whale soup

The silent slurp of plankton soup sucked by the sea’s super shark. 🐋🦈

This video comes to us from staffer John O'Sullivan on one of his many research trips to the Gulf of California. Working with his Mexican colleagues, John is studying filter-feeding sharks and kin—whale sharks, manta and mobula rays—to see how vulnerable they are to ingesting micro-plastics as they sift sustenance from their watery world.

Just as the largest fish in the ocean feeds on some of its smallest inhabitants, so too do the smallest of actions to reduce plastic in the ocean stand to have a massive impact on the health of the most impressive species living in the ocean.

Arrangement (Zuko X Chubby!Reader)

Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Pairing: Zuko X Chubby!Reader
Word Count: 1,250

“I’m getting what?” You asked, staring at your father in disbelief.

“You’re getting married as soon as Prince Zuko arrives at the North Pole.” He answered, and you continued to look at him in shock.

“Why am I just now hearing about this?”

Your father shrugged. “It hasn’t come up before now.”

You opened your mouth to protest before deciding that it was pointless. Your people needed the alliance with the Fire Nation, so you sucked up your pride and nodded at your father. He smiled at you, clapping a hand to your shoulder in thanks before exiting your room.

You sank down onto your bed of furs with a sigh. Getting married to a firebender, that would certainly be fun.

———————————–

“I can’t believe my father’s just giving me away like this.” Zuko grumbled, crossing his arms as he leaned on the rail of the ship, his eyes looking for any sign of the island of ice that held his future bride.

“He is doing what he believes is best.” Iroh said wisely, and Zuko rolled his eyes.

“I think he just wants to get rid of me for a while.”

Uncle Iroh snorted into his tea. “It could be that as well. Maybe if you smiled more often he’d be happier keeping you around.”

Zuko gave him a sad attempt at a smile, barely even quirking the corners of his lips up, and Iroh shook his head. “Hopeless.”
 
———————————–

“You look lovely, Princess __y/n__.” One of your maids, a pretty, younger girl by the name of Nilak, complimented, and you smiled warmly at her.

“Thank you, Nilak. You are far too kind to me.”

She shook her head, her dark braids flopping against her chest. “You deserve all the kindness in the world, princess. I know you’re not very enthused about this wedding, and you have every right to not be, but you make a beautiful bride.”

You glanced at yourself in the mirror. Your robes were a light lavender-blue color, with white fur trim on the sleeves and the skirt. You had a dark blue belt cinching your waist and accentuating your curves nicely. You were bigger than some of the other girls in your tribe, and while you knew it was good, being on the heavier side was a sign of wealth and luxury, sometimes you couldn’t help but wish that you were slimmer and leaner.

Regardless, the size of your body didn’t matter at this moment in time, as Prince Zuko would be forced to marry you whether he thought you were attractive or not.

You snapped back into the moment at hand. “If it will keep the peace between my people and the Fire Nation, I’d do whatever it takes.” You smoothed out your robes before bringing your gaze back to Nilak. “Thank you, Nilak. It does mean a lot to me.”

She threw her arms around you before you could protest, and you smiled softly at her, returning the hug before pulling away. Most wouldn’t consider it princess-like to hug your servants, but you were friends with almost all of your maids and quite frankly, you didn’t care what other people thought.

“How do you think I should wear my hair?” You asked, gazing at your __h/c__ hair in the mirror. You may not have been eager about the wedding, but you did want to make a good impression on your husband-to-be.

Nilak guided you to your bed and made you sit down. She grabbed a whalebone comb and started to brush your hair, murmuring, “I know exactly what to do”, in a voice that left no room for protest. You smiled and let her do as she pleased, your mind wandering to your future husband.

What would he be like?

Would he be kind? Smart? Funny? Sweet?

————————————–

Turns out, he was nothing like you expected. Prince Zuko was…stoic, to say the least.

The moment you started walking down the aisle, your heart sank. He was attractive, you couldn’t deny that, but he was practically scowling and he looked like he wanted to be anywhere but the wedding.

You hurried through your vows, and when you were officially married, you sealed the deal by rubbing your nose against his. You thought that you saw a brief flicker of amusement or fondness in his eyes, but before you could dwell on it, he pulled away and started walking back down the aisle with you.

The Southern Water Tribe didn’t have receptions, but they did throw feasts in honor of the bride and groom. The feast for you and Prince Zuko was humongous. Your father and your people had really outdone themselves. The table was loaded with fish, squid, seaweed noodles, whale, five-flavor soup, arctic hen, and a dozen other dishes that would take too long to list.

You took a seat next to Zuko, chuckling to yourself as he looked at the table in confusion. He definitely didn’t appear to be used to Water Tribe cuisine, so you took pity on him and loaded up a plate of food that you thought he would like.

“I know it can be a little intimidating at first, but it’s not as bad as it looks, I promise.” You said gently, handing him a plate that contained seaweed noodles, arctic hen, and sea prunes. “I tried to pick some of the less…flavorful options.”

Zuk-, your husband, you corrected mentally, flashed you a tiny, grateful smile. “Thank you.”

—————————————–

“How do you want to do this?” You asked curiously, stepping into the room wearing a pair of furry pants and a long sleeved shirt with fur lining instead of your wedding robes.

Zuko looked up at you, clearly startled. “Do what?”

You raised an eyebrow. “Sleep?”

Your husband visibly relaxed, and you laughed softly.

“My parents and your father probably expect us to do,” You waggled your hands. “Things, but I would never do that before I got to know someone, so tonight is about figuring out where you’re going to sleep. I can sleep on the floor, or you can share the bed with me.”

“I’ll, uh, share with you, if you’re okay with that?” Zuko said awkwardly, and you nodded.

“That’s fine with me.” You answered, carefully climbing into your bed and your furs before gesturing for him to do the same. He did as you asked, and you divvied the furs between the two of you, curling your body around your pillow.

“Good night, Zuko.” You murmured, not comfortable yet calling him your husband out loud.

“You too, __y/n__.” Zuko mumbled back.

It wasn’t long before you fell asleep, your breath evening out and your heartbeat slowing.

——————————————–

Zuko, meanwhile, was trying not to freeze. His clothes were not nearly as warm as yours, and his body was not used to the intense cold of the South Pole, so he was shivering and unable to sleep.

Cautiously, very, very, cautiously, Zuko inched closer to you and wound an arm around your waist, pulling your body closer to his. He froze in place when you turned over, snuggling closer to his body and nuzzling your face into his chest. He relaxed as your body started to warm his, and Zuko almost accidentally burned you when you spoke.

“If you wanted to cuddle, you could’ve just asked.”

Zuko chuckled in response and pressed a light kiss to your forehead.

Maybe since the arranged marriage was to you, it wouldn’t be so bad after all.

End.  <3