"So, Toph, I was wondering if, you know, you'd like too… go out sometime. Or something. Or if you don't, we could just… I dunno…" Sokka sighed. This just wasn't working. He needed Toph, not some creepy watermelon-headed scarecrow. The Melon Lord just didn't cut it. It looked more like Appa than Toph and had about as much emotion as a rock. He would have to tough it out and ask the girl herself. But he could do that, couldn't he? After all, he was Sokka. The man of the group.
"Having fun asking out the Melon Lord?" Sokka shrieked, but quickly regained his composure. Toph had appeared out of nowhere, and was now laughing. "I scared you! You sound like a girl! Ohmigosh, that's just…" Her laughter-ridded speech changed to gasps and she fell to her knees, holding her sides in pain. "You're hilarious, Sokka. Did I ever tell you that?"
"On many occasions," Sokka grumbled. Of course, most of the times Toph thought Sokka was funny was when she had pulled a joke on him. Like now. He turned to leave, giving up on his failed attempt to ask out Toph.
"Wait, no, don't go," Toph said suddenly, giggling a little at her involuntary rhyme. "I need to tell you something. The boy stopped and turned around, waiting. Toph motioned at him in what she hoped was a request to lean in. He did so, not knowing what to expect. "Closer, no, closer, come on…" Toph reached a hand up, touching Sokka's face. She almost ended up with her thumb inside his nose, but she quickly moved it to his cheek. She leaned in so close their foreheads were almost touching, and Sokka could feel his heart beating faster. His face flushed and he looked away nervously, trying to find something to look at. He settled on closing his eyes.
That was Sokka's mistake. The next thing he felt was the sticky wetness of watermelon running down his face, accompanied by Toph's fading laughter at her joke. While Sokka hadn't been looking, the girl had shoved the Melon Lord's head into his face and ran off. Left on his own, Sokka angrily grabbed the watermelon and threw it on the ground. He heard Momo chattering and chirping as he came to eat the fruit, but he didn't care about that. The boy was too busy thinking about Toph. Why he bothered to like that girl, he couldn't understand. Why hadn't he settled for Suki, or even for Yue? Sure, she was dead, but at least she didn't pull tricks on you three times a day.
"Sokka, Toph wants to talk to you." Katara's voice interrupted her brother from his angry thoughts. She laid a hand on Sokka's shoulder, but he jerked away.
"Tell her I don't want to see her."
"Sokka, you're acting like a little kid!" The dark-skinned girl sighed and sat down beside Sokka. "She just pulled a little joke on you, that's all. You should know by now that that's her way of showing she loves you."
Sokka groaned. "But she should know by now that I don't like that!" He rested his chin in his hands, locking blue eyes with his sister. "I like her and all. You know that. But…"
"Yes, I do. I do know that. And so does she. But…?"
"But… it's just…" Suddenly he sat up, wrinkling his eyebrows in confusion. "Wait. She knows?"
"Sokka!" Katara swatted Sokka's shoulder with the back of her hand. "You haven't exactly been good at hiding it, you know."
"I guess not. Anyways, it's just, I wish she would…"
"Sokka?" Sokka turned around, and Toph was standing in his doorway.
"I think I'll leave you two alone." Katara patted Sokka on the shoulder and gave Toph a hug on the way out.
"So…" Toph sat down on the bed beside Sokka. "I guess… um… I'm sorry?" She acted like it was awkward for her to say that. "I guess I just got carried away. You know?" The girl sighed uncomfortably. She just wished Sokka would say something.
"Hey." Sokka placed his hand on Toph's thigh, smiling at her. "It's okay. I just want to know something."
"Is there maybe some other reason you don't like people touching your feet? Are you maybe… ticklish?" He began to run his hand down Toph's leg, inching ever so slowly down to her toes.
"Sokka, you touch my foot, I swear–" It was too late. Sokka now had hold of Toph's foot and was tickling it viciously. "Stop, Sokka, stop!" she squealed, laughing so loud even Zuko, who was hard at work practicing his bending skills, could hear it.
Sokka didn't stop until they had fallen onto the floor. Toph immediately blushed and tried to push him off, but Sokka wouldn't let her. "No," he said softly. "No, Miss Melon Lord, you may not get up. Because I love you."