not sure how you’d feel about this but I’ve always wondered. maiko child: “daddy how’d you get your scar on your chest?”

There was a stretch of quiet after the question, where Zuko fought a war to keep the sadness from his face, but, as always, he lost that battle. He mustered a smile anyway, and brushed his thumb over his child’s cheek. Zuko was glad every time the golden eyes of his own bloodline peered up at him, so he didn’t have to wonder about if they’d been blue instead of tawny.

“I lost some really tough fights all in a row.”

Has Katara ever cheated on you? Would you forgive her?

Zuko’s remaining eyebrow twitched up just a little, as if mildly amused by the question. “Have you met Katara? I’m pretty sure that fidelity is her middle name.” He leaned back in his seat. “Once she decides she’s with you—or against you—there’s virtually nothing that can persuade her away from that. And, if she does change her mind, she’ll be the first to tell you. To your face. I would know.” 

Hands folded in his lap, Zuko’s gaze remained unwavering, confident. “So, there’d be nothing to forgive, because I’d eat my left boot before it’d actually happen.”

Zutara baby: “How did you know when Mama was ‘the one’?”

He thought about all the things he could say, about how he wasn’t sure there was a ‘one’ for anyone, about how he’d made so many mistakes before and after meeting Katara.

He smiled and tucked a stray dark brown hair behind the child’s ear with the soft fondness he reserved for his children and wife. “I knew because I thought I was going to lose her, and that I would do anything to save her.”

(sidenote to other anons who sent prompt requests: Word motivation is fleeting right now, but I did get them. I need to figure out if they’re my cuppa to write and if so, may take some time to get to them. But I appreciate you sending them in and I am not ignoring them, I promise you)

Hi, I just wanted to say that I really love your writing. I’ve never actually followed a RP thread before, but your threads w/@theadamentdaughter flow so beautifully and are stunningly vivid. Each story makes me feel so many things. “The Villains That Live in My Bed” has me on the edge my seat right now and I adore “Perfect Places”. It’s so fresh and flirtatious and makes me feel warm all over. You are immensely talented. I feel so fortunate to have stumbled across your blog.

Hey, Anon, that’s a really swell thing to say. It really is. I’m glad you enjoy our threads and my writing—as much as I love writing them for my own sake (and my rp partner’s!), it’s… a different level of humbling and joy that other people also enjoy them.

This really made my day. It’s… been rough for me the last few days (well, year and some change, really, but more immediately I mean), and this message put some hope and happiness back in my heart. So, thank you for sending a shoutout to this random person on the internet who likes to write and throw those words into the void to see where they land. I really, personally, appreciate it, and I hope you continue to enjoy and Feel Things™️ from our threads, and maybe even my fics. I’m fortunate you were touched enough to send something!

If you’re feeling it, I suggest a oneshot prompt: ‘come here, you can sit on my lap till I’m done working’ ;)

I hope this works for you, Anon!


A bored sigh accompanied the creaking of a chair across from where he sat. Zuko didn’t look up from the spread of scrolls and letters before him.

The quiet rustle of cloth followed not to long after, and slender taupe fingertips slid into the edge of his view. He ignored the urge to look up at her and ignored the little wiggling of her fingers to try and get his attention.

He scratched out a few notes on a slip of paper. One of Katara’s fingers reached and stretched and tapped the end of his writing brush just ever so lightly. He closed his eyes.

“Zuko…”

He opened his eyes again, only to refocus them–very obviously–on the work in front of him. “Mm,” he said, trying to sound busy.

If he had a good, solid hour to work on this, he could probably get his outline done. One of the toughest things he’d run into after taking up the full mantle of Fire Lord after reaching his majority was reestablishing a solid foundation for the economy. Being at war for a century meant that they didn’t really have to worry about trade agreements or import taxes or selling their exports. Now that the war was over, however, those were all things they desperately needed. Of course, none of the other nations were offering any kind of leeway or help, either. The Fire Nation had been doing just fine during the war, after all, why should they need help now? Except–they hadn’t been doing fine. War benefitted those in power and those who already had money who weren’t in danger of losing any. The poor who didn’t have much to begin with far too often lost what little they had, and the gap between his poorest citizens and the nobility had grown frighteningly during the last few decades–

Zuko.” Katara’s voice was much closer to him, this time–right beside his ruined ear, in fact.

He blinked at the scatter of rice paper across his desk, then lifted his chin and tilted his head a bit so he could just see her blurry outline in his periphery.

“Are you trying to sneak up on me?” he teased her.

She laughed, one of her hands sliding across the line of his shoulders. He imagined he could feel the cool of her fingers even through the layers of his robes. Leaning over him, she peered down at the notes he’d been taking and the old, dusty scrolls he was using for reference. It was such a small, innocuous thing, but the way she pressed against him in doing so was intensely distracting.

The Chun Tai Restoration?” she asked. It took him a moment to understand what she was talking about.

“It’s just a name I’ve been toying with,” he said. “I know the Sages are technically the ones who name when a new era starts, but it felt fitting. I really want to phase out as much of the military presence as I can.” Zuko frowned, his own gaze falling back to his notes and scrolls. “It’s proving a lot more difficult than anyone anticipated, though. Soldiers are usually really good at being soldiers, but not much else, and a lot of them are having trouble reintegrating back into non-war life. On top of that, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of jobs we can try and move them into. Too much of the economy’s old foundations have been let waste away. Did you know we used to be the primary exporter of specialty spices and top quality ceramics? I didn’t know that.”

Katara moved around him so that she was leaning back against the table, facing him. Amusement was bright in her eyes and tugged at the corners of her mouth. “I’d say you’ve been working on this a lot, but I think that might be the understatement of this century.”

He leaned his head against the back of his chair with an exhale. “I’ve got to get this outline done.”

“Well,” she said, straightening and smoothing out the front of her patterned, cobalt áo dài. Ever since she’d taken to wearing Fire Nation styles but in Water Tribe hues, Zuko often found himself losing the trail of his thoughts whenever he caught sight of her. She was stunning in the bold, contrasting colors amid a sea of reds and maroons. “I suppose I should let you get back to it, then.”

Zuko wrested his attention back to what she was saying. It didn’t help his concentration any that the close-fitting silks of the dress highlighted just what physical changes she’d gone through the past few years. “You could help,” he suggested.

She feigned indifference, turning her head to look off to the side. “Oh, I’m not sure just how much help I’ll be with all that right now.”

Now it was Zuko’s turn to laugh. “Katara, please. You know I’m always happy to hear your thoughts on everything.”

The curve of her mouth shifted smoothly from nonchalance to arch, and she tilted her head just so, giving him the graceful line of her neck and a glimpse of collar bone. Her eyes were hooded when she sent her gaze back to meet his. He felt a plume of heat blossom and curl beneath his ribs. “I’m afraid my thoughts are about as far from spices and quality ceramics as you might imagine.”

The heat pooled downward, and the drop in his voice indicated yes he very well might imagine. “Come here, why don’t you sit on my lap until I’m done working?”

Her áo dài’s silk was just as smooth beneath his hands as it looked when she pushed off the desk and slid onto his lap. Her hands found his chest and shoulders; his found the lines of muscle at her waist and back.

Zuko had always believed one of his greatest assets was his ability to focus wholeheartedly on the tasks set before him, and to overcome whatever challenges he had to. He knew proper áo dài had several hidden ties that held the intricate squares of fabric into place so the wearer could move without fear of any slipping. Where those ties were hidden depended on the tailor, and he had the feeling Katara would keep those secrets to herself, as well. His palm pressed against her back, while the one at her waist began the slow, wandering challenge of discovering where each tie was.

Scrolls and policies were left forgotten on the desk behind Katara. They had quite a lot of work to do before getting back to them.

Could you write a Zutara prompt on the modern Zutara pic you just posted of them holding hands? Hm, they meet in the library and sparks just fly

I actually don’t usually go for modern AU for Zutara for some reason (Perfect Places is an exception, obviously), but I will do my best for you, anon

He was always there in the mornings.

She’d first noticed him a few weeks ago, after the start of the semester and her somewhat questionable choice of an early class every Tuesday and Thursday. Katara had never quite been a true morning person, but with the help of some coffee to spur motivation, she got into the swing of it without too much difficulty. Not like her brother, whom she was fairly certain could sleep through a helicopter landing outside his window if it was before nine a.m.

The first time she saw him, she’d really only been killing time until her next class, wandering through the sections of the library with her coffee without really perusing. There wasn’t anyone else on the floor aside from one wayward librarian all the way at the other end, so Katara was a bit surprised to see someone sitting with a stack of books on the table. His dark head was bowed over a notebook–another surprising thing to see. Most of her friends used their laptops for everything, but here this guy was, sitting with a couple books open and overlapping one another, hand writing everything out.

She’d paused for a moment, watching him and listening to the quiet scratching of his pen across the paper, then continued on her meandering.

Somehow, every time she walked the library in the morning after that, she always came across him.

After a few more times, she made it into a little game with herself. Would he be there today? How many books would he have stacked up this time? Would he be at the same table, or the one a few shelves down?

When it continued even after that, she started to feel a bit weird about it. Had he noticed her at all? Would he think she was stalking him or something? Maybe she should say something.

But how would she even start that particular conversation? Hi, I’ve been watching you take notes for a couple weeks now, what’s your name? Yeah. She rolled her eyes at herself. That’d go over well. She should just mind her own business and let the poor guy study. Midterms were quickly approaching, anyway, so she should take a page out of his book and focus on her own work, not some stranger in the library. Even if he did seem pretty handsome.

Katara was a Health Sciences major, but had recently been thinking about different possible career options in it, and as such had started picking up a few International Relations classes. She though she might double major eventually. For now, though, she had picked up an armful of books based off of the extra readings suggested in her classes. Her brother ceaselessly teased her about being a workaholic, but she really enjoyed and took pride in her ability to dedicate herself.

Walking on autopilot through the rows of shelves, Katara deposited her books with a loud exhale on the first table she reached. She straightened, standing above her haphazard pile and grinned determinedly at the top book, The Great Transformation.

“Alright, Mr. Polanyi, let’s spend some nice quality time–” With a sudden, audible gasp, Katara cut herself off, eyes wide and hands flying up to cover her mouth.

Sitting two seats down from where she had unceremoniously dumped her books, sat the young man she’d spied several times hunched over his own notes. He was staring at her, wide-eyed and nearly gaping.

“Oh–I–I’m so sorry” Katara stammered. “I didn’t know–I didn’t see you there.” When he didn’t immediately say anything, she blushed furiously and looked down at her stack of books. “I’ll just grab these and go.”

“No, wait.”

His voice was a curious rasp, and it stopped her in her tracks. She lifted her gaze to his face and found she was instantly caught by the bright honey gold of his eyes. Her heart leapt to her throat, then plummeted immediately to her stomach, where it fluttered like a cluster of moths.

The man’s face softened from surprise to an amused smile. He motioned to the book she’d previously been addressing. “That’s a good read. Are you PoliSci?”

Katara relaxed and returned his smile, though her stomach did a few more flips in the process. “No. I’m actually majoring in Health Sciences, but I’m interested in International Relations, too.”

The single lampblack eyebrow he had lifted with what she suddenly and desperately hoped was interest. “That’s not a usual combination.”

“Well,” Katara began, leaning her hands on the back of a chair and resisting the urge to drum her fingers along the edge of it, “I’d like to try and do something with both of them, eventually. Maybe something with the WHO eventually.”

“That’s quite a goal,” he said, leaning forward to rest his chin on one hand.

“Yeah,” she agreed, feeling a little awkward. She drummed her fingers a bit along the edge of the chair’s back. “Are you an International Relations major?”

He shook his head. “Nah. I’m breaking away from family tradition and going into Political Science.” At her questioning look, he added, “My family owns a couple of businesses, so it was kind of always expected of me to eventually take over. I’m not particularly interested in that, though.” His smile reached his eyes and warmed them. “I’m Zuko, by the way.”

Her stomach fluttered again. “I’m Katara,” she said, a little breathlessly.

It was surprising how easy a conversation they fell into after the initial awkwardness of her unintentional intrusion passed. She learned he was in his senior year, that his uncle had a cafe not too far off campus, and that he worked part-time as a teacher at a local gym. She’d finally sat in the chair and told him about all the things she’d like to have a chance to work on–primarily access to education starting at the grade school level, and initiatives to help people connect with better access to health care regardless of age, financial status, or pre-existing conditions.

It was… nice. Katara hadn’t really voiced any of her ideas out loud to anyone, for fear that they’d think she was too idealistic, or that they’d tell her there was no way for her to do all the things she wanted to do. Zuko seemed not only genuinely interested in all she said, but asked pertinent questions that made her consider details she hadn’t before. He seemed to take her passions seriously.

Before she knew it, the entire morning had gone by between them talking. His phone buzzed and he took it out of his pocket to peer at it. She caught sight of the time on the screen and balked.

“Shit! I didn’t know it was that late!” Katara’s eyes flew back up to his. “I didn’t mean to keep you like that.”

Much to her surprise, he slipped his phone back in his pocket and laughed softly. She felt her heart skip a beat at the sound of it, how it was somehow sweet and rough at the same time.

“Hey,” he said instead. “You want to grab some lunch with me?”

Heat blossomed across her cheeks. “I… sure. I’d like that.”

He stood and held out his hand. She took it, a delightful tremor rippling through her chest at the warm strength of his hand. Her blush deepened and she tried to hide it by glancing down at her pile of books. “Uh… should I just leave these here?”

“I’ve got some copies you can borrow,” he offered.

There was nothing she could do to hide the color on her cheeks when she turned back to him, but he had a dusting of pink across his own face. Giving his hand a little squeeze, she grinned up at him.

“I’d like that, too.”