"Toph… Toph! Stay with me" Sokka shouted looking at her, she was sitting behind a metal container, bruised, burnt across the skin and barely keeping conscience

"So…kka…" she uttered barely, moving head from side to side while coughing out blood "get… away…"

"I am not leaving you now!" he shouted again.

He barely managed to respond to next attack from young earthbender that sent another piece of rubble in his direction but Sokka was faster and master Piandao trained no fool. As boulder approached Sokka bent in side, having the boulder miss his face and chest by a mere hair and as soon as rock passed he turned toward attacker, sending his boomerang in arc before he could take any stance to bend and the sharp end of his boomerang struck earthbender's shoulder, lodging itself deeply in it and gushing out blood along with loud cry. Sokka quickly turned, rushing back to Toph to pull her up, her eyes barely conscious looked at his direction as he picked her up, placing over his shoulder and tried to rush toward the warehouse's exit doors but before he could reach even half of distance to the door fireball reached him, exploding just beside him making Sokka fall along with Toph who simply rolled on floor. He noticed that the fall broke his nose, and he choked on his own blood as he tried to breathe. His legs became useless, clothes half burned and exposing red skin, burnt, wounds open and instantly cauterized from the heat of the fireball as he tried to reach Toph crawling.

"I'm sorry Toph… I am… so sorry…" he said as his right hand tried to reach hers, she was breathing heavily, eyes closed as she struggled through pain and just a mere inch before touching her he felt foot kicking his side, turning him over and he gazed up at his attacker. Young firebender was just about to punch forward and produce his lethal attack… In single moment before he could execute the move and end Sokka's life he was pulled up in the air, jerking him enough to completely miss his target. Confused and in pain, Sokka couldn't even begin to wonder why this bender was suddenly in the air but moments later he realized that through the warehouse windows half a dozen men jumped in easily subduing any attackers that were present… Metalbenders, Toph's finest came in their own recognizable style… if only they came sooner. Sokka finally gathered what strength he had and turned, to his belly… his right hand reached forward, pulling as much as possible until left arm did the same, he inched closer to Toph, bit by bit trying to reach her but soon his strength failed him as pain radiated throughout his entire body. He coughed blood again and moments later one of the metabenders came to him kneeling down

"Councilor Sokka, are you alright?" man said loud, trying to keep him awake

"Save… her…" he choked, coughing up but man continued

"We need to get you out of her-" young bender continued but the bloody hand of Sokka reached his collar, pulling him closer to his furious face

"Save her!" he shouted as loud as his voice could allow, making man simply nod and jerked out of Sokka's grasp, rushing toward Toph. His fingers pressed her neck and after few seconds he shouted

"I need some help over here!" nearest of metalbenders responded, quickly running toward him, kneeling in front of her and in doing so Sokka could no longer see her face… that very moment he felt utter fear in his bones "please, let her be alive…" he thought.

"It's Chief!" Same bender yelled "She's alive but we need to get her to healer immediately!" he shouted, making another metalbender come to them and they picked her up, rushing her through the door. In that instant as he heard that she is alive Sokka rolled on his back closing eyes.

"Councilor Sokka?" he heard voice but even though the voice was approaching him it became muffled, dying out as he was losing conscience "Coun… r… So…a"

"Sokka? Hey Snoozles wake up!" Toph shouted making Sokka snap on his chair breaking the gaze that was fixed on her "What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing just, another long week" he smiled taking glass of wine and sipped, letting out small sigh through his nose as his eyes wandered on her, not missing any detail. The locale they were in was rather pleasant, small café located near the large fountain. Weather was nice, sun was slowly setting toward the west and light spring breeze gave out the soft fragrance of flowers and fresh grass filling the streets of Republic City. It was a rare moment that made Sokka smile like this, even more as Toph was sitting across the table, still in her metallic uniform.

"Doesn't sound like it was just long week" she exclaimed, leaning back on her chair with arms fold "when it's long week you can't shut your mouth about it… bla bla bla meetings, bla bla bla meetings, bla bla bla trials, bla bla bla boring council work" she said bobbing head from side to side after each bla bla bla. All this made Sokka chuckle loud

"You know me too well"

"Of course I know you! If you are that annoyed at your work then quit and come to my Force" Toph said, blowing few strands of hair from her face

"Oh of course, that is excellent idea" Sokka said sarcastically "Toph you know I can bend as good as you can draw" he finished

"For your information I draw exceptionally good!" Toph pouted slightly looking toward him with glaring eyes "I was even praised in the station"

"Oooooh, well if that's the case then it changes everything" Sokka chuckled again, raising both hands slightly. Of course they would praise her, who is idiot enough to contradict Toph? They'd be left without their balls within 3 seconds and that is if they were lucky. Sure, she was highly respected but more than that she was also feared by entire metalbending force and wider but… there is one man that can walk on her every nerve and still not get her sting, and he was right there sitting across her "So how is Lin?"

"You have no right to ask me that anymore!" Toph replied loud, moving forward and pressing hands on the metallic surface of the table "You did something to her, didn't you?!"

"I do not know what you are talking about Toph, now please calm down, you are crumbling the table"

"Oh you know exactly what I am talking about" her fingers dug a little deeper, the metal simply decided to move away from her fingertips, fearing her power as she made it effortless to create ten small holes in the surface of the table, one for each of her finger and she leaned a bit more forward "Every time I come home she would hug me, kiss me and ask me how was my day but for the last two weeks all she asks is where is uncle Sokka, why isn't uncle Sokka visiting more often and yesterday she even asked me if I liked uncle Sokka!"

"Well, first of all and in my defense" Sokka said, placing his right hand on heart, having a rather large smug grin "I am a very pleasant company to begin with and you know ladies just love to spend time with me" as he spoke Toph's face became even angrier but alas Sokka could not be frightened "second, I doubt she called me uncle Sokka and third and last thing… you do like me"

"Shut up!" Toph exclaimed silently as he face became completely red but not out of anger

"In fact… dare I say you love me?" Sokka said as he fold arms again, moving head forward closer to her face and making her finally squeeze the surface of the table until it bent up which attracted attention of owner of the shop but she quickly moved her hands across the surface, straightening it up before she looked at him "and what did she exactly said?"

"She asked me if… mmbmbmbmmbmmm…" she mumbled at the end of her sentence

"I'm sorry what?"

"She asked me if I can make you her new daddy!" Toph said loud, shutting her eyes tight

"I always said she is bright kid" Sokka winked, knowing Toph cannot see it but it was more for him than for her "buuuut… if you don't like me I cannot make kiddo's wish come truuuue" he said almost in singing voice

"Don't make me do this Snoozles!" She said, folding arms again and looked away "You know I am not good at this so why are you making me do it?"

"Because I can do it, because I want to do it and because you love saying it as much as I love hearing it"

"Fine, for the millionth time!" she leaned forward, placing both palms on the table as she drew close to his face, though she feigning her anger she enjoyed all of it, never wanting to fully admit but Sokka always found way to her "I love you, Sokka" she said in now her normal voice

"And I love you too, Toph" he said and moved closer, enough to catch her lips for soft kiss, something she always enjoyed so much and she returned his kisses, letting out soft smile to be seen as her lips gently brushed against his

"Mmmmm… someone is going to get punished for this" she said in soft voice, taking her chance to place another kiss

"I surrender unconditionally" Sokka replied, enjoying the moment and taste of her coffee flavored lips

"Good boy" she winked at him and just about as she was to allow herself another moment of passion with man of her dreams she dropped her head, groaning silently. Sokka became confused at her action but in seconds everything would be clear to him as he raised head toward running person that drew closer to them "What is it lieutenant?" she asked

"Chief… *pant*… finally found you…" young metalbender said, gathering his breath

"Lieutenant Chang, are you by any chance as blind as I am" Toph asked, still having her head bowed down.

"N…no Chief… but…" as he started he was interrupted

"Am I still on my shift?" Toph asked, moving head very slowly to look at his direction, making his veins freeze

"N..n…no chief but please this is important…"

"Lieutenant… if you know my shift has ended and if you actually can use your eyes" Toph's head now fully turned to look up at him with her unseeing squinted eyes, the terror on young man's face became too obvious for Sokka to miss and he hardly contained laugh as he knew where this was going "Then you won't find it hard to deduce that I am on the date with my boyfriend… so unless precinct is on fire or is being under siege by elephant-rat and their his majesty the elephant-rat king then let me enjoy my well-earned date!" she finished sentence with voice raised high enough to attract attention of other patrons and few pedestrians.

"Uuuummm…." Lieutenant just stood frozen with fear, his eyes quickly turned to look at Sokka who nodded at young poor sod and motioned with hand to keep going with what he started but his hand quickly stopped and Sokka smiled wide as Toph looked at his direction, noticing what he did

"Y… yes… I am very sorry for interrupting your date Chief but... it's about Quan Shin" he said in a little more confident voice, making Toph look at him again "We finally found where he might be hiding"

"Where?" Toph asked rising herself from chair

"At the docks… warehouse B"

"Return to station, get five more officers and head to that place, don't get rookies… Quan Shin is dangerous enough without his cronies and I don't want to underestimate him again" Toph said in sharp voice making Sokka slightly worried at the word again.

"Yes chief" lieutenant saluted and quickly ran off down the street he came from.

"You are not thinking about going there now on your own?" Sokka asked her as she raised her hands slightly, bending her gloves that were on chair beside to wrap around her arms and wrists, tight.

"Like hell I'm not going!" Toph said and checked her gloves looking toward the general direction of docks "I've been hunting this bastard for months and I'm not letting him slip again"

"Then I'm coming with you" Sokka said standing up, taking boomerang from the lean of the chair and tied the leather sheath on his back, following her as she started walking

"I don't need you for this, Sokka. I am Chief of Police, I can handle this on my own until reinforcement arrives"

"I know, I know, but I figure if he is that big of trouble you might some extra help" Sokka said, making her roll her eyes. She would in any other case probably just bend nearby fence to pin him down but she was simply in too good mood to object. As for Sokka… his face turned and twisted, showing his worried side. Of course he worried for her as he does every day she goes to work. Republic city is safe, but far from the fact it is city without criminals. He became even more worried when they started dating, knowing that she has Lin to return to and perhaps that Lin made her a bit softer than she could usually be… Of course he would worry for her but this time… this time his instinct was screaming in his head. His guts clenched as he followed Toph only few steps behind. He had a bad feeling about this.