kind of...nice. "Hey, Teo? Can I ask you a question?"

"What is it, Toph?"

She had enough of this bonding stuff, it wasn't her style, she wasn't going to randomly go soft in front of some kind, sweet boy with whom she could relate. No way. It was time to kill the mood.

"How do you go to the bathroom?"

Once she heard Teo's easygoing laughter, she let herself breathe easy. Seconds later, she could hear her own laughter harmonize with his.