“You’re a store clerk and oh shit I just spotted my ex please let me hide behind your desk-thing” AU
I saw this prompt earlier and I HAD to do it for Zutara!
The thing about hearing your name being called out is that it’s almost automatic to look around, even if - like Katara - you knew the voice calling it and didn’t want to. The thing about having a name like Katara’s was that ignoring it wasn’t much of an option, either - how many other Kataras were likely to be walking around? The shock of dark brown hair heading her way was, even from this distance, unmistakeable.
“Crap,” she hissed, jerking her head back around and quickening her pace, even as she knew it would do no good - Jet was on the track team. This isn’t hiding, she thought to herself as she slipped into the nearest store, some tiny teashop. This is a tactical retreat.
The empty shop was small and quaint and - most importantly - completely devoid of places to hide: it was all tiny tables and squashy chairs. The only possible place was the desk at the back where the cash register was, and she hurried across to it, ducking under the door flap to find, to her dismay, a mess of cardboard boxes on the floor behind the desk. It seemed there was only room for one person to stand, so, grimacing, she started clearing the boxes away when she heard someone clear his throat.
“Is this… a robbery?” asked the guy looking at her, who must have just emerged from a door she hadn’t noticed before - a store room, probably. “Because if it is, it’s a really bad one. I could hear you all the way from the back.”
thoughts: My absolute favorite fluffy fic in this fandom. It’s written in an unconventional albeit REAAAALLY astounding style (read: First POV Katara writing in a journal hooo boy). Features drunk!Zuko, ticklish!Zuko, and overall #1FuckingDorkinTheWorld!Zuko, but also angsty!Zuko and dumbshit!Zuko who just wants to set everything on fire bc he’s a dumbshit sometimes tbh. You will laugh and cry and laugh and laugh and cry over and over again and I just cannot recommend this fic enough please go read it now edhsujsa.
Accompanying Oneshots if you’re up to it (you will be trust me):
the collected lists of zuko - a comprehensive list of things that annoy Katara and why Katara is the most impossible girl in the history of ever (which is why you love her Zuko. we all know. WE ALL. KNOW.), according to our favorite fire lord
the crooked thing - they’re trying to keep this thing they have a secret; a.k.a. in which things are perfectly imperfect.
thoughts: Listen. LISTEN. @raisindeatre / Atia is an absolute GODDESS. Her writing style is one of the best I’ve seen in this fandom, and it’s absolutely breathtaking. She just blows my mind on a regular tbh. This fic is genius and stunningly weaves canon into a modern AU, and one that actually works (and there’s very few of those imho). Slow burn but worth it. Every word of this is golden (also please read all of raisindeatre’s work, she’s amazing I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH).
thoughts: Zuko and Katara on the night of their wedding. I absolutely love it when authors weave in Fire Nation/Water Tribe/any kind of avatar lore into their stories (it amazes me moreso when it comes sTRAIGHT FROM THE AUTHOR’S OWN RESEARCH AND IMAGINATION) and I’m overall just a sucker for this kinda shit. This fic also achieves the perfect balance of smut and fluff, and is written so beautifully it just makes me wanna cry go read it pls.
this is from chromeknickers’ collection of drabbles and ficlets (they’re very short, but they’re so well-written and they make me want to cry tbh). Not all of the entries are fluffy, so I’ve listed the ones that are!
Currently in the middle of reading this AND I CANNOT STOP FLAILING. It has some angst in it but the in-between fluff is where it’s at, fam. The writing style is very unique and i’ve never read anythign quite like it. It’s genius. Thank you so much to @babyfairybaekhyun for reccing this iufdhsuijhn
i havent been active in the fandom very much so this has been such a nice refresher! Plus i’m an absolute sucker for fluff. Anyhow, I miss you guys lots, so please accept this as a sort of gift from the bottom of this MIA zutarian’s heart. Enjoy and feel free to add more!!!
why do you think svtfoe has white savior undertones???
firstly, id like to thank you nonnie for being so patient, this was kind of a busy week for me with school work, charity work, and regular work, ah the joys of being 17.
secondly i want to reiterate that i do not think these undertones are at all intentional, after the Le Fou incident I think it’s a pretty safe thing to assume that Disney isn’t always as sensitive to minority views and feelings as they are to white middle America
thirdly, if i overlook anything 2 things to keep in mind: i am white and financially well off so everything i see and interpret will inevitaby be filtered through that lens, and i am not a huge fan of SVTFOE (i do not care for the voice acting or humor style of the show)
and now with that said:
Star vs. the forces of evil is a show produced for the 12-14 demographic, with enough rainbow colors and princess themes to maybe attract a number of younger children as well, but after a quick google of the show’s official merchandise…
^this being the only piece produced thus far
…leads me to believe that disney is content to sell this to a near exclusive pre-teen demographic due to the lack of dolls so far produced, which is fine.
With that established, as a show aimed at perhaps the most angsty of the demographics, SVTFOE has heavy themes of rebelling, social awkwardness, coming of age, etc.
Now Disney is not new to the whole ‘rebel princess’ trope and in the past 2 decades have used it to only further their unmovable grasp on the wallets of parents across the world,
…some less successful than others
however Star vs the forces of evil goes a step further in implying that not just the ruling family’s treatment of the princess, or one ancient law or old royal family tradition is problematic, but that the entire structure of the kingdom it’self is inherently unjust
not only is the majority of the kingdom shown to be impoverished while the royal family lives in magical corn brought luxury, but the kingdom is shown to have been built on stolen lands ala America colonization…
…with the native people monsters being so devastated by the white people mewmans troops, magic, and smallpox blankets that the show literally refers to the event as the trail of tears- “the great monster massacre” with the present day kingdom segregating and oppressing the monsters to such an extend there is literally an entire episode dedicated to the monsters trying to steal corn from the kingdom bECAUSE THE LAND THEY LIVE ON IS INFERTILE AND THEY ARE ALL LITERALLY STARVING
so, we have a racist classist kingdom with a hot topic centric princess as the lead, what’s the problem
the problem is that the show literally holds her up as being the destined savior of natives monsters despite being one of the single greatest benifactors of the conflict
not only, but Star is also held as the show’s morality center, with monsters who rightfully hate her labelled as ‘evil’ while the good monsters are those that conform to and revel in the idea that they have done and can do nothing to help themselves and that Star is their only beacon of light…
.subtle, real subtle disney
…all while remaining completely passive to the liberation narrative at large, the show also has this weird emphasis on both blameless segregation (everyone just forgives eachother and doesn’t acknowledge the show’s established centuries of injustice and everyone becomes friends and live happily ever after) and the idea that both monsters and mewmans have wronged each other easily due to the presence of what i can only describe as a monser centric terrorist group…
again, real fucking subtle disney
….that seem to be comprised of no more than 20 monsters at any given time, and yet still placed on equal footing as a massacre, displacement , segregation, and strategic starvation.
now lets compare SVTFOE to a show very similar in both central conflict and themes, Avatar the last airbender
now is it fair to compare SVTFOE to avatar? no. is it fair to compare anything to avatar? fuck no
but like SVTFOE, Avatar focuses on a pre-teen in a pre-industrial inspired setting who lives in a world where the ruling race has destabilized and massacred the remainder of the population, except by means of war and no colonization. However, Aang is not the son of the fire lord, nor is he even part of the fire nation at all, in fact Aang is the last member of his tribe due to genocide at the hands of the fire nation, he is the part of the group that has lost the MOST due to the status quo of the show. Hell later on Avatar even acquires a fire nation main character, the reformed zuko, an angsty teenaged prince who is still learning magic and despite being at odds with his family still fights to maintain their status,
Hey guys! Here’s the first of my New Years’ Writing Binge, and my first request for Avatar. Enjoy!
Warnings: Angsty Zuko, cheesy as all hell, and very ‘wish fulfillment.’ (come on, who didn’t want to tell Zuko this stuff as a kid?) Also this one’s a little short.
Outside your tent, the fire had burned down low and sullen, and its quiet crackle was the only sound you could hear in the Gaang’s camp. You didn’t know how many of the others were actually asleep, though. In just a few days, you’d go your separate ways for the invasion of the Fire Nation and Aang’s (hopefully) defeat of Fire Lord Ozai. As a non-bender, you’d be going with Sokka’s team - but you weren’t worrying about that. You’d been in plenty of battles leading up to this. No, it wasn’t the fighting keeping you up. A lump formed in your throat.
You’d have to leave Zuko alone to fight Azula.
You rolled over and sighed, just a little too loud. From one of the other tents, Sokka grumbled. “Go to sleep!”
You giggled for a second, then stopped. Someone was getting up. You listened carefully. Was it Aang? There was a crashing sound, a very loud curse. Not Aang, then. Then, the whoosh of fire-bending. Zuko.
You rolled to your feet and scrambled outside. “Zuko?” you hissed. “You okay?”
He muttered something under his breath, but when he turned to you, his face was calm, if a little sullen. “Fine. Go back to sleep, Y/N.”
“Ha! That’s likely,” you murmured, and came to sit beside him. He’d restarted the fire, and was sitting dejectedly on one of the earth-benches that Toph had shaped earlier. “What’s up, Zuko?”
He didn’t answer for a while, just poked at the fire and watched the sparks burst into the sky. “It’ll never be enough,”
You waited, listening to the sounds of night, for him to elaborate, but he didn’t. “Okay…what won’t be enough?” you prompted.
“Me,” he said miserably. “I’m not. I wasn’t enough for my father and no matter how much I do to help the Avatar, it’ll never repair the harm I did as his enemy.”
You said nothing for a bit, your heart sinking. Oh, no. While you might be known among the Gaang as the one who gave the best advice, it never seemed to help with Zuko. Still, that didn’t mean you couldn’t try - you’d gotten his story in bits and pieces, tiny scraps of his past revealed in moments like these. You shifted on the bench to face him better.
“Oh, Zu,” you said sadly, taking his hand. “Okay, yeah, you did some bad stuff. Who hasn’t? You’re not perfect, but you’re trying. That’s all anyone can do, their best.”
He swallowed so hard you could see the movement in this throat. “It doesn’t matter what you say.” His voice was rough, harsher than he meant it to be. “You don’t know how hard this is for me. I betrayed my uncle, and my father -”
“Your father’s a lousy sack of dead fish,” you interrupted. Usually you tried not to do that, but it always made you so angry when he talked about the Firelord. All that talk about wanting to regain his honor - all he wanted was his father’s love, and that horrible cretin couldn’t even give him that. “No offense, but he challenged his own son to a duel. He burned you, Zu. A good father doesn’t do that.”
Zuko made a strangled sound in his throat; he was starting to learn that, but new knowledge hurt sometimes. His shoulders hunched inward, and your heart bled for him. You reached out a hand to his shoulder. “You’re not a bad person, Zuko. You’re not a perfect angel, but nobody else is either. And what happened with your dad? That is not your fault.”
He jerked away, muscles tensing. “Not my fault? I should’ve -”
“It wasn’t your fault,” you said firmly. “Not in a million years.”
He squeezed his eyes shut, but then let his shoulders slump down. “I -” He choked off, and ran a hand through his silky black hair. “I know that. In my head, I mean. I’m trying to really know it, but it hasn’t exactly sunk in.”
“And that’s okay,” you told him. “I know what you mean, but if you keep telling yourself what you know in your head, eventually your heart will catch up.”
He dropped his head in his hands and sighed. “Thanks, Y/N.”
You grinned. “No problem, Zu. That’s what I’m here for.”
He glanced at you out the corner of one scarred eye. “You’re really good at this, y’know that?”
You shrugged. “Thanks. It’s kinda my thing.” You paused, and one lone thought flitted across your mind: now would be the perfect time to kiss him.
No! You couldn’t do that to him, so soon before the battle. And what if he didn’t even like you back? Your stomach twisted in knots, staring at the firelight flickering over his beautiful face.
“Well,” you said finally, standing off the bench, “big day tomorrow. I guess I better…” you trailed off, heartbeat speeding up. He’d grabbed your wrist, and his golden eyes were looking up right into yours.
“Don’t leave,” he whispered. “Please.”
“Zuko…” You swallowed and blinked. “I -”
He stood slowly, never taking his eyes from yours, and came closer, closer, closer to you. He gave you all the time in the world to move away.
You didn’t. Softly, hesitatingly, he brushed his lips against yours with a tiny thrill like honey and sparks in your chest. And then he broke away, and didn’t say a thing. His eyes met yours once again, asking their wordless question. When he spoke, his voice was husky. “If we win?”
“When we win,” you said fiercely. And even though everything in you was telling you to stay, to be close to him, you stood and turned your back, and went back to your tent.
Do you think there's a sort of compare/contrast parallel between Iroh's speech about having hope vs the Air Nomad monks teaching that hope was a distraction? Not just with the lines but with how Aang and Zuko sort of are the opposite to their mentors' teachings?
Oh, thanks for bringing this up! This sounds like like a fun question, so yes, absolutely!
We have two very different sets of charters and two very different philosophies that contrast with those two characters, as you already mentioned. On the one hand, we have Aang, who’s usually the optimist, happy, energetic etc. H’s not totally cynical or anything, but after loosing Appa, we see him a lot more sullen, hopeless, and overall more angsty–not too unlike Zuko. On the other hand we get Zuko–who’s almost always angsty and sullen until Book 3…when hes only a little less angsty and sullen
This is where we get this really interesting parallel/contrast.
That said, the contrast between the two lines is noteworthy too, with Iroh giving Zuko a message of hope, while Aang lingers on his despair. I find it kind of odd that the Air Nomads had such a dreary proverb since I’ve always felt like the Air Nomads were much more upbeat,
However, I was doing a little research, and it looks like this quote has some Buddhist inspirations:
This could help explain Aangs hope quote a little more (not quite, but a somewhat).
That said, I feel like Aang may have misinterpreted quote–allowing his situation to dictate the quote’s meaning. I feel like he’s looking at the quote and using it as an excuse to brood, when really it should be about trying to achieve other goals, and not being overly focused on what is currently unattainable.
Imagine if Keith sleepwalks and Lance has to babysit him through the night
the first couple times this happens, lance is only half-awake and thinks keith just has to pee or get a snack or smth
but then the team notices things mysteriously end up in places theyre not supposed to be like first of all who left the milk out overnight??? also why is there a fern in the training room who did this
lance is convinced the castle is haunted again but it’s like, nothing malicious??
but then one night lance is coming out of the bathroom back to bed and notices keith isnt there
so he wanders to the kitchen and sees keith rummaging around in the fridge
a yawny lance with bedhead: “i told you u were gonna be hungry. this is what you get for not finishing your goo dinner”
okay now lance is annoyed like he didn’t even do anything does keith hate him now or something???
he grabs keith’s shoulder expecting 2 fight but then keith lets out an enormous SNORE and scares the shit out of lance
it looked smthn like this fkgmoweifne
cue a bloodcurdling scream from lance that snaps keith awake and keith instinctively flings the carton of milk he was holding at lance
keith is disoriented for a moment but then sees a soaking milk-drenched lance in front of him
“lance wtf why are you taking a milk bath u look like u saw a ghost except u were looking in the mirror and the ghost was actually u”
*dave from alvin and the chipmunks voice* kkkeeEEEIIIITTTHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
since then they dont know how to keep keith from sleepwalking, and shiro said it’s best not to wake him up because you dont know what reaction he might have
lance tries to spoon him but keith ends up kicking lance in the stomach poor lance hes just trying his best
but whenever lance wakes up to a sleepwalking keith he stays with him to make sure keith doesnt hurt himself or walk out the airlock or smthn
lance loses sleep for his bf but what can he do he loves him
keith insists they chain him to the bed but lance doesnt want his wrists to get bruised or anything
lance proceeds to baby-proof the surroundings before bed and keith is humiliated but also wow bf of the year thanks lance
lance also films keith sleepwalking sometimes and narrates him like he’s some wild animal on national geographic, then shows it to the rest of the team the next day. if lance has to suffer to watch over his bf, keith is gonna suffer with him
fkfwkef okay but imagine lance being allergic to keith’s shampoo like, lance finally gets keith to shower regularly and he’s all ready to cuddle and hug him but then as soon as he gets a whiff of keith’s hair hisface contorts into pure agony and he scrambles away from keith, scratching his neck and swearing to mother mary “keith stay away from me i don’t wear face masks every night just to get a rash from some greasy mullethead.”
“some greasy mullethead?? [i cradled you in my arms voice] I SHOWERED FOR YOU”
klance aside if lance were allergic to anything, hunk would be that doting mom friend and mention it to everyone who comes into contact with lance. the two are at a restaurant? hunk goes out of his way to make sure the waiter knows lance cannot have any shellfish in his dish like don’t let it touch his plate sir my friend is allergic and he will die. buying cotton candy at a fair? hunk will def ask the cashier if any shellfish were directly or indirectly involved in the making or packaging of this treat. lance does the teenage drawl thing like “huuuuuuuuuuuuunkuh stooop” but he really does appreciate hunk. hunk also knows exactly where lance’s epipen is at all times and makes sure he brings it with him wherever he goes.
meanwhile pidge is the exact opposite and goes out of her way to make fun of lance’s allergy. “hey hunk maybe I can make dinner tonight. I can make lance’s favorite” cue evil grin and hunk gasping dramatically.
Zuko didn’t know what would come of it, bringing his mother to the secreted asylum, but Ursa had been adamant in her stance to visit.
‘I’ve been gone eleven years,’ she’d said. ‘My daughter was only eight when I kissed her goodbye.’
He’d refused at first, knowing Azula’s fragile progress hung in the balance. The deranged princess hadn’t come far since the psychotic spiral following their Agni Kai, but her dreams had finally stopped haunting her with memories of their long-missed mother.
‘She doesn’t love me. She never loved me. She can’t love me.’ Golden eyes always darted around the room with those words, before settling on his form that wavered in the flickering lantern light. ‘Even you, The Banished Prince, even you think I’m a failure.’
Truth be told, their father had been the failure— though no amount of repeated promises could convince his sister of that. Ursa, however, believed she could get through, that she could help the girl make sense of the jumbled feelings of guilt and love and fear.
“Just be careful,” he warned as he led his mother towards Azula’s room. His steps felt heavy, weighed by worry for both his sister and Ursa. “She doesn’t like a lot of questions… or sudden movements… I think they remind her of our fight. Just be careful, okay?”
A hand on his shoulder stopped their progress, and kind eyes found his. “Zuko, you don’t need to worry so much.”
“Katara says the same thing,” he chuckled darkly, before explaining. “She comes twice a week, between shifts at the downtown hospital, to heal Azula.”
“Waterbending; there was this guy in Ba Sing Se that she helped. Katara’s trying to replicate it on Azula, but I worry this isn’t the same.”
His mother questioned, “Why not?”
“Azula’s not brainwashed, she’s just— broken.”
Usra fell quiet at that, her padded footfalls the only indication that she still shadowed Zuko through the white corridors of the mental hospital. He said nothing more as they walked, leaving her alone to her thoughts and him with his own.
It wasn’t the same. It wouldn’t work, no matter how much hope Katara held. Whatever Ursa had planned was sure to be a failure, too. Azula wasn’t brainwashed. She faced emotional abuse and torment under Ozai. It was ingrained in her. It was her character, now. It wasn’t some hat trick with lights and monotone words and it certainly couldn’t be undone in a matter of hours, or even months.
Four years later and not much had changed— the palace held a little more blue, a maternal presence returned, and Azula was still crazy. Zuko feared this would only make her worse, a visit from the woman Azula swore to hate.
Zuko halted outside a smooth metal door, nodding a dismissal at attending nurses.
“Are you sure?” he asked, turning to Usra.
The words were uttered for the thousandth time, still Azula had yet to blink. She’d been steadily quiet, unwavering and frozen. Not a sigh… not a snarl… nothing came from her but even breaths.
Ursa filled in the silence, swiping trembling fingertips over damp cheeks as she rambled:
“My biggest regret is not taking you with me.” Tearful lashes flicked to Zuko, then back to the crumbled princess. “I should’ve taken you both. The truth is, I believed your father. He promised no harm would come to either of you, but I can’t blame him for my mistakes, can I?”
“You can blame him for a lot of things,” Zuko muttered dryly.
“Abandoning you, though… that was my choice.” Ursa leaned forward, imploring for her daughter’s response, but coming up empty. She settled for placing her fingers over Azula’s, both pale hands now resting in the princess’s lap. “I left you, darling. I left you, and your father hurt you. I’m so sorry.”
Ursa looked away, her eyes brimming over with a silent sob that shook her shoulders. Zuko moved to place a hand on her back, but a bitter sneer stalled the room.
“Sorry means nothing by itself.”
The coldest of gold eyes followed the former Fire Lady’s every move, glinting with lantern light and unreadable thoughts.
“Isn’t that what you always said, Mother?”
“I— I did, when you were little.”
The princess smirked, then twisted her hand so it pinned Ursa’s to the white hospital gown. She glared at their joined fingers before snickering at the startled woman. “Is that why you’re here, to spew out excuses as to why you’re sorry?”
“No!” Ursa yanked her hand away, appearing angered and frightened in the same breath.
It was too much. Zuko reached for her. “Mom— We- we can go—”
She shook her head, her movements softening with the memory of the situation’s delicacy. Ursa’s shoulders relaxed with a slow breath. “Azula, no. I’m here to tell you that I love you. I’ve always loved you.”
“Hah! There’s no need for lies, Mother. You’ve always treated me like a monster.”
“You’re not a monster, darling. You were pushed too far and too hard. Instead of control, you taught about power and fear. You only replicated what you saw.” Ursa’s words rushed out, her spirits emboldened by the break in Azula’s stony facade. “And I know I didn’t always show you warmth. I was harsh with you and downright cruel, sometimes, but Azula—”
Ursa tugged her sleeve upward, revealing a light pink stain on her forearm— “I do love you.”
The princess’s gaze washed over Ursa’s marred skin. “Is that supposed to mean something to me?”
“It’s a scar, and I have a dozen more like it,” she explained, tracing the smeared lines of a young child’s handprint. “When you and Zuko were little, you’d come running in the middle of the night. You were so afraid and worked up, your tiny hands would be so hot, they’d burn.”
“We did this to you?”
There was something in Azula’s gaze that Zuko couldn’t name. He didn’t want to call it happiness, or even relief, but it was so similar to the wide open stares of war orphans. The way they looked at him when he visited children’s homes, the way they clung to his draped robes— he saw that same hunger in his sister’s eyes.
Ursa nodded with a smile, “When you were upset or scared or simply throwing a tantrum. It’s one of the dangers of raising such exceptional firebenders.”
“Exceptional?” The melancholy longing was gone, replaced by a familiar ferocity. “I was exceptional.”
“Mom.” Zuko rushed to Ursa, grabbing her by the wrist as Azula’s temper swelled.
“I was going to be Fire Lord! It was supposed to be me! Little Zuzu— fucking Zuzu— ruined it for me! It was me!”
Nurses rushed in, holding vials and needles, followed by chi blockers with their fists clenched.
He tugged Ursa harder. She didn’t need to see this. “Mom, let’s go.”
They crashed into the hallway; Usra, a resistant mess of tears and tremors, and Zuko, a resigned picture of defeat. Her fingers dug into his sleeves, panting breaths forced passed gritted teeth.
“Zuko, I- I— don’t understand. She’s—”
He shook his head, wrapping his mother in a weary hug. “She’s broken, I know.”
A distant cry for help caught Lance’s attention and his head snapped back out to the surface of the planet. A gargantuan, lime green beast towered over the shape of his fellow paladin Keith, slime dripping from its gruesome jowls.
“Paladins! Return to the ship immediately!” Allura’s voice
scratched through the intercoms, ringing in the pilot’s ears. Lance grabbed his
bayard and scrambled around a boulder, eager to find himself back inside the
warm castle. Ahead of him, he saw Pidge and Hunk scramble inside followed
closely by Shiro. Wind whistled over the palm trees of the foreign planet and a
brittle screech echoed over the top of Lance’s head. His foot caught on a rock
and tripped, hauling himself up and continuing his dash to the castle.
Whatever it was that Allura had seen, it was dangerous.
Lance sped forward, pushing against the mighty wind, towards the ship. He
reached the ladder at the base of the castle and grabbed on with one hand, swinging
himself up. A distant cry for help caught his attention and his head snapped
back out to the surface of the planet. A gargantuan, lime green beast towered over
the shape of his fellow paladin Keith, slime dripping from its gruesome jowls.