Category: Avatar: Last Airbender
Author: Mrs Pettyfer
Title: Teardrops of the Moon
Pairing(s): Zuko/Katara, Aang/Katara, Sokka/Suki, Aang/Toph
Genre: Romance/Humor. Post-War
A/N: Hello! So I came across an adorable contest at Deviantart where authors had to write a Zutara oneshot featuring only letters. I thought it was such a cute idea that I just had to try it. Enjoy!
"I'm miles from where you are, I lay down on the cold ground I,
I pray that something picks me up And sets me down in your warm arms." - Set The Fire From the Third Bar, Snow Patrol
Teardrops of the Moon
One month after the war. Aang defeated Ozai. Zuko is crowned Fire Lord.
Uncle asked me to send you a letter to make sure you, Sokka, Aang, and Suki arrive safely at the South Pole. I told him it was stupid to have me do it, considering I write enough letters on a daily basis but you know how persistent he is. Anyway, did you make it safely?
Fire Lord Zuko
Well, I'm sorry our safety has been a hindrance on your schedule, Fire Lord. For the record, yes, we made it safely. Please tell your uncle thank you for caring. Unlike some people I know.
That's not what I meant. I'm sorry, it came out wrong. It's just that since he was asking about your safety, I figured he'd be the one to send it. Not that I don't care about your safety. Because I do. I just, sorry. I'll stop rambling now.
Fire Lord Zuko
P.S. Uncle rather enjoyed your last letter. He was grinning for two days straight.
It's okay, I forgive you. I'm glad Iroh enjoyed it; I sure did. But seriously, I know you must be incredibly busy. I mean, running a country and all. How is that going by the way?
P.S. Everyone says hi.
Everything is going pretty well, actually. Caldera City didn't really suffer much from the war, but the same cannot be said about some of the smaller villages. We have been working hard to restore them. I still receive dirty looks from some of the villagers, though. I hope they eventually put their trust in me as Fire Lord.
Speaking of rebuilding, how is it going at your tribe? Sokka wrote to me the other day and asked my opinion on a type of ship they are building.
Tell everyone I said hi. I miss you guys.
Fire Lord Zuko
Why such formalities? Every time I see 'Fire Lord Zuko' I feel like I need to sign my name with more importance. How about, 'All Mighty Master Katara of the Southern Water Tribe?' Hmmm, I think that might be too long. Oh well.
I'm glad to hear things are running relatively smoothly. I can imagine there would be some issues amongst the villages. Don't worry, though. I can't imagine anyone more fitting to be Fire Lord than you and with time they will realize it, too.
Be sure to restore Jang Hui. We stopped there once and the poor village was being run by part of the Fire Nation army and their smelting factory polluted their water and limited their resources. It was really sad but I took care of it. I sort of demolished the factory. Sorry about that, but it needed to be done.
Our tribe is looking wonderful! Waterbender's from the North have helped restore our village to its former glory. It's nowhere near as extravagant as the Northern Tribe, but it's still come a long way. You should visit sometime! You have to try my Sea Prunes.
And Sokka wrote to you? He didn't tell me that. But to answer your question: Yes, our tribesmen are exploring new designs for trade ships. I think they were inspired by the ones of your nation. We have to import steel first, though.
Everyone misses you too. It's weird having the group split up like this. Aang and Toph just left yesterday to visit Gaoling. That's Toph's home, by the way. Aang had to do Avatar business and dragged Toph along. Apparently she's been avoiding her parents.
Katara, All Mighty Master of the Southern Water Tribe.
Sorry this letter is later than usual. Uncle left for Ba Sing Se to check on the Jasmine Dragon. Without his guidance, I feel more swamped than ever. I feel bad because I need him here. But I know he loves his tea shop, and maybe wants to settle down in Ba Sing Se. I just can't imagine him not being here by my side.
I will put Jang Hui on my list. So far we've been to three villages on the Crescent Islands. Apparently with the volcano eruption they were pretty damaged. One of the villages, Ming Shu, was horrible. Because of the volcano eruption, almost everyone is scarred and suffering from disease. I felt so terrible that I couldn't sleep right for two days.
I'm glad that everything is going well with your village. And I've heard of your Sea Prunes. I think I'll stick with my own diet, thank you. By the way, have Sokka send me the design layout for the ship. I sent him a reply but haven't heard back yet.
I received a letter from Toph and Aang a few days ago. Apparently things didn't go well with her parents…? I understood they were stopping in other Earth Kingdom villages on the way back to the South Pole. Hope your tribe is ready to handle a pissed off blind Earthbender.
Sorry for the formalities. I write so many letters a day that it becomes habit. And yes, your title is definitely too long and a bit inaccurate.
Dear Just Zuko,
I like that title better. It fits you more, somehow. I guess it's because even though you're technically the Fire Lord, you'll always be just Zuko to me. Anyway, thanks for replying sooner. Three weeks seemed like forever. Give your firehawks extra treats for being so cooperative.
Poor Ming Shu, that sounds horrible. I'm sorry to hear about it. I hope everything gets better. If the citizens need more healing, let me know and I'll be there and do as much as I can. I'm certified now, you know. Officially.
The reason Sokka hasn't responded is because he's been really busy carving Suki's betrothal necklace and just finished. Can you believe it? I'm going to have a sister! I'm so excited that I almost can't stand it. If he doesn't ask her soon I'm going to do it for him. What does your nation do for betrothals or proposals? Do you carve a necklace, too? I always wondered about that amongst the different nations.
No, Toph's parents wanted her to stay home and she wanted to help us restore the nations. It didn't apparently end too well. Now they're stopping at Haru's village and their sister. I haven't heard much from Aang lately though. How's Mai by the way? I can't believe I forgot to ask!
P.S. You miss your uncle. That's understandable as he's been a big part of your life. I hope things work out for you and maybe he'll be back soon?
P.S.S. Don't insult my completely accurate title or my Sea Prunes. Jerk.
My apologizes for offending you, All Mighty Whatever Else Katara.
Sorry, this letter is another late one. The council has been drilling me lately. I received a letter from Uncle and he's coming back in a week. The Jasmine Dragon was doing so well he's able to open another shop. He complained that the air wasn't right in Ba Sing Se for his tea and that he needed salt from the sea. He's letting the old owner run the Dragon and opening another in Caldera City. I'm beyond thrilled to have him back.
I can't imagine living in the South Pole and the only way of sending a letter is by personally traveling by sea. At least your ships are progressing. I received Sokka's layout and it looks really great. I'll have my captain send you one of our ships so you can get started with steel trade. My personal gift to your tribe for wrecking it those so many months ago. Can you believe it's already been 4 months since the end of the war?
Sokka is proposing to Suki? That's exciting. I suppose congratulations are in order then. No, our nation doesn't carve necklaces. This is actually a very sacred Fire Nation secret that I'm not supposed to share with anyone outside our nation. You should consider yourself special. There's a small island called Pearl Island just east of Ember Island that's covered in Fire Lilies, our national flower. When a man wants to propose, he has to prove himself worthy and retrieve an oyster from the bottom of the sea just off the shores of the island. Before you freak out, no one has ever drowned. The water isn't too deep but finding the right oyster can be difficult.
After you find one, you have to break it open, and make sure it has a pearl inside. According to my uncle, it's easier said than done as most oysters don't have pearls inside. After you find a pearl, you place it inside a red Fire Lily, which is the symbol of everlasting love in the Fire Nation, and present it to your significant other. If she accepts, the pearl goes into a ring in which she'll wear on her left hand. Apparently our nation had to be complicated. I would have rather carved a necklace.
Of course we do betrothals and arranged marriages, but that's another story.
And Mai is doing well. She doesn't really do much around the palace and I feel bad. I know she's bored but I don't want to ask her to do work, you know? I'm thinking of writing to Ty Lee. I know Mai misses her. What is Suki going to do about the Kyoshi Warriors, if she marries Sokka?
Sorry this letter was so long. I hope it sort of makes up for the four week absence.
P.S. I visited Azula last week.
Wow, that was a long letter. You are forgiven for making me wait. I was about to send another one to make sure my first one wasn't lost. You have no idea how much I depend on your letters, as odd as that sounds. Not that I don't love being home, because I do, it's just I feel sort of trapped in a way. After traveling the world, settling down here makes me sort of long for adventure.
I'm so happy Iroh is coming back to the Fire Nation. Please tell him I said hello and good luck with his new shop. I have a feeling his return has nothing to do with the air, though.
You visited Azula? How is she doing? I have to admit that even after everything she did, what she became truly made me sad. It was tough for me to see, and I know it must have been hard for you.
On a lighter note, guess what? Sokka proposed two days ago and Suki said yes! Not that I thought she wouldn't, but it was still wonderful to hear. Her necklace is really pretty. He carved a sort of combination of a fan (representing the Kyoshi Warriors) and the Water Tribe insignia on the moonstone pendant. I think he's the first to marry into another nation from our tribe. It's really exciting.
Pearl diving, huh? That's really sweet, actually. But you know the pearl is known as the 'teardrops of the moon,' right? That's a bit ironic, seeing as your element is the sun and not the moon. I didn't know the Fire Lilies came in red, actually. I had only seen orange ones. What do those mean? Do the different colors all have different meanings? I wish the South Pole had flowers.
The topic of the Kyoshi Warriors came up just today. I can't believe it but Sokka is going to move to Kyoshi Island so Suki can continue being with the girls. Suki was going to stay in the South Pole but I guess Sokka didn't think she'd be as happy. He really loves her.
Their wedding is during the summer solstice, two weeks after the Hundred Years War Anniversary party that apparently you forgot to invite me to? I can't believe you, Fire Lord. Hosting a party and forgetting to invite a guest of honor? I'm offended.
P.S. You should write Ty Lee. I'm sure she'd love to visit, or perhaps Mai could visit Kyoshi Island? I'm still mad at you by the way.
P.S.S. I can't believe you're giving us a navy ship. That type of gift is completely ridiculous, but I'm sure my dad and Sokka will be thrilled. So thank you.
I know what you mean. Our letters keep me sane and remind me of a less complicated world. I wish you were here in person, though. At least we'll get to see each other at the Anniversary party in a couple months. Which by the way, I did invite you to. You probably have the invitation now and feel really bad about scolding me. We sent about twenty letters with each messenger hawk so they might not have gone straight to your tribe first. Sorry, I'll make sure the hawks know you and your tribe comes first. Always.
Uncle's shop is going really well and he claims the air is perfect. I don't know what you meant in your last letter. Clearly the salt is important. He has already talked about opening up another one in Piandao's village. I don't know how to rein him in.
I did know the pearl was known as the teardrops of the moon. There's a long story about that but I don't want to bore you with Fire Nation legends. And yes, the different colors of the lilies represent something different. White lilies are for funerals and times of sorrow; yellow ones are for friendship and most commonly used as gifts; pink ones are for appreciation as a thank you; and orange ones are for times of celebration.
Maybe you can have flowers in the South Pole.
I can't believe Sokka is going to leave your tribe. At least he'll visit often, right? Kyoshi Island shouldn't take more than a few days by ship. Even less if they use a war balloon. Which by the way, we've been reproducing to sell to other nations. Interested?
Just kidding. Your tribe can have several for free. And you're welcome for the ship. I still don't feel like it amounts to the damage I've done in the past.
Aang visited for a few days this past week. Though I bet you already know that. It was good to see him even if we had to mainly discuss the nations. He's got a lot on his plate right now. I'm glad I'm only responsible for one nation. He has to worry about all four. Well, three now.
The visit with Azula was…fine. I guess. She surprisingly didn't say a word to me while I was in her cell. Not even a threat or taunt. She just stared out of her window. But when I left, I thought I heard her mutter 'see you, brother' but I may be wrong. The healers say she's doing well and recovering. They don't think she's completely mentally unstable, only that she had a mental breakdown which could have resulted in something traumatic. I don't know what else to do.
P.S. Mai is visiting Kyoshi Island for the next two weeks. She stormed out earlier after I asked her if she wanted to say hi to you. Moody, much?
I finally got your invitation. Sorry I berated you and took almost a month to reply. I've been helping Suki plan out the ceremony and we visited Kyoshi Island for two weeks. Mai was there and seemed happy to see Ty Lee. Don't be too hard on her. She probably feels partially guilty for betraying Azula. Which by the way, I'm pleased to her of her recovery. I like to think there is some good in everyone, and only time will tell if there's any left in her. All you can do is hope.
Aang was really happy when he got back. I think he missed you, just like me. Toph hates the snow more than she hated the sand in the desert. And trust me, that's saying something. You should see her in her little Eskimo coat Gran Gran made for her. She's so cute!
Things with Aang feel sort of weird at the moment. I've talked to Suki and Toph about it but I feel like I need a guy's opinion that's also in a relationship besides my idiot of a brother. How much do you miss Mai when she's gone? Because believe it or not, I missed Aang's presence more than I missed him as a boyfriend and now that he's back, it's just…different. Something just doesn't feel right anymore. Is that horrible?
And thank you so much for the bundle of lilies! Now I can have a little sunshine in the South Pole. The oranges, whites, pinks, and yellows together are simply beautiful. I feel jealous of Mai who gets them all the time.
P.S. Stop giving us such extravagant gifts! You make us sound like peasants or something. And the ship arrived today. It's huge! Sokka stopped eating to examine it when it arrived. That's a big deal.
P.S.S. What is the Fire Nation legend about the pearl being called teardrops of the moon? I'm curious.
Usually, when someone cares about someone else, or their nation for the matter, they sometimes express that care with gifts. But maybe that's just how we do things in the Fire Nation. At least Sokka is grateful.
I wish I could see Toph in her coat. I just sent her a letter about it actually. I hope she doesn't get too angry with me for asking. Do I get one too?
To be honest with you, I feel like Mai and I are growing apart. She wrote to me and said she wants to stay another two or three weeks. I still love her and care about her, but I'm not so sure if she's the one I'm supposed to be with. As Uncle would say, destiny is a funny thing. Actually, he did say that just now. He was reading over my shoulder as I was writing. Don't worry, I just yelled at him and he's gone back to his game of Pai Sho.
Since the Anniversary party is only four months away, things have been even more hectic at the palace. The royal coordinator keeps asking me the most ridiculous questions. Like I care about the color of the napkins! You should be here to take care of this.
P.S. I'm glad you liked the lilies. Mai doesn't like flowers. She says to give someone a gift that dies is depressing. And I forgot to mention, no, I don't think you're horrible for feeling that way about Aang. Sometimes feelings change.
P.S.S. Don't take that long to send back a letter.
I've decided to accept your gifts as an act of compassion. Who knew you could be so thoughtful? My dad sent you a personal thank you letter. You should receive it soon, I think. By the way, I saw the reply Toph sent you. I'm sure you had a good laugh from that. I sure did!
What is this bet regarding gold? Did I miss something here? She said she was going to win the bet. I don't understand.
You know, I never thought I'd live to see the day of the Fire Lord asking for Water Tribe clothing! Of course you can have one! Gran Gran will be pleased. She really enjoys making them.
Well, I talked to Aang and how I felt, and we both agreed that maybe it would be best if we were friends. He's not the little boy that seeks my attention and I'm not the girl who adored it anymore. We've grown up in the past few months and realized sometimes some things aren't meant to be. Your Uncle is right and you shouldn't be so mean to him! Destiny really is a funny thing.
Make the napkins blue! Wouldn't that be something unexpected? Red and gold decorations with blue napkins. Actually, you should probably use colors of all four nations to show unity. Not that it would look very pretty together…but still.
How can Mai not see the beauty in those lilies? They represent different meanings that are a part of our lives. The flowers bloom and flourish in a perfect cycle of life, just like all of us. I think they're beautiful. You can send me as many as you want!
P.S. You're right. Feelings do change. Sometimes for the better, I think.
P.S.S. Even though I'm home and everything looks great, it feels really empty and I don't know why.
It's been almost a month and I haven't heard from you. Toph didn't hire an assassin to kill you for harassing her about her coat, did she? I hope not.
Of course Toph didn't. She only yelled a bit; nothing too serious. I'm sorry for the wait. My letters might be less frequent from now on. The council and the coordinators are off their rockers with planning. I finally handed everything over to my advisor and Uncle. You'd be surprised how serious Uncle is taking the decorations and food preparation. Don't even get me started on the tea.
Thank you for the coat. I've never had someone personally sew me clothing. Growing up we always had servant's custom make our clothes but that's not the same as this. Tell your grandmother thank you. I wish I could have personally come there to get it, but they won't let me leave.
I'm sorry to hear about you and Aang. Sort of. Sorry because he's probably more upset than he'd let you know but then again I'm not because I don't think he's your type. No sense in being with the wrong person when the right one is out there waiting.
You don't get any more flowers until I see you. Let that give you something to look forward to. Can you believe the Anniversary is only a few months away? I'm really excited to see everyone together. Especially ready to see you. And don't worry about the bet. That's between me and Toph. I have to agree, I think she's going to win.
P.S. Mai and I are no longer together. She's moving to Kyoshi Island to be a warrior with Ty Lee and their gang. I'm really happy for her because I know that's where she belongs.
P.S.S. Azula is still saying nothing, but when I left yesterday she told me I was a powerful bender and should be proud. I think that counts for something.
I have to wait that long for flowers? Then again, I shouldn't complain. Can I tell you something amazing? The lilies you sent me haven't died! It's been what, almost two months? Is there some type of magic to them? I don't think magic is the right word but I can't think of anything else.
So your excuse for not visiting is because the council won't let you leave? Shameful, Fire Lord. I at least have a reasonable explanation. I've been restoring, literally with Waterbending, my village and am helping to plan my brother's ceremony.
I'm sort of sorry to hear about you and Mai, too. As long as you're both happy, I guess that's all that really matters. Suki told me the news after I got your letter. She's excited to have a knives expert added to their group. After all your ups and downs, you really don't think she's the right person?
And what do you mean Aang's not my type? I didn't know I had a particular one…
P.S. Azula is right. You are a powerful bender. I wish I had realized that before.
P.S.S. What is the story about the pearl? And what is this bet, seriously?
Why haven't you responded to my letter? I know you said you were busy, but still. It's been almost a month. Is everything okay?
YOU CAME TO OUR TRIBE AND DIDN'T TELL ME? Seriously, Zuko? The weekend I went with Suki and Toph to Kyoshi Island, you visited without word? What is up with that? How could you do that to me? After months and months and I've missed you and you just…you didn't wait. Why?
Fire Lord Zuko of Caldera City, Fire Nation Capital and one guest:
You are cordially invited to the ceremony of Master Suki and Master Sokka as they will join in matrimony on the day of the summer solstice on Kyoshi Island at sunset. Please join us for a time of celebration and love.
-Zuko, I'm marking on my own invitation. Do you understand that? You better write Katara back soon. Aang let slip you visited while she was gone. She's pissed. - Sokka
-And don't bring a guest, idiot! – Suki
- Did not! She tricked me! - Aang
If you don't respond to Sugar Queen, I think she's going to have a meltdown. She's been really irritable lately and I'm about sick of it. Did I tell you that Twinkle Toes kissed me the other day? Yeah…random, right? Katara knows. She's actually happy about it.
P.S. You owe me twenty gold pieces. I called it.
Calm down. I'm writing you right now.
Really? You and Aang? Wow. Uncle is happy for you. I just told him the news. I'm writing Katara now so stop freaking out. And tell Sokka and Suki thanks for the invite and I'm sorry they had to write on it. I guess I do owe you the gold, though I had a feeling I would lose the bet as soon as I took it. I owe Uncle twenty pieces too. You guys are breaking me.
P.S. STOP CALLING ME ZUZU!
I'm sorry for taking so long to write and not telling you I would be visiting though I was only there for two days. I've been sort of busy as of late and had to sail back. Hopefully I can make it up to you at the party in three weeks.
That's it? After over a month of nothing that's all I get? You didn't even answer my questions! What could you have possibly been doing that took up so much time? You're not even planning the Anniversary anymore! And you couldn't have just waited for me to return?
P.S. As mad as I am I still can't wait to see you.
I've gone down a lot of different paths and made many turns to get me where I am today. And I think it's because someone has been trying to tell me something.
When that certain someone comes into your life, there's half of you that says you're nowhere near ready, but the other half says make her yours forever.
And I'm working on the forever part.
One Month later
My father would like us to visit soon; Suki and Sokka will be there as well. I'm trying to talk Toph and Aang into coming. Did you know she's teaching her students how to bend metal now? Anyway, back to my dad. Can the Almighty Fire Lord schedule some time off to visit with family?
P.S. I'm glad you lost that bet.
Your sarcasm did not evade me. And I am very busy right now, as you know. In a meeting. Why must you write me when you know I'm working? Running a country is not easy. And yes, Aang told me about Toph. I wish her the best of luck with that..
P.S. I'm glad I lost, too.
If I didn't write you now, then you'd forget. Besides, I know you're bored. You hate meetings.
P.S. It would be a lot harder running the country without me. You're lucky.
P.S.S. Where is my necklace? I can't find it anywhere.
I don't believe in luck. I believe in destiny, though. And you were destined to be with me.
P.S. I had your necklace polished. That teardrop was looking too much like the moon and not enough like the sun.
It's late, and I made poor Ling run this letter to your office. You work too much! Come to bed.
P.S. My necklace is beautiful because it glows like the moon. You really need to get over your affinity for the sun, Firebender.
I'm starting to like the moon more and more every day.
P.S. I love you and I'll see you soon.
A/N: Squee! The "working on forever" line belongs to Remember Me, the movie. (Such a sad movie, by the way) This story had an original different ending, but I thought it would be cute to end in letter-style. Hope you liked it!