My Dad got really into the recent John Adams mini-series and I watched a few episodes with him and I liked it well enough, but
My Dad got really into the recent John Adams mini-series and I watched a few episodes with him and I liked it well enough, but what I was really taken with was John and Abigail Adam's extensive letter writing. I could just see Zuko and Katara starting their post-series/war relationship with letters - the hawk mail delivery system seemed reliable enough for what it is... And this little thing resulted.
Disclaimer: Avatar is not, nor will it ever be, mine. Unfortunately.
Spoilers: Up to the finale
Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls. For, thus friends absent speak.
- John Donne
He found the first letter at the bottom of a pile of papers his staff had labeled "diplomatic relations." The scroll was made of thick Water Tribe paper – the kind that is hard to stain, with ink that rarely runs. Her seal was the same of her father's, the chief of the Southern Tribe, so he did not scold his attendants for their mistake. He did, however, make it perfectly clear that her letters were never again to be placed at the bottom of any pile.
It was a simple letter really, asking about the details of the upcoming international conference of leaders – the first in quite some time to be held in the Fire Nation. She wondered how many Earth Kingdom politicians would come, inquired about the expected number of parties they would be forced to attend before they could talk about the real issues, and asked whether or not she should come a few weeks earlier to help prepare. He'd smiled to himself, thinking of the multitude of servants who had been preparing for months and mused on how long time seemed in between his friends' visits to the Fire Nation. These days it was rare for the whole group to all be together at one time. Usually the conferences served as impromptu reunions but the year before only he and Aang had made it to Omashu. Suki had been in her ninth month and Sokka refused to let anyone else but his sister near his wife, and Toph was facing The Boulder in what critics were calling the rematch of the century. The Boulder was pummeled of course, the child was born without incident, and he sparred with Aang in between meetings. All in all, it hadn't been such a bad conference, if a bit lacking in some regards.
At the end of the letter she reprimanded him for not corresponding with her more regularly. Even The Duke, she wrote, finds time to write down a few words for me. But you, oh honorable Fire Lord, have not a moment to stop and think of me? He'd smiled again at that, although for different reasons than before.
She went on to say that she would forgive him for the time being, because she knew he was new the to inner workings of a loving family. Families do not forget one another, even if the distance between them is great – Please, try to remember that.
When he was done reading he stood and went to the window. The view from his office was spectacular – it was from the palace after all – but he always wished he could see more of the sea. He suddenly longed for travel, for sleeping bags and laughter around the campfire. The moon was high, for it was often very late when he reached the bottom of piles, and he tried to remember if the night sky looked different in the south. He was always too occupied to take in the scenery during his visits to the poles. He looked down at her words scrawled across the paper and missed the sound of her voice.
All I do is remember, he wrote back. It is not for lack memory or caring that I do not write, he assured. I have not written because I am a busy "honorable Fire Lord" and because – you are right – I am not used to the responsibilities expected of an appreciated family member. And for that lapse in knowledge, I blame you. Yes, that's right oh mighty healer – you are at fault. You were supposed to teach me these things. I knew nothing of normal family behavior and since you were (as Toph so often lovingly put it) "the mom" of our group you should have stepped up to the task and made me learn the important stuff. I, obviously, cannot be held accountable for your mistakes.
He dutifully went on to inform her that she would have to go to at least four parties, that the number of Earth Kingdom politicians was too many, and that she should probably come a week or two early to make sure he was prepared.
Historians, many years later, note that this is the first substantial written interaction between the two of them. Many years before that, he only recalls that he sent out his reply the morning after he received her letter, and spent the next two weeks anxious for her reply and her wrath.
Hope you liked it. I may turn it into some sort of story if I find the time. But fair warning now, I'm an inconsistent updater.
I love constructive criticism, so let me know what you think of it please.