Story [Avatar: The Last Airbender] Love Sifus and Ice Sculptures (Suki/Sokka and Aang/Katara Story)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by devilinthedetails , Sep 27, 2022.

  1. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Admin of Comms star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Love Sifus and Ice Sculptures

    Author: devilinthedetails

    Genre: Romance; Fluff; Friendship; Family.

    Characters: Suki; Sokka; Aang; Katara; Ty Lee; Zuko; Hakoda; Kanna; Pakku.

    Summary: Suki learns and teaches about love. Along the way, she gets a chance to admire the ice sculptures of a newly opened park in the South Pole with Sokka, Aang, and Katara.

    Author’s Note: Written as an unofficial entry for OTP Challenge #26, which is to write a double date. I hope my readers will enjoy this double date featuring Suki/Sokka and Aang/Katara.

    Messages Exchanged across an Ocean

    It was bright, burning midsummer in the tropics of the Fire Nation when Suki received a letter inviting her to visit the South Pole for a week and enjoy the Ice Sculpture Park the Southern Water Tribe had recently established. The note came from the chief’s son. Written in Sokka’s sloppily enthusiastic and devoted hand.

    Borne in the sharp beak of Sokka’s Hawky. (Her Sokka was very creative indeed about naming his animals.) After she removed the envelope from Hawky’s beak, she patted his head and crooned to him as a reward for carrying Sokka’s letter to her across a vast, foam-flecked ocean. Then she read the note itself and couldn’t resist a cry of joy that provoked a startled squawk from Hawky as she imagined being reunited with Sokka.

    Hugging him. Snuggling against him to keep warm in the cold polar climate. Combing her fingers through his hair. Teasing him in the gentle way only she could so that his cheeks flushed cherry blossom pink. Laughing at the jokes only she found funny because they emerged from his quick-moving lips. Strolling, gloved hand in gloved hand, with him through the snowy lanes of a newly opened sculpture park. How radiant with delight and pride his face would be then.

    Her joy ebbed as she recalled her duty. She was the leader of the Kyoshi Warriors. She couldn’t leave her sworn sisters without consulting with them first. She had also vowed to protect the Fire Lord against any threats that might emerge in these early years of his rule. Any attempts to end his reign by assassination.

    She could not leave the Fire Nation–nor even the elegant grounds of its palace–without speaking to Zuko. To do so risked leaving him protected. Vulnerable to the assaults of a world that did not always appreciate the sweeping changes he sought to make in it.

    “I will be back with an answer as soon as I can.” Suki pressed a kiss into Hawky’s feathers. Wishing it was Sokka she were kissing instead. Perhaps Hawky would understand somehow and could carry her kiss to Sokka as if it were a letter when she sent back her reply. “For now rest your weary wings.”

    She spoke to her Kyoshi Warriors first as seemed proper to her. Right and just. Gathering them around her on soft pillows covering the plush carpet of the living room of the generously appointed quarters Zuko had given her when she arrived at the palace to protect him. Explaining the invitation she had received from Sokka and how accepting it would take her far from the Fire Nation.

    “You should go!” her Kyoshi Warriors chorused in one voice as soon as the last word left her lips.

    Ty Lee adding in a trill, clasping her palms together in evident rapture, “Oh, you have to go on this romantic excursion, Suki! It’ll turn your aura the most wonderful shade of pink!”

    Suki smiled but couldn’t resist asking, “What’s so wonderful about a pink aura?”

    “Pink is the healthiest color!” Ty Lee exclaimed. Sounding aghast and appalled at Suki’s ignorance. “And the most beautiful!”

    “Ah, of course.” Suki’s smile grew. “Well, that settles it then. If the Fire Lord raises no objections, I will depart for the Southern Water Tribe to visit Sokka and admire their new Ice Sculpture Park as soon as possible.”

    “If the Fire Lord raises any objections, I will pound him to a pulp.” Ty Lee lifted her fists. “Nothing must interfere with the noble cause of turning your aura pink!”

    Suki laughed although she would’ve been obliged to take any threat to the Fire Lord that didn’t come from one of her trusted Kyoshi Warriors far more seriously.

    Fortunately for the Fire Lord, when Suki approached him about her invitation to visit the Southern Water Tribe and see Ice Sculpture Park, he didn’t respond in a manner that would incur Ty Lee’s wrath. Far from it, he urged her to depart as soon as possible. Promising her a royal steamship to transport her to the South Pole swiftly and comfortably.

    “You should take time off, Suki,” he remarked. Almost wistfully as they stood on a balcony overlooking a courtyard garden with a burbling fountain that sparkled like diamonds in the sunlight. “See the world. Savor the peace alongside someone you love. I wish I could do the same, but…”

    “But you have argued with Mai again.” Suki finished his thought when he trailed off. Patting his shoulder to take as much sting from the truth as she could. “And she has stormed out of the palace in a towering temper.”

    “Yes.” Zuko pinched his brow in pain and frustration. “I did, and she did. I don’t want to argue with her, but I don’t know how not to. And I don’t want her to leave, but I can’t make her stay–that would be tyrannical–and I don’t have a clue how to stop driving her away even when I don’t mean to do it.”

    “She will come back to you,” Suki assured him. Letting her palm rest on his shoulder. Soothing and unshakeable. “You will kiss and make up when she does. That is how it always is between you two. You quarrel and then you reconcile again. It’s as predictable as the circle of the earth through the seasons or the Avatar’s sacred cycle through the elements.”

    “It’s not a happy cycle,” Zuko muttered. Apparently determined to be miserable.

    “Then you must find a way to make it so.” Suki gave his shoulder a bracing squeeze and then released it. “She is not happy without you, and you are obviously not happy without her. So you must carve out what happiness you can together.”

    “Hmm.” Zuko stroked at the beard Fire Nation dignity seemed to demand that all Fire Lords cultivate. “Your relationship with Sokka is not so volatile, is it?”

    “No.” Suki saw no point in deceiving him. No honor, truth, or friendship in it. “I am a different person than Mai. Sokka is a different person from you. Why should you expect our relationship to be anything like yours with Mai?”

    “Then how can you hope to advise me through the turbulence of my relationship with Mai?” Zuko was now tugging and tearing at his beard. It was a marvel that he hadn’t managed to yank all the hairs out of it, she often reflected wryly.

    “Because I am a woman and so am wise.” Suki’s rejoinder was tart and succinct. Silencing him. Taking advantage of the fact that his mouth was shut, she went on, “When you are reconciled with Mai, you must offer to travel with her to the Ice Sculpture Park yourself. A gift to prove how much you love her and show how sorry you are. How aware you are of how woefully wrong you were.”

    “But I wasn’t wrong at all.” Zuko scowled. “She was wrong and didn’t care for me pointing it out. That’s why she stalked out of the palace.”

    “I’ll hear none of that.” Suki raised a forbidding finger. “The woman is always right, or at least she must be made to feel that she is. That is the first rule for harmonious relations a man must learn if he hopes to find happiness with a woman.”

    “I see.” Zuko’s scowl faded as a humorous twinkle began to glow in his gold eyes. He bowed to her in Fire Nation fashion. Knuckles pressed against palm. “I thank you for your instruction, sifu of love.”

    “You must not call me sifu of love.” Suki grinned. “You must reserve that title for Mai alone. She will be your sifu in love, and you must be her eager pupil in the art of it.”

    Zuko nodded. Absorbing this wisdom like a sponge soaking up water. Then said, “You are a good friend, Suki. Better than I deserve after the circumstances of our first meeting.”

    “First impressions may be misleading.” Suki had learned that over the many battles she had fought. Any warrior would. “And you have been a good friend to me too.”
  2. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Ah, wisdom shared - and who knows what wisdom Zuko will impart to Suki? Something worthwhile, no doubt. Nice story of friendship's purpose: support whenever and wherever. :)
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    The Ice Sculpture Park worth a visit in its own right, and I enjoyed Suki's musings:

    Hugging him. Snuggling against him to keep warm in the cold polar climate. Combing her fingers through his hair. Teasing him in the gentle way only she could so that his cheeks flushed cherry blossom pink. Laughing at the jokes only she found funny because they emerged from his quick-moving lips. Strolling, gloved hand in gloved hand, with him through the snowy lanes of a newly opened sculpture park. How radiant with delight and pride his face would be then.

    I am glad the Kyoshi warriors enthusiastically encouraged her to accept.

    How frustrating for Mai and Zuko, they seem trapped in a vicious cycle, neither wanting to quarrel but unable to stop it. :(

    I love this entire exchange:

    “She will come back to you,” Suki assured him. Letting her palm rest on his shoulder. Soothing and unshakeable. “You will kiss and make up when she does. That is how it always is between you two. You quarrel and then you reconcile again. It’s as predictable as the circle of the earth through the seasons or the Avatar’s sacred cycle through the elements.”

    “It’s not a happy cycle,” Zuko muttered. Apparently determined to be miserable.

    “Then you must find a way to make it so.” Suki gave his shoulder a bracing squeeze and then released it. “She is not happy without you, and you are obviously not happy without her. So you must carve out what happiness you can together.”


    Suki and Zuko are true, wonderful friends, and she is indeed wise, which is doubtless part of the reason her and Sokka get along so well.


    (BTW, it's always a true plleasure seeing something by you, especially a multi-poster.) ;)

  4. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Admin of Comms star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @pronker I love your Halloween themed avatar. So fun and festive[face_pumpkin] Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I think one of the great gifts of friendship is the ability to share wisdom as you say, and this story should give Zuko a chance to demonstrate how generous he can be with his friends. I hope that this fic can highlight the love that exists between friends and family members as well as between romantic partners like Suki/Sokka and Aang/Katara because I think there are so many different types of love out there and its nice to be able to celebrate different types of love in the same story![face_love] So I think throughout the next chapters, we should be able to see more of the support friend and family can provide!

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting on my stories![:D]I think the newly built Ice Sculpture Park will be one of the wonders of the Avatar world, and absolutely worth a visit in its own right. And to have that visit be a delightful double date will I think only add to the beautiful atmosphere!

    I always loved the sweetness of Suki and Sokka's relationship in Avatar the Last Airbender, so I really wanted to try to capture many of the things I love about it through Suki's musings. So it is awesome to hear that her reflections were a highlight to you. I really hoped to capture some of that "cozy" aspect of Suki and Sokka's love for each other.

    I like to imagine the Kyoshi Warriors as a band of sisters who would be totally happy to urge Suki to accept an invitation to visit Sokka and who are generally wanting to see Suki find the happiness and love she deservers with Sokka. So in my mind they are absolutely thrilled that Suki will be taking some time off to enjoy with Sokka in the South Pole!

    I do feel bad for Zuko and Mai since I think each have emotional issues they have to overcome as a result of how they were raised. Mai was taught to suppress her emotions, and Zuko was brought up in a way that encouraged anger and aggression. So both have to learn to be open to each other and love in a healthy way, which is not always easy for them, but, with time, I think they will improve in how they relate to one another. I also imagine them as a couple that does enjoy bantering with each other so over time they will have to learn where to draw the line in their bantering. But in the end, I headcanon them as having a long, happy marriage and raising a beautiful, intelligent daughter, Izumi, together. So, in the end, things will work out for them in my mind just like Suki suggests. They will find a way to carve out their happiness together in the end!

    I really enjoyed being able to highlight the true friendship between Suki and Zuko in this chapter, and I agree that Suki is a wise person, which is part of why her and Sokka can get along so well as you say.

    I am so flattered that you find it a pleasure to read my stories, especially the multi-chapter ones! I hope that you will enjoy this next chapter just as much as the first one:D

    Sailing South

    Returning to her quarters, Suki fed Hawky. Then wrote a reply to Sokka. Informing him that she would be borrowing a Fire Nation steamship to travel down to the South Pole to see him and the marvelous new Ice Sculpture Park.

    Over the next few days, Suki packed when she wasn’t on guard duty. Sokka sent Hawky back to her with a message promising that he would be at the docks to greet her when she arrived at the frozen shores of the Southern Water Tribe.

    Then, time continuing to pass in a whirlwind as if she were wrapped in a tornado, she was boarding the steamship that would transport her to the South Pole with the crew Zuko had assigned to steer her vessel on her voyage. Zuko and her Kyoshi Warriors came with her to the wharves of Caldera City to see her off, and it felt strange to bid farewell to them. Hugging them. Ordering them to stay safe and do nothing foolish. Something that was always easier said than done for the sort of people with whom she associated.

    The ocean remained relatively placid as the steamship plowed steadily and speedily south, belching smoky black clouds into the blue sky. As the ship traveled farther and farther south, the winds cutting across the deck became colder and colder, forcing Suki to spend more and more of her days in her cabin, where she was intensely grateful for the thick blankets and blazing braziers with which it was furnished.

    Through the porthole of her cabin, she could see larger and larger chunks of ice floating amidst the waves as the steamship charted a careful course around them. By the sight of such ever-growing in size and number ice chunks, she knew that they were drawing ever closer to the South Pole. That she was now farther south than she had ever been. Farther south than she had ever dreamed of going when she was a girl training to be a warrior on Kyoshi Island.

    Finally, her journey reached an end when the steamship pulled into the ice-rimmed harbor of the Southern Water Tribe. As promised, Sokka was waiting to greet her at the docks along with a welcoming committee that consisted of his father, Katara, and Aang.

    “Suki!” he called out to her. Running up to hug her wildly as she disembarked the steamship. “How my eyes have been starved until they could feast on you again!”

    As a giggling Suki returned the embrace, Katara commented dryly from behind them, “He’s been working on that compliment all week. Not that you can tell. Given how pitiful it is.”

    “Katara!” Sokka glared at his sister. “Do you have to spill all my most embarrassing secrets?”

    Before Katara could retort, their father stepped forward. Projecting the air of calm Suki always associated with him. She wondered what color Ty Lee would classify the chief of the Southern Water Tribe’s aura as–a pale, soothing blue perhaps? The blue of Sokka’s eyes maybe?

    “My son is happy to see you.” The corners of Hakoda’s eyes crinkled and creased with humor. Making it easy for Suki to remember why she had been immediately fond of this brave man when they had first met escaping from the highest security prison in the Fire Nation. Back when the Fire Nation had been everyone’s enemy and nobody’s ally. “As am I. It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Southern Water Tribe and my house. You have been a great friend of the Southern Water Tribe, serving boldly beside us in battle, and you will always find hospitality among us.”

    “Thank you.” Suki struggled to sound poised. Noting inwardly that no matter how many world leaders she met, she would never quite grow accustomed to it. Never know exactly what to say in moments that seemed to demand ceremony and an exchange of ritual phrases she had never been taught. “I’m happy to see you and grateful for your hospitality.”

    “Let’s get Suki home, Dad,” Katara interjected. Tugging on her father’s fur-lined sleeve to capture his attention. “Gran Gran will have dinner ready soon. We don’t want it getting cold as an iceberg, and Suki must be hungry after her long voyage.”

    “Dinner?” Suki blinked up at the sun that still stood high in the sky. Confused. “But it isn’t approaching dark yet.”

    “It won’t be dark for another couple of months,” Sokka told her. “Welcome to the Land of the Midnight Sun. During the summer, the sun never sets, and during the winter, it never rises. Apparently, outsiders find it a bit disorienting. Even locals can find the summer sun a bit overwhelming, and the winter dark a tad oppressive.”

    “You make the South Pole sound like such a lovely summer vacation spot.” Katara rolled her eyes. Sarcasm radiating from her like heat from a flame. “Remember we are trying to become more of a tourist destination. That’s why we built the new Ice Sculpture Park. Does that ring any bells in your empty skull?”

    Sokka did not deign to respond to this. Instead scooping up Suki’s luggage with a grandiose, “Let me get these for you.”

    “I can carry them myself.” Suki bristled as she did whenever she had the nasty suspicion that Sokka was treating her as weaker because of her gender. As a feeble flower instead of a strong woman and warrior. “I’m not so weak that I’ll collapse carrying them.”

    “Of course you aren’t.” A flushing Sokka backtracked with a bow that quickly became awkward given that he was weighed down by her baggage. “I’m just offering some of our world-renowned Southern Water Tribe hospitality by carrying your bags for you. We are a full-service snow resort.”

    “Very well.” Charmed, Suki decided she could no longer resist his clumsy attempts at gallantry. Patting his cheek, so she could feel its warmth beneath her glove, she murmured, “Show me all the Southern Water Tribe hospitality you want.”
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    I liked the teasing of Katara who seems genuinely fond of Suki and Hakoda's warmth. You can instntly tell Sokka and Katara grew up in a loving family.

    I noticed how Suki bristled at being coddled, not something she's used to or comfortable with, but she readily accepts it as Sokka's overture based on the cultural trait of hospitality. [face_thinking]

    Wow, I can just imagine that the sun never quite rising/setting can be disconcerting!
  6. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Admin of Comms star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting, my friend[:D]

    One of the many things I always loved about Avatar: The Last Airbender was the teasing sibling relationship between Katara and Sokka so I wanted to provide a little glimpse of that and tribute to that dynamic in this piece. So it is wonderful to hear that you liked Katara's teasing!

    I very much like to head canon that Katara is genuinely fond of Suki and vice versa so I am so glad that shone through in this chapter, and I hope you will continue to enjoy the relationship between Katara and Suki as this fic progresses.

    One of the things I've always loved about Hakoda is how warm he is. He really is a very affectionate father to Katara and Sokka. A magnificent contrast to a father figure like Ozai, who we see being so abusive to both Zuko and Azula. I agree with you that it is very clear that Katara and Sokka grew up surrounded by love, so hopefully this fic can showcase some of that wonderful family love that Katara and Sokka had the gift of growing up with in the South Pole. [face_love]

    I like to believe that Hakoda would have a deep respect for Suki after seeing how brave and strong she was in the escape from the Fire Nation prison. So in my mind he would be absolutely thrilled to have Suki in his family as a future daughter-in-law (I like to imagine that Sokka and Suki end up married down the line because to me they are perfect for each other and such a sweet couple).

    I think Suki will always have that tendency to bristle if she thinks she is being treated as weaker because she is a girl but if she gets coddled because of Southern Water Tribe hospitality, she is willing to accept some pampering. Especially if it comes from Sokka who has stolen her heart as much as she has stolen his@};-

    I definitely think that the sun never rising or setting would be disconcerting for anyone not familiar with it! I admit that I sort of borrowed that detail from what latitudes too the far north or south can be like on our own Earth in terms of being lands of the Midnight Sun:)

    A Warm Snow House

    Sokka did indeed display the famed Southern Water Tribe hospitality by carrying her luggage from the docks along the snowy streets to the domed white house where his family lived. The domed white house that was constructed from snow and ice as almost everything in the settlement seemed to be.

    As she and her welcome committee entered the house, Sokka sniffed the air–which was surprisingly warm given that the house was hewn from snow and ice–appreciatively. Remarking, “Ah, Gran Gran is making some of her delicious five-flavor soup with fresh seaweed bread on the side. What a treat.”

    Suki had never tasted five-flavor soup or seaweed bread before, but still she found her mouth watering at the savory aromas that pervaded the house. Drifting over from the kitchen area, where a gray-haired woman stirred a black cauldron of soup with a wooden spoon over a red flame.

    The smoke of which drifted out through a hole carved in the ceiling above the firepit without melting the snow and ice of the house. This snow and ice house was an ingenious edifice, Suki observed. Crafted by clever architects indeed.

    “I will show you to your room, Suki.” Katara grabbed the bags from her brother’s fingers and led Suki to a hole in the wall concealed by a curtain. When the curtain was lifted, what appeared to be a small, circular corridor was revealed. The corridor so low-ceilinged that she and Katara had to duck into it and then crawl along it until they reached what Suki swiftly identified as a Southern Water Tribe version of a bedroom.

    A massive ice slab covered with ample amounts of fur blankets served as a bed. Next to that, a smaller slab of ice with a whale oil lamp, a basin, a towel, and a jug of water functioned as a nightstand. A pile of neatly folded clothes rested in a corner.

    “You’ll be sharing with me.” Katara placed Suki’s bags on an animal hide rug spread across the bedroom floor. “I hope you don’t mind.”

    Before Suki could assure her that she didn’t mind in the slightest, Katara continued, fiddling almost nervously with her braided hair loops, “It’s very simple, I know. Not at all like the grand and spacious quarters you must be used to staying in at the Fire Lord’s palace.”

    “I’m most comfortable in humble settings.” Suki hadn’t forgotten who she was at her core. Her primary and first identity. “I’m just a simple girl from a rustic Earth Kingdom village. You’ve seen how small and remote Kyoshi Island is yourself.”

    “Yes.” Katara nodded. Looking more at ease. “Please feel free to unpack and freshen up after your journey. I should go set the table for dinner before Gran Gran scolds me about it.”

    As Suki thanked her, Katara disappeared down the passage back to the main room. Once Katara left her, Suki unpacked her belongings. Folding them in a corner. Then she had just enough time to dab water on her face and wipe it off with a towel before Katara was calling her to come to dinner.

    Shouting back that she was coming, Suki crawled through the snow tunnel. Returning to the main room of the house, where she noticed that everyone was sitting with crossed legs around a low table that had been spread near the sparking fire that provided light and heat to the entire household. A space, she saw, had been courteously saved for her beside Sokka. With a grin and a faint pink flush, she claimed the spot that had plainly been reserved for her with everything but an engraved nameplate.

    “We are delighted to have you under our roof, dear,” remarked Sokka’s gray-haired Gran Gran as she ladled steaming soup into everybody’s bowls. Her smile adding to the wrinkles lining her cheeks. “I hope Katara made you comfortable in the room where you’ll be staying.”

    “Of course she did.” Suki was quick to assure her. “She made me feel at home right away.”

    “That is good.” Gran Gran nodded with the grave sagacity of the aged. “That is how it has always been in the Water Tribe. That is how it should always be in the Water Tribe. Our honored visitors should feel at home right away. Our house should be their house.”

    At this juncture, Gran Gran shifted slightly to fixate her hospitality efforts on Aang. “The meal is entirely vegetarian. Not a trace of meat in it. In deference to the sensibilities of our Air Nomad guest.”

    The pacifist, non-violent doctrine of the Air Nomads, Suki remembered, extended so far as to prohibit the killing of animals and therefore the consumption of meat except under the most dire circumstances of starvation or attack from wild beasts. In contrast, the Water Tribe diet primarily consisted of the bounty of the sea. Its scaled and shelled fishes. Its crabs, squibs, octopi, seals, and shrimp. Stewed, boiled, salted, dried, poached, or hardened into a jerky. Going vegetarian was not easy or natural among the members of the Water Tribe. A mark of how far this Water Tribe family had gone to ensure the Air Nomad was comfortable and well-fed in their midst.

    “It’s delicious.” Aang slurped at his seaweed-studded, five-flavor soup. A sound of approval that was no doubt intended to be a compliment in itself.

    “It is.” Suki sipped from her own spoon. The soup was like an explosion in her mouth. Capturing every complex flavor in a manner that was like an Earth Kingdom opera played upon her palette. The salty umami of seaweed. Undercut by spritzes of vinegar bitterness, tangs of sourness, and streaks of sweetness running like rivers through the soup. The soup that flowed down her throat. Warming her from top to toe. Heating her body and soul more thoroughly than a fur coat or blanket. “And very warming too. Soup for the spirit as well as the body.”

    “It’s a special family recipe I learned from my mother.” Gran Gran glowed with pride. Radiant as a candle. “I’ve tried to pass along the tradition to Katara but she is still too heavy-handed with the salt.”

    Katara looked less than thrilled with this none-too-flattering commentary on her culinary skills. Perhaps her father detected her displeasure for he interspersed himself into the conversation. Expostulating on the theme of how impressive the Ice Sculpture Park–built with the aid of talented waterbender craftsmen Pakku had recruited from the North Pole and funded with generous donations from the Fire Lord Zuko–was and how he hoped Suki and Aang would enjoy exploring it with Sokka and Katara the next day.

    “I didn’t know Zuko donated so much to the Ice Sculpture Park.” Suki bit into her seaweed bread. It was an ideal counterpart to the five-flavor soup. The crust just the right degree of crunchy beneath her teeth. The innards so soft as to melt in her mouth. “He didn’t mention that at all to me when I brought up the prospect of sailing south to see it.”

    “He wouldn’t have.” Hakoda’s spoon scraped along the bottom of his bowl. A sure sign that he had devoured the meal his mother had cooked. “He doesn’t like to brag about the good work he does. He seems to feel that would detract from the good deeds themselves. So it remains for his allies to call attention to his generosity in order that he can receive credit where it is due.”

    “It’s a matter of atonement for him.” Aang spoke up. Sounding like an old soul. One that had been reincarnated a thousand times. One who had the accumulated accumulated wisdom that could only come from suffering and dying in each of those thousand lifetimes. One that came from being the only one who could remember past lives. Previous incarnations. The only one with the gift and burden of never forgetting. “His way of balancing the scales. Bringing justice back into the world. Making up for not only for the wrongs he committed himself, but for all the evils the Fire Nation was guilty of throughout the war.”

    A heavy silence followed this weighty statement until Sokka broke it with what Suki suspected was determined lightness and levity. Whistling, “You know, when you make grand pronouncements like that, I can almost believe you are the greatest guru in the Four Nations. The bridge between our world and the world of the spirits. You almost sound like the Avatar then.”

    “I am the Avatar.” Aang’s lip curled. Resembling the pout of a sulky child with a bruised ego or the scowl of a prickly teenager. No longer did he sound like an old soul. The gravitas evaporating from his being as if it had never been. A restoration of a different sort of harmony as familiar banter rose between the two friends. “That’s why I sound like the Avatar.”

    Once dinner was done and Suki–insisting on being a useful houseguest–had helped Katara and Gran Gran wash the dishes, Katara and Suki retreated into their bedroom. They changed by the flickering yellow illumination of the whale-oil lamp which Katara darkened as they slipped beneath the fur blankets of their shared bed.

    As they pulled the blankets up to their chins, Katara murmured, “If you need another blanket, wake me up and I will fetch you one. I know it can be cold in the South Pole with our drifts of snow and howling winds even in midsummer.”

    “I can’t imagine being cold in this house.” Suki had a chance to whisper an answer before she drifted to sleep. Feeling as if she were floating away on a calm ocean of drowsiness. “Not when it is so filled with the warmth of friendship, family, and love.”

    Love warmed more than blankets. More than fires. More than five-flavor soup even.
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    Delicious meal and a great talk over dinner as the entire family make Suki feel welcomed and enfolded.
  8. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Admin of Comms star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting![:D] I'm so glad that you enjoyed reading about the delicious meal! There should be some more yummy food in the story before it ends because it is a great way to create some warm and happy vibes (especially for someone who loves food as much as I do). And it was an absolute delight for me to write about Suki being so welcomed by Sokka's family! That South Pole hospitality truly is wonderful and heartwarming[face_love]

    A Good Catch

    Suki awoke to an empty bed. Katara, apparently, having risen earlier. No doubt to attend to chores of cooking and cleaning.

    Suki suspected that it was morning. Some time before noon at least. Yet she couldn’t be sure. The lack of windows in the snowy, domed walls of Katara’s bedroom made it impossible to be certain. Especially when any windows would have only revealed bright sunlight no matter the time of day or night during this South Pole summer.

    Deciding to assume that it was still morning, she permitted herself the indulgence of remaining tucked, snug and warm as a baby in a mother’s encircling arms, beneath the pile of blankets that was now her sole property with Katara gone from the room. As she lay in bed, she let the sounds of voices from the next room over wash over her. Penetrating through the snow walls and hallways. Permeating through the thick curtain that separated the main living area from Katara’s bedroom. Preserving heat and protecting modesty.

    “She is a good catch, your Suki, son.” Hakoda seemed to be saying to Sokka in the main room. The warm pride and pleasure making it hard for Suki to be as offended by this comment as she knew she should be. He sounded impressed with her. Approving of her. Accepting her into his family. Welcoming her into his home. That made her glow inside. Not with righteous indignation, but with joy. She was, perhaps, turning soft. Not at all the strong Kyoshi warrior she should be. But then when had her strength ever precluded softness? Even before Sokka had blundered into her life. Bumbled into her heart. “One day you must tell me the story of how you managed to net her.”

    “Humph.” That disdainful snort was definitely Katara’s. Defending the honor of all womenfolk. “You Water Tribe men are all so disgustingly the same. Talking about women as if we are all fish to be caught for your survival and enjoyment.”

    “Ah!” Sokka’s exclamation was triumphant. “So you do admit I am a man after all?”

    Suki rolled her eyes in affectionate exasperation with her boyfriend as she rolled out of bed and began the process of dressing. Which entailed bundling up in heavy layers of fur, gloves, and scarves as well as ensuring that her head and ears were covered with a woolen hat. She did not want to get frost-bite as a souvenir of her trip south. Especially on her fingers, which she needed to be dexterous, or her ears, which she needed to hear.

    “A man or a boy!” It wasn’t difficult to imagine Katara’s dismissive hand wave. “I cannot tell the difference! It’s little wonder I sought a match outside the Water Tribe with someone more mature.”

    “Mature!” Sokka scoffed as Suki crawled along the passageway. Approaching the curtain that blocked the main room from view. “Aang is too mature as water is to dry!”

    Arriving at the curtain, Suki elected not to delay her moment of entrance. Deciding that it was best to serve as an opportune interruption before either Katara or Aang could respond to this aspersion against Aang’s maturity from a Sokka whom even the most loving girlfriend (which Suki flattered herself that she was) could describe as mature.

    “Good morning, everyone!” Suki beamed around at the assembly. “At least I hope it is still morning.”

    “It is,” Aang chimed into the conversation. Chirpy as a morning bird at sunrise on Kyoshi Island. “For another hour or so. You certainly aren’t rising with the sun despite your time in the Fire Nation.”

    “The sun never set here,” Suki pointed out. Her smile shading toward the embarrassed.

    “And Suki will have been exhausted from her long journey.” Katara nudged her boyfriend reproachfully in the ribs. “It’s not nice to tease, Aang.”

    “I wasn’t teasing.” Aang rubbed the spot where Katara had elbowed him. “I was joking. Teasing is cruel. Joking is harmless.”

    “Now that our guest is awake, would any of you young people care for some breakfast before you set out to explore Sculpture Park?” Gran Gran asked. Even in the short time Suki had been acquainted with her, she had discovered that Gran Gran seemed to have a deep need to ensure that anyone who crossed the threshold of her snow house was well-fed and did not leave it hungry. She supposed that was an important aspect of South Pole hospitality. A tradition preserved in snow and ice.

    “Don’t worry about it, Gran Gran.” Sokka grabbed at Suki’s wrist. Guiding her eagerly toward the door. “We can buy something from a vendor at the Sculpture Park when we get hungry. It’ll be faster and better.”

    “You will have some whacks with Gran Gran’s wooden spoon coming for you when we return from the Sculpture Park,” Katara cautioned her brother as she and Aang followed Sokka and Suki out of the house. Into the road laden with snow and ice. “Implying that some random vendor could cook up a better breakfast than her. She’ll say that’s disrespect and ingratitude. Nothing upsets her more than ingratitude.”

    “It’s not disrespect or ingratitude.” Sokka flapped a glove-covered palm. “It’s the truth. Food from vendors is always deliciously greasy, and Gran Gran ruins her meals–especially her breakfasts–by trying to make them too. Nothing is more likely to be bleh than food that tries too hard to be healthy.”

    “I’m sure Gran Gran would love to hear your thoughts on cooking.” Katara rolled her eyes. Sarcasm streaming from her like the light reflecting off the white snow sugaring the ground. “Given that you are such a cooking expert. Never making any meals at all.”

    “I don’t make meals, but I do eat them.” Sokka held up a gloved finger to emphasize his argument. “That makes me an expert eater with a more valuable opinion than any expert cook.”

    Banter continued to flow between them as they approached the ice-carved gates of the Sculpture Park. The line outside the ticket collection stands was short. Many tourists evidently having arrived earlier in the morning.

    As they reached the ticket collector for their line, Sokka pulled four crinkled tickets out of his coat pocket. The ticket collector tore them in half. Returning the stubs to their group as proof of their legitimate admittance.

    Stuffing the stubs into their pockets, they crossed beneath the arching ice gate into the main thoroughfare of the Sculpture Park. Suki’s jaw dropped open in marvel as she saw giant snow statues of Aang and Zuko standing beside Hakoda, Sokka, and Katara.

    “I think that dress makes me look fat,” Katara muttered. Blushing as she stared up at herself as hewn from snow and ice.

    “My artist did an act of criminal injustice to the rendering of my nose,” was Sokka’s complaint.

    “Do you think I look better in human or statue form?” Aang mused. Stroking his chin as he gazed at the gigantic snow version of his iconic air-glider.

    “Your statue form is definitely much grander.” Katara laughed. Cupping his cheeks between gloved palms as they began to move toward a massive ice slide that was a principal attraction according to a nearby signpost.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2022
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    I enjoyed the banter and am happy they approve of Suki. =D=
    devilinthedetails likes this.
  10. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Admin of Comms star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you so much for faithfully reading and commenting on this story![:D] I'm so glad that you enjoyed the banter since the banter has been one of the most enjoyable parts of writing this fic for me. Suki is just such a brave and kind person that I find it hard to imagine any family not approving of her and wanting her as a part of it, so I wanted to showcase how much the family approved of Suki in this story. Because I have a real soft spot for her as a character and her relationship with Sokka [face_love]

    Now, I will finally get around to finishing this story by posting the last chapter here! I hope you will enjoy it, and thanks again for being such a dedicated follower of this story as it progressed. You're awesome:cool:

    Fried Fish Balls and Mooncakes

    As they approached the ice slide, they saw that the over-a-hundred steps leading to its top were created from rectangular chunks of cloud-white snow. An admiring Suki couldn’t fathom how snow could be kept so pristine when a thousand shoes trampled over it every day. Climbing up to the slide’s crown. She supposed skilled waterbenders must be involved in the snow-cleaning process somehow.

    The slide itself was even more impressive than the staircase leading up to it. It was carved from sheets of ice that shone crystalline in the South Pole sunlight. Sharp twists and turns defined its sharp descent to the park ground below. Shrieks and laughter from the riders who careened down it in wooden sleds could be heard like music in the air.

    “I can’t wait to ride that slide!” Aang exclaimed in a burst of excitement. Darting toward the slide and the line of people waiting to spin down it. Katara in tow with cold-pink cheeks.

    “That boy will never grow up.” Sokka shook his head with the mock gravity of an elder statesman whose dignity had been insulted as he and Suki followed Aang and Katara to the end of the line.

    Aang’s enthusiasm dimmed somewhat as he noticed another sign. A sign that warned they had a two hour wait from this point. A sign that he read aloud in a bleak tone. His sad gray eyes inviting them all to share in his misery.

    “We could look at some of the other attractions,” Katara suggested. Hugging Aang around his shoulders. “Come back later when the line might be shorter.”

    “That won’t work.” Sokka disputed with her as he almost always did. “The line will only get longer as the day progresses and more people arrive at the park.”

    “I’m an airbender.” The eager gleam was restored to Aang’s eyes as an idea lit in his head. “I could fly us to the top of the slide with my glider. Then we wouldn’t have to wait on this line.”

    “That wouldn’t be fair.” Katara released Aang. A plain indicator of her disapproval. Especially when accompanied by the sudden stiffness in her spine. “We should follow the rules and wait on line like everyone else, Aang.”

    “But we aren’t like everyone else!” Aang argued. Face still alight with the brilliance of his epiphany. “I’m the Avatar, and you are all heroes! Saviors of the world! We deserve to go first!”

    “You know–” Katara spoke slowly. Planted her hands on her hips. Her disapproval cold as ice now. “I actually disagree with that even more.”

    “We’ll wait then.” Aang sighed. Looped an arm through Katara’s. “The point is to have fun, and we can’t have fun if you’re mad.”

    “I’m not mad.” Katara melted. Lips quirking into a smile. “You’re just an idiot.”

    “I’m a fool.” Aang grinned at her as if there was nobody else present. As if he and Katara were alone in the South Pole at that moment. “A lovestruck fool.”

    Once that debate between Aang and Katara was settled, they waited in line. Exchanging jokes, stories, and memories of adventures past as they inched forward. It took them an hour to reach the bottom step. Another hour was spent in mounting the snow staircase one slow step at a time as the line continued its crawling pace upward.

    At last, their foursome reached the top of the staircase, which was comprised of a small snow platform where wooden sleds were stacked for riders to use going down the icy slide.

    Aang and Katara grabbed the topmost sled from the pile. Clambered onto it. Katara steering in the front. Aang behind her. Clutching her waist. The two of them sped down the slide. Katara’s shrieks and Aang’s laughter streaming behind them like banners blowing in a strong gust of wind.

    Sokka took a sled from the stack as well. Gallantly bowed Suki onto it. “Ladies first.”

    From that, Suki gathered that she should sit in the front of the sled. Claiming the steering position as Katara had done. She did so. Grabbing the sled’s rope tightly between her gloved fingers. Determined not to let go until she reached the bottom of the slide.

    She felt the warm solidness of Sokka plopping into the sled behind her. Wrapping his arms around her waist. Obviously even more fixated on holding onto her until the end of the ride than she was focused on maintaining her grip on the rope.

    She had just enough time to think what a fine pair they made before they were hurtling down the slide. Jolting and jerking through its twists and turns. Sokka tried to shout steering guidance to her as they whipped and whirled down the slide but she couldn’t hear him over the pulse pounding in her ears.

    Nevertheless, they reached the ground safely. Landing in a conveniently deposited snowbank at the bottom of their slide that made their stop less jarring than it would have been otherwise. They added their sled to a pile that appeared to be awaiting a park employee who would carry the sleds back up to the top of the staircase. Presumably bypassing the line of tourists in doing so.

    “We should get something to eat,” Sokka said. Stomach rumbling loud enough to draw stares from passersby. “Waiting on that line and riding down the slide sure built an appetite in me.”

    “There’s a vendor selling food.” Suki tilted her chin toward a stall emitting a smell of fried fish that made her mouth water.

    “You need to try the fried fish balls on a stick.” Sokka pointed out what appeared to be crispy coated circles of fish on short wood sticks. “That’s a Southern Water Tribe classic.”

    “There are mooncakes too.” Aang came to stand beside them as they joined the rear of another line. Mercifully smaller than the one that had snaked up the long stairs to the slide. “For dessert.”

    “I’ll treat you to the fried fish balls and the mooncakes.” Sokka pulled Suki to his chest. More tender than the fish in any of those balls on the vendor’s stall could be. Sweeter than any mooncake ever baked in the Southern Water Tribe. Wonderfully hers. “My gift to my guest.”

    She accepted. Eager to share fried fish balls and mooncakes with him. To share everything with him. To be alive and breathing with him on this beautiful day in a South Pole summer. A South Pole summer colder than winter where she had grown up–born and raised to be a Kyoshi warrior in the proud tradition of her island. The island where she had captured him years ago.
    Dark Ferus likes this.
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] I totally sympathize with Aang's impatience with the long line but agree that if they came back later the line would just be longer. What a fun slide and followed up by such yuumy treats: those fried fish balls! :D
    devilinthedetails likes this.
  12. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Admin of Comms star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you so much for being a faithful reader of this story from its beginning to its end![:D]

    Like you, I can totally sympathize with Aang's impatience about the long line. It can feel like such a long time to wait for a pleasure that only lasts a minute or two. But at least being with friends and family makes the line seem to move quicker! I agree to that if they came back later, the line would just be longer, so they just have get in line and wait their turn. There is no getting around it!

    The slide was such fun for me to write, and I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed reading about it.

    Writing about the yummy snacks made me so hungry, and I was left with such a craving for those fried fish balls[face_laugh]

    In the end, I am sure Aang/Katara and Saki/Sokka enjoyed their double date at the Ice Sculpture Park between the fun slide and the delicious treats[face_love]
  13. Dark Ferus

    Dark Ferus Chosen One star 8

    Jul 29, 2016
    I've sadly fallen behind with reading your fanfics, but as always, you capture the personalities of your characters in great detail and make their dynamics sometimes even more compelling. I'm excited to read more!
    devilinthedetails likes this.
  14. Dark Ferus

    Dark Ferus Chosen One star 8

    Jul 29, 2016
    Your dialogue and humor greatly enhances the story, and I love the reflection at the end of Sokka and Suki's first meeting. I hope they stay together in canon as well. I love your portrayal of Sokka and Katara's sibling bickering as well, along with their interactions with Hakoda and Gran Gran. Very heartwarming all around @devilinthedetails
    devilinthedetails likes this.
  15. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Admin of Comms star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Dark Ferus As always, thank you so much for reading and reviewing my work[:D]

    No worries about falling behind since I know how crazy life can be.

    I'm so flattered that you think I capture the personalities of these characters and make their dynamics compelling since these are some of my favorite characters and relationships in the Avatar: The Last Airbender show and I want to do them justice!

    I really wanted dialogue to take center stage in this fic and for there to be a chance for humor and light-heartedness so I am happy to hear you enjoyed the dialogue and appreciated the humor:D

    I'm glad that you appreciated the nod to Suki and Sokka's first meeting and I definitely want them to stay together in canon. They are one of my favorite Avatar pairings[face_love]

    Sokka and Katara engaging in their sibling banter was such fun for me to write, and I'm thrilled to know you enjoyed reading it. And Hakoda and Gran Gran will always have a special spot in my heart, so it was a treat for me to celebrate them here and include them in this story!

    Thanks again for the kind words and for reading!