The one that started it all… This started as a prompt on an open Avatar: the Last Airbender fic meme, and snowballed from there. The premise- Princess (yes, princess) Zuko is pregnant when she is exiled, and must search the world for the Avatar as the one chance of redemption for herself- and her daughter…
Little Lan Min reaches out a chubby hand towards the light that pierces the sky, bundled up against the arctic cold and pressed to a fur-lined breastplate.
She's seen every port from Gaoling to Chameleon Bay before her second birthday. She's never felt the languid mugginess of summer in her home nation, or tasted fireflakes at a festival. She goes about in the arms of her mother, a banished princess fallen from grace, the brand of a coward on her face and an adulterer on her scalp, naked but for the lock that marks her once-rank.
There are men who have been broken to pieces and burnt to ash for wanting to tug that lock.
She gets to do it all the time, and her fingers are gently detangled from the pretty strands, her mother's pretty eyes like the jewels in the furnace, and she doesn't recognize sadness yet but there are times when they're like the moon too, far away and lonely when the stars won't come out to play.
Right now they're blazing, in something she'll one day learn is hope.
"Ma-ma-" she starts, and gets a hurried kiss and is passed to Great-Uncle, who is warm and kind and smells of good things. Mama is heading to the bow, standing with her head tilted back, her arms reaching for the spyglass.
And the lurching of the boat she knows the word will herald doesn't disappoint, turning them around to chase the pretty lights again.
Lan Min claps in delight, and giggles when Mama takes her back after she's done being shouty. Familiar calloused fingers smooth back her hair and replace her cap, tugging the flaps down around her ears, and Uncle stands nearby to block the wind.
It's going to be a very exciting day.