Hey, hey, everyone. While I haven't watched all the episodes of A:TLA as yet, I've still seen quite a few, all of which contain some extremely funny moments. Now, we Avatar fans all seem to agree that perhaps the most hilarious scene in the series is when Sokka completely trips out on cactus juice.
For this fic, I couldn't resist examining what might happen if another of my favorite characters imbibed with him...
Each chapter will roughly correspond to a scene in "The Desert."
(Would you like to be happy! Well, I mean really happy!/...And everybody thinks I'm high and I am.) My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, The Devil Does Drugs.
Toph was in a state of utter misery as she trailed Sokka and Katara across the burning sand of the Si Wong Desert. The soles of her feet had learned to cope with pain long ago, but in the glaring heat, every step still felt like she was treading on hot wax. Although she stoically refused to complain, the Earthbender would've given anything for a pair of sandals.
Sweat dripped and clotted on her skin and soaked into the fabric of her tunic, stinging her sightless eyeballs. Her shorter legs made it a trial to keep pace with the Waterbender siblings, and the exposed skin of her neck and face felt like it had been rubbed raw with a file from sunburn.
She also felt miserable inside. First of all, the shifting, granular, muffling sand she strode across was strange, unfamiliar. It muffled and masked any vibrations she sent or received through the substrate, forcing her to rely far more on her sense of hearing. For Toph, it was the equivalent of attempting to find one's way in a forest with only starlight to rely on.
And then there was Aang. He'd been so furious at her for allowing the desert nomads to abduct Appa, his best friend and their mode of transportation! She'd been trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea, desperately trying to keep the sinking library up, to buy vital time for her new friends. There'd been only so much she could do, but the fact still remained that the responsibility for Appa's loss squarely rested on her shoulders. His comment that she'd never liked the bison deeply hurt, and made her feel even more terrible.
Now Aang had stormed off in an enraged huff to soar around in a desperate search for his flying bison. Secretly, Toph was scared that he might well just leave them forever, or at least her, to whatever dreadful fate awaited them in this dreadful hell. She hoped he either found Appa or some other kind of help soon.
In this state, she noticed Sokka's labored panting too late, her drooping forehead and breasts colliding with his shoulders and back.
"Can't you watch where-" he snapped in irritation as she heard his heels crunch in the sand while he half-turned.
"No," she responded crossly. How dumb and insensitive could he be?
"Right. Sorry," he apologized, his right shoulder pressed against her.
From maybe a zhang away came Katara's voice, urging "Come on guys. We've got to stick together."
As Sokka tried to pull away, Toph was startled to feel her tunic start to be pulled with it. It was sweatier than she'd thought. She felt Sokka then put his muscular hands on her flank and firmly push her away as she reciprocated, saying dryly, "If I sweat anymore, I don't think sticking together will be a problem."
After separating them with a quick, jerking shove to the Water Tribe warrior's face, her mouth feeling like cotton, Toph requested, "Katara, can I have some water?"
"Okay, but we have to conserve it."
A sloshing, liquid sound, and she felt a manipulated globe of water touch her cracking lips. It tasted like nasty, low-grade tea, but she gratefully drank it anyhow. Beggars couldn't be choosers.
"We're drinking your bending water?" Sokka asked as the realization hit him. "You used this on the swamp guy! Blegh!" he exclaimed in disgust.
"It does taste kind of swampy," she agreed, nonetheless happy to have had any water at all as Momo himself made a disgusted purr.
"I'm sorry, it's all we have," Katara responded matter-of-factly.
"Not anymore!" her brother suddenly exclaimed. "Look!"
Despite being blind as one of her badger-mole teachers, (and it did annoy her to no end whenever some clod shouted that in her presence) Toph instinctively turned to face in the direction she could sense Sokka was focused in anyhow.
She then heard his feet crunching sand underfoot, then a wet slash with his sword.
"Sokka, wait!" his sister exclaimed then in a half-terrified tone, as Toph suddenly felt the older girl's hand clamp onto her wrist and dragging her along. "You shouldn't be eating strange plants!"
The Earthbender heard the young warrior and Momo greedily slurping at some sort of liquid as she was hauled forward, then another moist slash as he jubilantly proclaimed, "There's water trapped inside these!"
The words made Toph perk up like a lizard that has sighted a beetle. Water...
"I don't know," Katara said warily from just in front of her.
The rational part of Toph told her that joining Sokka in drinking the juice of an unknown plant was the equivalent of playing with fire. But she was also desperate. Katara's meager offering of water had taken the sword edge off her thirst, but hadn't fully satisfied it either by a long shot.
"I'm going to have some too," she said eagerly, striding forward.
Katara's hand then pressed against her chest, the Waterbender urging, "Toph don't. I know we're all thirsty, but you shouldn't be drinking liquid from some weird plant. I can always bend water out of a cloud or something."
"Out of my way Sugar Queen," Toph snapped back, firmly pushing Katara aside. "There's water here and I'm drinking it now!"
"Don't come crying to me if something bad happens to you," Katara warned.
As the Earthbender walked forward and then kneeled down, she said, "I'd like some too Sokka."
"Sure," he replied as he gently put something thorny and rounded in her cupped hands.
Immediately, she found the edge with her sensitive lips, tilted the bowl, and drank.
The liquid was refreshing, tasting a lot like the juice of a cucumber with a hint of melon.
"Thirst-quenching, isn't it," Sokka said happily.
Toph nodded. Then she heard the Water Tribe youth declare in the tone of a slightly drunken hawker, "Drink cactus juice! It'll quench you! Nothing's quenchier!"
Toph giggled in mirth. She reached up to wipe her sweaty forehead, flicking her long bangs to the side. Suddenly, it occurred to her that her bangs were the softest, most luxurious, sleekest thing she'd ever felt in her life! Grinning in pleasure at the sensation, she began to paw at them, letting them slip through her fingers as if they were fine silk.
"My hair feels so soft!" she said joyfully.
Then she heard music begin to swell up from the sand.
She quit reveling in the texture of her bangs and listened attentively to the song, head cocked. As she did, an amazing revelation came to her.
"He's so right!" she announced. "The little critters of nature really don't know that they're ugly!"
"Okay, I think both of you have had enough," Katara said dryly as she plucked the cactus from the Earthbender.
"Why do you sound like a rabbi-roo?" Toph asked as she stood up.
Her bellybutton was going to fall off soon, she realized. So naturally she stuck one of her thumbs into her abdomen and secured it with a satisfying POP!
"Who lit Toph on fire?" a bemused Sokka asked as he walked up to her.
"The sun did!" Toph beamed. "He wants to make me a Firebender too!"
With a resigned sigh, Katara, her voice slurred for some odd reason, said, "Why am I the only one with brains around here? I warned you two that drinking that stuff was a bad move!"
Feeling generous, Toph offered, "I'm going to clean all those crickets out of your hair when we stop for the night. Can't you hear them singing?"
The female gorilla goat made a disgusted snort and turned away, commanding, "Come on you two. We need to find Aang. And try to keep it together."
"Sure thing," Toph said cheerily as she fell into step. "After all, we female gorilla goats stick together!"
From behind her, as another song began to emanate from the endless marble floor they were traversing, the Earthbender heard Sokka ask, "How did we get out here in the middle of the ocean?"
Toph didn't really care. Caught up in the spirit of the music coming to her from another dimension, she gleefully crooned, "I am the eggman/ they are the eggmen/ I am the walrus/ Koo-koo-a-joo-ca-koo-koo-ca-joo!"
From up ahead, she could hear the talking ostrich horse give a sigh of helpless frustration.
To make conversation, she turned to Sokka and asked him, "Did you know that my mother's name is Poppy?"
Immediately, she heard him come to a halt. Shock infusing his voice, he gasped, "No. Way."
"Yes way," she giggled back for no reason.
"Get going!" Katara's voice lashed through the air.
"Your voice smells like cut grass," Toph mentioned as they got underway.
"Spirits help me."
"The Earth Kingdom-love it or leave it!" the Earthbender shouted patriotically.